Marine engineer downs tools for brush and easel

by Matthew Tso, Stuff

Alfred Memelink first picked up a paint brush more than 20 years ago to beat the long hours of down-time at sea. His works now hang alongside those of the best watercolourists in the country.

The Lower Hutt artist was selected as the guest artist for Splash - Watercolour New Zealand's national exhibition held at Wellington's Academy Galleries.

A marine engineer by trade, Memelink gave away a 30-year career at sea to paint and run his own gallery in Petone.

Memelink is well-known within the capital's watercolour ranks for his depictions of the Wellington region.

He said watercolour was a "beautiful medium", though he "dabbled" with acrylics and oils as well.

He enjoyed the give-and-take relationship an artist had to have with their paints when using watercolours.

Though his work had been displayed at the event in previous years, he said it was an honour to be invited as the guest artist.

Watercolour New Zealand president John Toft said the exhibition was a showcase of the country's best new watercolourists.

Memelink was one of New Zealand's top watercolour artists and was deserving of his place at the gallery.

Watercolour was often pigeonholed as a painting style. Watercolour New Zealand president John Toft said the exhibition was a showcase of the country's best new watercolourists.

Memelink was one of New Zealand's top watercolour artists and was deserving of his place at the gallery.

Watercolour was often pigeonholed as a painting style. "A lot of people have a mistaken belief that watercolours are wishy-washy blotches executed by genteel Victorian ladies.

"It's really a great medium for capturing light and atmosphere and people would be surprised by the variety of styles."

More than 300 watercolours by 120 professional and "very talented" amateur New Zealand artists would be featured.

Splash is being held in conjunction with the Wellington Potters' Association diamond jubilee exhibition Ceramicus.

Event co-ordinator Ulrike Ronsenfeld said over 50 artists had 155 works from sculptures to domestic ware were on display.

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