Gary Freemantle's oil paintings adorn the walls of the converted garage studio at 85 Glasgow St where he is the first artist in residence.

Paul and Mark Rayner invited him to be the inaugural artist to occupy the apartment and studio at the premises.

"I love Whanganui and I was an artist in residence at Tylee Cottage back in 1994," says Freemantle.

Since the Rayners left their Guyton St gallery in mid-2017, the Glasgow St premises has been developed to include their gallery, Gallery 85, artists' studios, the Cuban Belle Café and finally the artist in residence accommodation.

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"We knew Gary would enjoy the residency and being in Whanganui so he has been a good first," says Paul Rayner.

The residencies at Glasgow St are intended to last for four weeks but Freemantle has had to cut his time short due to work commitments in Wellington.

"I've been painting the river," he says.

"I wasn't going to do that because so many people have already painted it."

He has not been able to resist, however, and many of the paintings on the studio wall are of the awa.

"I have been inevitably drawn to it and I have moved from using purples and reds to more blues and greens."

As well as his oil paintings, the artist has been experimenting with pigments and has collected old bricks which he has ground in to powders.

"I have made a colour palette which you can see on the apartment wall," he says.

"As you can see there is a great variety of colours - from pale yellows to deep reds."

Freemantle's residency ends next week and he will hold an open morning on Thursday, May 31 from 10am to 12pm to talk to visitors about his work.

The next artist in residence is ceramicist Elise Bishop from Great Barrier who will arrive next Friday.