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New Zealand’s West Coast is famous for its rugged beauty and black sand surf beaches. When I was little, we spent many family holidays at Bethells Beach (or more accurately, O’Neills Beach, which is just a short walk north of Bethells) on the West Coast of New Zealand.

Picking mussels fresh off the rocks and having mussel sandwiches on white bread with butter and malt vinegar. Swimming in the surf after racing down black sand so heated by the sun your feet felt like they were on fire. Building forts and spending hours in role play. Sliding down grass slopes on Nikau Palm fronds. Being bribed with chocolate to go ‘wombling’ (that’s code for collecting rubbish off the shore-line). Going to sleep with the sound of the surf crashing.  It’s a magical place, especially for a child.

Tony Ogle is an iconic New Zealand artist whose instantly recognisable works capture the beach-style of the west coast.  When I was in my twenties and newly returned from a stint in London, my first art purchase was of one of his screen prints.  I still have it hanging in (a very difficult to photograph part of) my home.

What I can show you is a more recently commissioned (2009) piece by the fabulous Tony Ogle. It’s a painting of a hill above O’Neill’s looking south towards Bethells and I love it.  It hangs over our family dining table and it brings me pleasure every day. It is the next best thing to being there.

An image of Bethells Beach artwork by Tony Ogle

And, here is a pic’ my Dad sent me while on a recent trip out to Bethells…

Bethells Photo

If you are so inclined, go visit Tony’s website here. It’s a great story of an artist who’s passionate about New Zealand. I think this translates wonderfully into his work.