Doris Lusk

Aotearoa New Zealand, b.1916, d.1990

Mount Grey From Pines Beach

A mother of three, Lusk fitted her art around family life. Her daughter Jancis remembers her as an unstoppable force, “never still, thinking all the time, not a moment to waste”, who painted inside the playpen while the children ran riot outside it. She used outings with her children (and later her grandchildren) as opportunities for sketching or painting watercolours directly from the landscape. “I did not paint in a continual professional manner”, she revealed of her early years with The Group, “I painted when I could.” Lusk’s facility and flair in the watercolour medium are apparent in these two paintings, one depicting the small Canterbury settlement of Springfield with the main divide rising beyond it, and the other taking in the inland view from Pines Beach in Pegasus Bay. Executed in Lusk’s customarily decisive and economic style, they convey a variety of textures and spatial relationships within a few well-placed, brushstrokes.

(Doris Lusk: Practical Visionary, 4 June – 30 October 2016)

Exhibition History

earlier labels about this work
  • Pines Beach lies on Pegasus Bay, north east of Christchurch. This view is looking inland from the beach towards Mt Grey. By the early 1960s Doris Lusk had established herself as a significant Canterbury artist. Her skill and confidence with the watercolour medium can be seen in this painting. It shows her mature style, with the freely applied paint and the simplification of elements in the landscape, such as the trees. Watercolours were a major component of her work. Lusk was born in Dunedin and studied art at the King Edward Technical College from 1933 to 1939. She held her first exhibition in 1936. Lusk and her husband, Dermot Holland, moved to Christchurch in 1943. She exhibited with both the Canterbury Society of Arts and The Group. A potter as well as a painter, she tutored pottery from 1947 and was a foundation member of the Canterbury Potters Association in 1965. From 1966 to 1981 Lusk taught at the School of Fine Arts, University of Canterbury.