“Appin” 2432 McKenzie Bay, Whangarei Heads
After a stellar international career in advertising and film, Chowns and his family moved to New Zealand in 1972 where he remains today working from his family property in the beach side studio atalier gallery and home. Trained by a student of Augustus John in “Life Drawing” he is also an accomplished water colourist, painting land and seascapes that often facilitate his lifestyle. He was the University of Otago commissioned painter, and Patron of the Northland Polytechnic Geoff Wilson Art Gallery where he was senior tutor and initiator of the art school. Douglas also wishes to, “Reach so far that people will say of my work: he feels deeply, he feels tenderly notwithstanding my so-called roughness, perhaps even because of this”.
Today he paints to please himself seldom exhibiting or tutoring unless special reasons are involved. His works are permanently on show and normally only available from his Atelier gallery, open seven days a week at “Appin “ McKenzie Bay, Whangarei Heads where a wide range of oils and watercolours may be viewed.
He prefers to paint figurative life size studies but equally returns time after time to the mountain behind his home Mt Manaia which he has experienced daily for a quarter century in all seasons and weather conditions. Douglas paints what he sees, landscapes on location or figurative work from the model. Canvas size usually some metres in size although of late he is working smaller. His work in oil and watercolour, is full of the recollected emotions of these years, and of the others which he has spent amid the still largely unspoilt natural beauty of New Zealand. It is as much subjective as it is representational – an embodiment of strong feelings about the world and about his own situation in it. Everything he has experienced plays a part – pride in his Celtic heritage, time spent growing up in Bushey near London, the natural beauty of New Zealand and the violence of contemporary world events. Nothing is done to formula: everything comes from the heart.
Appin the house and gardens are available as a venue this Spring and Summer for a wide variety of activities or occasions. Ideal for midweek or weekend short courses of 8 to 16 people the totally private beach side secluded gardens and walks offer venues for group activities or the individual. The Studio Gallery and Atelier can all be used as exhibition space, a lecture area, painting or for Life Drawing. The beach, pool, trees and secluded gardens offer subjects and venues for observed drawing and painting. An ideal venue for music and composition, meditation or to gather in the shade of the Pohutukawa by the goldfish pond. A “ Nova Scotian Fiddle Workshop” is already planned in December or January. Self contained Appin Cottage allows for accommodation onsite as are several secluded camp sites.