Art Festival Cruise to New Zealand

Fifty two painters, led by artists Greg Allen, Amanda Hyatt and John Lovett have now returned to Australia after a wonderful two weeks aboard the “Sun Princess” as it cruised to New Zealand.

The tour commenced in Sydney and in the two day trans Tasman crossing the painters settled down to work under the expert tuition and guidance of their selected artist.

Each day at sea began with a painting demo in the Shooting Stars Nightclub which the group had reserved especially for them on their days at sea. After their respective workshops, individual painters were free to continue their painting or, as many did, explore the ship or participate in many of the activities on board.

Day three and the “Sun Princess” had arrived at the Bay of Islands in the north island of New Zealand This was our first land based painting day. A quick trip by ferry to Russell and the three workshops then commenced with each artist selecting a location along the beautiful seashore of this historic town. After lunch the group then enjoyed a brief visit to Waitangi Treaty House before rejoining the ship once again. After all this painting and sightseeing, everyone had worked up quite an appetite for dinner which was admirably attended to in the Regency or Marquis dining rooms.

For the next seven days, the painting group visited towns and cities along the eastern seaboard, including Auckland – a wonderful painting location was selected by the artists at Devonport across the harbour affording magnificent views of the City of Sails, as Auckland is known – Tauranga and a visit to Wai O Tapu thermal wonderland at Rotorua and the art deco town of Napier. The capital of New Zealand, Wellington, completed our last city on the north island before we crossed the strait, which separates the north and south islands.

Our first port of call in the south island was idyllic Christchurch, where the groups set up their painting easels alongside the beautiful Avon River and its historic bridges. In the afternoon a couple of the groups continued their painting in Cathedral Square, the scene of much devastation with the terrible earthquake only a short few days after our visit. Our last port of call in the south island was Dunedin with its Scottish heritage. The day culminated in a visit to historic Olverston House which was widely acclaimed by all

After all of the excitement of painting and visiting in such wonderful surroundings many of the group certainly would have liked more painting time on land. However, these thoughts soon disappeared as the ship sailed through Fiordland in the south west corner of New Zealand. This magnificent scenery was made all the more brilliant under a bright blue sky.

During the next couple of days the group settled once more into their final on board painting workshops, buoyed by the critiques of their paintings by the artists and the wonderful displays of their favourite works of art, for all to see.

A highlight of this time was the group painting by Greg, Amanda and John as they painted a large three sheet painting of the “Sun Princess” as it toured Milford Sound. One of our group kindly donated this to the ship and this was gratefully accepted by the Captain – we hope that this work of art will be on display for all future travellers on the “Sun Princess” to see.

This was first painting workshop / cruise conducted in this part of the world by The International Artist Magazine and Travelrite International and was judged by all as being a great success – a great way to combine their love of painting under the watchful eye of internationally acclaimed artists whilst enjoying the sightseeing of our wonderful neighbouring country.

Look out for this, or a similar, cruise themed painting workshop being repeated again very soon. Please visit www.paintingworkshops.net for further information

G R Whitelock
March 2011