Callum Hall is a realist painter of landscape who has an exhibition of his work opening at the Boyd-Dunlop Gallery in Hastings Street Napier on November 3.
This is the first major solo exhibition for the emerging artist and the subjects of the exhibition are Hawkes Bay & Gisborne landscapes. Gallery owner Richard Boyd-Dunlop is animated as he tells me, "Callum is a real talent and I'm really excited to be showing his work. He's going to go a long way".
Hall is 22 years old and studied at EIT Ideas School, gaining a Bachelor of Visual Arts and Design 2015-2017. The course challenged him but confirmed to him that his best work would be in representational art.
Callum describes himself as a practical thinker who enjoys working with his hands, a quiet man not given to noisy outbursts or eloquence, he prefers to let the work speak for itself.
"I was always interested in design as a creative outlet in school but later found oil painting more to my liking," he says. The interest goes back to childhood at the family farm in Gisborne, where as a little boy he was doing comparative drawing, his bedroom walls covered with drawings. It was much later that he began using colour.
As a painter he focused first on portraiture and figurative work, working in the Renaissance style. Today he is producing landscapes in oils, working from photographs in a very focused way, exploring the way the light falls on contour, seeking a very accurate interpretation of what he is seeing while still experimenting with texture and mark making techniques.
Speaking of his influences and of his life on the family farm he says: "Having spent a lot of time in nature and in a farming environment it wasn't until I discovered landscape painting that I have been able to really appreciate and identify with [it] and share my farming upbringing."
He works doing joinery in the Tuki Tuki valley; here he is confronted daily with the extraordinary visual stimulus that is the river, Te Mata Peak, Mt Erin, and surrounding landforms. The landscape is a powerful presence in his life and this is conveyed in his paintings - the geology and colour of the hills, the limestone outcrops, shadows and the atmospherics - moisture suspended, as suggested in the misty contours.
He has found inspiration in two particular local artists, representational painters Mark Cross and Freeman White. White has mentored and encouraged Callum to pursue the representational painting form. "There are so many similarities in subject and painting style and exploring landscape painting with Freeman has been valuable," he says with appreciation.
Callum works exclusively in oils and because they take a long time to dry it allows him to keep working and developing the surface, form and colour rendered in seamless brushstrokes.
He has produced more than twenty Hawke's Bay and Gisborne landscapes for this exhibition while maintaining his full time joinery work. Once the exhibition is over Hall says he is looking forward to taking his time in the outdoors with Freeman exploring plain air painting techniques when he can relax a bit.
Opening night at Boyd-Dunlop Gallery is 3 November at 5.30pm to 18 November.