John Eaden's paintings in Towards the Grand Tour are quietly mysterious.

Eaden describes his style as realist with a topographical view that suggests a real place - an image from which he has subtracted some detail, adding another indefinable quality.

Deep green silhouettes of trees against an undefined gold hued sky catch the eye; the structures, foreground and waterways painted in soft earth and subtle mineral tones that suggest the shapes and contours.

Eaden is intrigued with the romantic idea of The Grand Tour of earlier centuries undertaken by the privileged young English gentlemen (and sometimes ladies) who travelled through Western Europe studying art and historic cultural sites.

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It was thought desirable to "finish" the aesthetic education in arts and manners in this way.

In February this year Eaden undertook his own short tour to Italy when he visited the Vatican Gardens and Padova to research possible locations for this exhibition.

In his artist's statement he explains, "The concept is a metaphor for my interest in the history of Western landscape painting, and while not directly referencing my study of Giotto, Fra Angelica [et al] the works presented show a development of my own landscape painting process."

Eaden has lived in Hastings for almost five years and he describes how his attention "is often caught by human interventions in the landscape around the Heretaunga Plains"; in the recovering embankments, redirected streams and the non-indigenous treescapes and he has included three of these images in his paintings in the show.

Eaden moved here from Auckland where he had spent his life immersed in other people's art; for more than 40 years he supported others in his role as manager of Art Outreach in Ponsonby Rd. His decision to move was to allow him the time and space to focus again on his own art practice, which had been constrained by those commitments and has since then resulted in several exhibitions.

Ten of Eaden's recent paintings are presented in Towards the Grand Tour in the foyer of the Hastings City Art Gallery, showing until January 21.

Towards the Grand Tour
Paintings by John Eaden
Hastings City Art Gallery