Several months ago, I felt strongly that I needed to produce a bigger piece of work again. I sorted through my resource material: lots to choose from, lots I could go with. In the end, I selected an image that has some interesting parallels with my lovely "Peep Show" painting. The predominant subject in both is autumn leaves, both have a living animal (waxeye/kokopu), and both remind me of a Creator whose colour scheme is vibrant beyond our imagination. I prayed and came away with a deep sense that this was the painting to do.

I sketched it up, got a bit excited - then along came the obstacles. The worst of these was a tumble I took up in the hills behind where we live. That resulted in a massive bleed in my leg and 6 weeks of not being able to do much at all. Add that to periods of great busyness, a planned trip away, a class to run, and dare I say it, a deepening of headaches and a bout of depression, and it looked like this painting might have to take a permanent back seat. I lost any enthusiasm I had for getting into it.

Mr. God had to give me a bit of a shake up. Through various people, I received reminders of "this amazing gift you have received". Through some words offered in church, I was reminded that when God bestows something on us, it is not so much for us to get the buzz, it is for Him to achieve HIS will. Through a book I read, I was reminded that losing enthusiasm was negotiable: I could choose to NOT lose it. How would I do that? BY GETTING INTO THE STUDIO AND PICKING UP A BRUSH AND STARTING!!!

So I did! 
I began, and bit by bit I got excited, and so it began to blossom. 
The first three days were wonderful. I was still sore and headachy, but with the immersion into painting, those things took a back seat. I took the liberty of thanking God for each completed part - each leaf, each shadow, each beautiful laying down of colour in the way that only watercolour can do. So, so cool.

Day four, I got immersed again, got stuck, got pig-headed and stayed that way for two days. I was very, very close to making a mess. Even the paint coming out of the tubes was gungy! Unbelievable! Why am I surprised? Why do I forget that all that seeks to give praise to God simultaneously opens a door of opportunity for Satan. It all came to a head when the darkest colours I blended and laid on didn't set properly. They didn't dry!!! I've never had that before. Why would they stay sticky and, worse, shiny? And what opened the dark door so wide? Simple: I had stopped praying, I had stopped praising, and I had started thinking how good I was at this painting lark. Snap!

Eventually, I realised. It takes a while, but I do figure things out, especially if I take it back to Yeshua and lay it down. Lord, what's going on here? Why have I made a mess? 

God is great, and gracious, and consistent. Back into His embrace, I finished - and it looks pretty good. Not very good - there are some scars from the fight - but better than I was thinking it might be. I'm pleased. I hope my Father is pleased too. I think so.

We are a funny lot though, aren't we? Just like the israelites a-wandering in the desert,  I wonder how many more times I will have to learn the big lessons. Next time I bite into a big painting, I aim to stay firmly in touch with my Creator.. Otherwise I know my big painting WILL bite me back! It hurts!

Here's the painting.
I call it "KOKOPU WATERS". Kokopu is the Maori name for the New Zealand native fish, Galaxius argentus, which grows to an impressive 60cm, but which is seriously endangered. It is fully protected now, but with increasingly polluted and disturbed waterways, will it survive? I hope so. 

KOKOPU WATERS: 850 x 625 - original watercolour by Russell Perry

KOKOPU WATERS: 850 x 625 - original watercolour by Russell Perry




I live in that wonderful part of New Zealand called Central Otago. Each year, this region promotes artists - and their art - who are within spitting distance of the local Rail Trails. Cyclists come from all over New Zealand and the world to enjoy these trails, utilising the bridges, embankments and raised beds of the disused rail networks to wend a peaceful, unhurried way through beautiful countryside and several small towns. The event is called "Arts On The Rail Trail". Click here for more information.

As well as having our own Selah Gallery listed for this event, I also decided to respond to an invitation to exhibit material for another venue along Central Otago Rail Trail:  the Wedderburn Woolshed Photography Exhibition. Wedderburn is on of several little communities, 'little' meaning it has a half dozen or so houses... and a pub! it's the local, and of course the locals gather to catch up, talk through the issues facing them, and enjoy good company. You can see the tavern in this picture. The woolshed is directly across the road from here. The large shed tidies up very nicely for the annual exhibition, albeit with the lovely fragrances of a working site for divesting sheep of their woollies.


I felt it quite a privilege to hang work here, for some of the photographers displaying their wares are very, very good indeed. Their work immediately catches the eye, compelling the viewer to engage and appraise. I hope some of my pieces might do that too. My barrow is a little different though, for I'm not so much about expressing myself in photography as an art form, but expressing my devotion to a Creator who gives me such glorious images to photograph.  There's no great story behind my photos other than to say, "God is the greatest story of all - see what He can achieve by speaking it into being!"

I put five pieces in, and at the last minute a sixth. I chose them because each is a piece of exquisite natural artistry that touched my inner spirit. You see, I am intrigued by the idea that I am created in His image and even more so by the thought that the things that suddenly make me pause in delight might also be the things that bring Him delight. My camera allows me to capture some of those moments of discovery – the light dancing on a drop of water, the last leaves of autumn silhouetted against a sinking autumn sun, the wonderful colours found in kelp beds and holdfasts, the translucent gem of an honesty seed glowing fiery gold under an Otago sun, the silken weave of a spider’s web and how the eye is drawn to what might lie behind it – and revisit them for deeper reflection on the intricate design of all around us. I print them and show them so that I may hear what thoughts stir within the souls of viewers.

Have a look and see what you think? If you are interested in purchasing one, details and the means to purchase can be found on this page.


Why show in a second venue? Because it gives the opportunity to spread the word, to widen the story, to cast a net for others who just might be interested in what God has to offer. Surely the answer has to be, "Why not?"

Thanks for your continued interest and encouragement.
God bless you all.



God has tested me. I think I passed, but it certainly wasn't with distinction. In fact, I may have just scraped through. What was the test? He asked me for a painting again. He knew what He wanted, and He wasn't going to let me wriggle out from it. Actually, I didn't want to wriggle out of it so much as I didn't want to do it. Why? Because I thought it was too hard. I thought I didn't have the skills to do it well. And therein lies a hint about why I almost flunked the test. I forgot something — something I should have known, something I have told others many times.

It is this:

Oops! I confess my faith has more up and down waves than the seismograph at Kaikoura. Shaky!



How did I come to "get" this painting request? Simple - this painting began as a clematis. If you can figure out a link between a clematis and Elon Moreh, a mountain deep in Israel proper, you're doing better than me. I was sitting at home flicking through my photo folders in search of a photograph I had taken last year: a clematis thicket with some gorgeous pink flowers catching the late afternoon light. I was going to do something in the style of "Peep Show": detailed, precise botanical images as the focus, background nice and loose and dark to highlight the flowers and a few of the leaves. A big painting. I was excited about it.

Click to enlarge - see also "Paintings"


Except I couldn't find it! It wasn't where I expected to find it, and it wasn't in any other 'sensible' place either. I was in the process of getting a bit grumpy about that when I came across a photo I had taken in Israel in 2015. Now this photo was out of place. It should have been with all the other Israel photos, but here it was popping up in a New Zealand flora folder. No time to question though, because I'm getting hit with the goosebumps. I should say "goose lumps" because I was covered from top to bottom with this big tingling sensation, really intense, and it won't stop! For more than a minute, I'm sitting there saying, "Whoa, hang on, Lord, is that you? You want me to paint this one? Surely not." (inference: God got it wrong! Oops again!!!)

I got up and walked away from my computer, getting the image out of sight for a bit. I tell Joanne about it. Wham - I can't tell her without getting more goosebumps. This is odd, still intense, almost feel static discharging. I go back and look at the image, trying to get a feel for what God wants me to do with it. Normally, I wouldn't touch something like this picture - as I said before, I consider it just too, too difficult. God isn't taking any notice of me and my silly little shakes of confidence though; He wants me to paint this picture. For the next several hours, I get hit repeatedly with the goosebumps as He refuses to let me back out, nudging me over and over to PAINT THIS PICTURE.

It's really hard to play Hide and Seek with God. He knows where you're going to hide long before you even conceived that there's a game going on. It's not fair! He goosebumped me in the glasshouse, out in the fields, whilst I was eating, and even when I was hiding in the little room! He tracked me for 10 days doing this, and didn't stop until I stood up during our Sunday gathering and told everyone that I was going to paint another picture for God. 

Then He stopped. 

I obeyed: I painted.

No more goosebumps. 
See, I CAN learn. 


I only wish He'd told me His intention for this painting, but I guess I don't have to know that. I'm sure it will be revealed in His good time. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy "WHO WALKS ON ELON MOREH?" If it touches you in some special way, pray about it and see what He reveals to you. 
....  and then tell me! I'm dying to hear!

God bless.


Today - just a few hours ago - I began once more a process aimed at sorting out my headaches and cognitive difficulties. For those of you new to me, I had a nasty vehicle accident in 2010 which has left a head that doesn't work as well as it used to. I tried many things to sort this out - none have worked!

So, today, I began anew. I am working with Lynette Breen, a good friend who has become a practitioner in using Dr. Caroline Leaf's strategies for rewiring the brain. Dr. Leaf writes and presents prolifically but she clearly has her detractors too, perhaps with some reason. However, there seems to be something in her work that has caught my interest and I have committed to working with Lynette to see what comes of it. Dr. Leaf references the Bible frequently in support of her theories. The Bible is explicit in its references to the mind, not least of which are Paul's words in Romans. I claim anew that I can "be transformed by the renewing of [my] mind". I also acknowledge God's purpose in these words: that I "will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will".

Something to pray for, eh?

As I quote from scripture, I am reminded of the theme God worked among us yesterday in church. Ours is not a formal service, for we are led by the Holy Spirit and usually we have little idea where that may lead us on a Sunday. We have come to trust though that He WILL bring something, and usually He delivers it through multiple messengers. It is potent and affirming and ALWAYS relevant - such a blessing! Yesterday was no different, and our theme: TRUST THE WORD OF THE LORD: IT IS ALWAYS RIGHT AND TRUE seemed to be on the button for me.

Whilst I have yet to trust Dr. Leaf, I trust in the integrity of my friend Lynette and I trust ten times more in the Word of God.

Watch this space. I'll keep you posted.

Oh, nearly forgot: took a bunch of interesting pictures, a little different to what I normally do. Here's a couple of them - hope you like them. Both trail side weeds and grasses, both bathed in God's autumnal light. I enjoy the texture in the grasses, though the movement is a little distracting. Might try some more work on this topic. The second I really like. Vipers bugloss is the weed, and it seems intent on gathering every last bit of the afternoon sun. 

God bless. Thanks for spending a few moments with me.


Golden Grass (c) WIW - Russell Perry

Sun Drenched Side-Show (c) WIW - Russell Perry

Farm In A Forest

I went for a walk with my son, Chris, last week.  It is always good to share outdoor time with my family and I was looking forward to spending this afternoon with him.

We headed into a Hawke's Bay forest: mature pine trees damp from recent rains, lush, quiet. The trees will be harvested soon - Chris manages the forest during harvesting so he was in to do some final checks and investigate whether the recent storm had caused any damage. It had - quite a few trees down, several across the access track. Some salvage work would need to be done before the main harvest could take place. Seeing it for himself was important: it meant he could lay plans accordingly. 


The land had previously been used for farming but no farm work had been done here for a long time. My highlight of the afternoon was to come across the derelict farm buildings nestled in amongst some magnificent pine and gum trees. I suspect those trees had been planted a century ago, judging by their immense size. They seemed older than the buildings and certainly commanded the surrounding forest with their majestic spread.

My camera is always nearby, and so is my "painting eye". It was primed already: I was hyped, fully aware there was something here that would make a very fine picture. I left Chris to inspect the nearby area whilst I snapped and paced and took in the wonderful dynamics of this place. A couple of trees had thoughtlessly grown in the wrong place, but my paint brush is sharp - I would fell those from any painting no problem at all. I took several photographs, already certain that finding this place was no accident. 

Bon Chance?

To those who share their lives and passions with God, such God-incidences can be quite common. To those who do not, it is so hard to convince that it is anything other than luck. It is also very difficult to explain the certainty with which I view some scenes. I've seen lots of old buildings, and lots of trees, and lots of old buildings amongst old trees. Who hasn't? But I have seen very few that grabbed my attention like these ones did. This was my Lord at work again, saying "Russell, you know that Gift I gave you - well, how about painting this one?" Amazing? Too right it is! Yet this is what the King of the Universe does: He loves His Creation, He knows me and thee, and He has time for each of us. 

Time for YOU.


Have a look at the photos? Can you also see material for a painting? (You can click on the photos for a full screen view.)


For His Glory, eh?
God bless.


p.s. Watch out for YOUR next God-appointment! Talk to Him about what stirs your heart, trust Him as you pray, be patient... and watch!


NASEBY - and a bit of a rant - and a painting!

Peaceful unhurried Naseby. 
Summer time — visitors, families, kids. 
Outdoors fun, swimming, cycling, forest walks, fishing, making carts: real good fun!
Books to read and lawns to mow and the smell of sizzling saussies.
The Dairy: Icecreams and milkshakes and plasters for knees and a listening ear.
Long days ticking slowly...

Winter time teasing wool and kindling wood and nestling by fires.
Slower paced, stories to tell, snow to move, keeping an eye out for those in need.
Books, letters, summer fruits extracted from a pantry of myriad jars to lift an evening.
The luge and curling and calling a Bonspiel and good hearted ribbing.
Counting blessings. So many.

Mostly folk well seasoned, folk who have achieved a little grace and a measure of wisdom.
Generous, kind, thoughtful, dependable.
Interesting people - they have names.
You'd like them. 

There are still corners of New Zealand where old values hold. Basic honesty, respect for property and people's space, trust, an abundance of wisdom, a feeling of security because neighbours look out for neighbours, when good times were those one spent with family. Those are the sorts of things we "Baby Boomers" took for granted when we grew up, especially those of us who had the privilege of living in the more rural sectors of this country. Sure it wasn't all like that, but a lot of it was! Nothing wrong with our memories either, thanks. 

Sadly, most New Zealanders I know now live in a context of high fences, locked doors, minimal - if any - interaction with neighbours, and much reduced real time interaction with family. Both parents working. Kids in Day Care. Multiple cars and multiple televisions and multiple gods. Families might actually find themselves appalled at the collective sum of hours spent during a week by family members communicating with a device compared to the amount of time they actually spent together. Do they even have time (or inclination) to know what each is watching, to evaluate the values and messages contained therein, and to discuss and extract value from them? 

What have we done!

Did we tear down the fabric of values that our societies lived by so that we could replace them with something better? If so, it hasn't worked very well, has it? In our hunger to appease the media driven tolerance mores of "it's fine if it's not hurting anybody", we stripped away the behavioural and social codes and denigrated the arbiters of those codes, none more vigorously so than who profess to believe in Christ.

Did we do that deliberately? Did we first examine the potential impact of making such changes, or did we simply wake up from inertia and complacency one day to find that institutions such as the Clarke-led government had had their way. Basic right and wrong, established through God-prescribed, Christian led wisdom and practice became matters for testing, then criticism, then public ostracism and denigration, then legislation. The Fundamentalists of Change didn't have to work too hard to achieve their agendas: our fractured and reeling Christian church community seems utterly unable to unite and harvest its collective strength and speak up for itself, let alone for any national good. Let down by it's own ministers, some of distinctly rainbowed cloth and perverse persuasion, it is a very muted, some say spent, force. 

Gosh, something seems to have pressed my buttons! Forgive me.
No, not the content. I feel very passionately that we in New Zealand have lost our direction in so many respects. No — forgive me for getting side tracked. I sat down to write about painting this scene of Naseby.

Here, let me put the painting up:

"RUSH HOUR" - Naseby, Otago, NZ. Original watercolour.

"RUSH HOUR" - Naseby, Otago, NZ.
Original watercolour.

The painting captures Naseby of an early autumn evening. I hope you enjoy the scene. Two cyclists have drawn up under the lights to rest weary muscles. Not much going on - not much at all. Nice. 

The execution: some good bits — actually, quite a few really good bits — and some gremlins that crept in. I'm still experimenting, you see, and some experiments by their very nature DON'T WORK! The lesson: stop doing paintings on my own! This one has the accumulation of some good experience and some genuine lack of talent. Why do I do this when I know that working a painting in prayer and with a Heavenly Father always gives the best results? (Don't answer that.) 

Naseby's Coal Pit Dam

Naseby's Coal Pit Dam

Naseby is nestled hard up on the flanks of the Ida Range on the northern side of the Maniototo Plains. Its nearest neighbour is the town of Ranfurly, about 15 km away. Summer is glorious — full of heady bouquets and baking heat and abundance of swimming holes. And there's that other season too of course: because of Naseby's position, it catches the brunt of the winter snows and can be isolated at times. All good. 

The town has largely been "undiscovered" by those of mercenary materialism so that its primary dwelling type remains small, tidy and unpretentious. How long it can remain this way is a moot point. The ravenous wallets have blitzed so many of our precious Otago gems and made them both unaffordable and undesirable to Kiwi families. Naseby IS affordable not just monetarily but also in terms of the values that matter. Kids can have great holidays here. Folk can retire safely here. Those seeking a slower, more peaceful way of life can find it here. It is a place that encourages relationships across the fence, the sharing of joys and trials, and strong community engagement.

For other Naseby painting notes, click the thumbnail on the Painting Page.

Bit of a ramble this week, so next week I'll keep it tighter. 
Until then...

God bless.

Poolburn Dam

Yesterday afternoon, I spent some time up at the Poolburn Dam. I've been there a couple of times now, and each time come away with the impression this place is almost too powerful to paint. It is a place of strong line, limited palette, and in-your-face drama. The colours are what I've increasingly come to associate with Central Otago with lots of play on browns, ochres, blues.

Here's a snap shot of the lake. I'll sit on it for a while - perhaps visit the site again - but I can already imagine it sitting on the easel. There are some quite specific challenges to it: keep it clean, guard the light, reduce the colours to a very small selection, and don't don't don't overwork it. I've been guilty of that in the past and it just won't do if I really want to capture the heart of this magnificent country. 

Hope you enjoy the photo.

"Poolburn sunset"  -  late afternoon above the poolburn reservoir, central otago, new zealand

"Poolburn sunset"  -  late afternoon above the poolburn reservoir, central otago, new zealand

Thank you, Lord, for a cracker day.

God bless.

A Peeping Milestone...

A year ago, I ordered 10 large prints of "Peep Show". That's the wonderful painting that was my first real commitment to sharing the brush work with our Heavenly Father. It was quite an experience.

I went the print direction because a number of folk had asked me to. This painting attracted a lot of attention — and still does! We did the hard yards, eventually found the wonderfully capable Megan Rogers at Microfilm Digital Print in Christchurch who did our superb reproductions, checked out the test runs, bit the bullet and ordered 10 at 90% original size and 1 full size.

10 seemed a lot!  
"You really think we should get that many, honey?"
"Yes, I think we should."

We've sold a few over the last several months. Not fast, but some great moments with people and we were grateful for their purchases. One by one the prints went out.

LAST WEEK, we sold one.
TWO DAYS AGO, we sold one.
TODAY, we sold and wrapped up No. 9!

We only have ONE left! Unbelievable!
Time to order some more, eh? With a limited edition set of just 35, we hope "Peep Show" will continue to speak to the people God brings it to the attention of. 

God is good!


Things Are A'Happening...

This has been an exciting two weeks. God has placed four sales and three gifts of paintings into my unfolding faith story. Wow.

I live at En Hakkore. Recently we have hosted a prophetic ministry camp. Those who attended were a great bunch of people who kept our accommodation wings buzzing with joyous laughter and rich conversation. All expressed gratitude for the way they were looked after at En Hakkore, for the rich faith time and personal growth they experienced during the camp activities, for words spoken over them and for words given them for others, and, not least, for the wonderful sense of God's nearness in this place. 

Bed & sunrooms in En Hakkore's  refurbished convalescence wing

Bed & sunrooms in En Hakkore's  refurbished convalescence wing

Most of the folk took the time to visit our fledgling gallery - Selah Gallery. I'm one of the exhibitors there. As they viewed the paintings, photos and quilts on display, it was obvious that all were delighted with what they saw.  Moreover, it was also clear that powerful impacts were being made on a few individuals. Laughter, tears, stunned silences, bodies stilled before images, and then the serious stuff: deeply moving stories awoken by what hung before them; unexpected reliving of experiences; instant recognition of a perfect gift for one in need; comfort in a painting that encapsulated and confirmed elements of faith trials and walks; acknowledgement of the wonderfully imaginative expressions of love given us by a Creator who cares, expressions that have been captured with brush and camera.

What a privilege it is to prepare paintings that God is willing to use to bless His people. As I spent time in the gallery with these beautiful believers, I have been very, very moved by what has been shared: sometimes with tears of my own, sometimes with moments of spiritual elation as I witness the moment HIS painting arrow hits a target. I try always to paint according to His prompting, trusting He has a purpose. So it has proved. For me, this is so affirming: God is real, God gives gifts, God knows - long before we do!

As those gifts and purchases travel home, may those who carry them be truly blessed by them. I hope they are a source of great pleasure and provide repeated opportunity for the recipients to tell their stories. 

"Staff Quarters - Orangapai"

"Staff Quarters - Orangapai"

May these paintings also bring others to understand and enjoy the abundant blessings of a relationship with Jesus. 

Stay safe and warm. Autumn is well upon us.
Such glorious colours! 

"Flame Heart"

I have already written of Jessica's birthday in the previous post. You might remember that two topics were provided for consideration in the painting commission given by her parents. Of the two, I was led to paint the fantail.

The second topic also touched a sweet spot for me. As I mulled over what I might personally give Jessica, I was increasingly certain that the "orange coloured rose" might be a strong representation of her character and allow me to speak into her life.

Roses, like all flowers, are such an example of God's exuberant imagination and inventive creative spirit. I looked in my drawer for brightly hued yellows, oranges and reds, and set to.

Here's the painting. What a delight to paint. I hope you like it. I called it "Flame Heart". 
Jessica - enthusiastic, delightful, encouraging Jessica - without doubt has a heart afire for the Lord.

Just Joey Bud.JPG

God bless, Jess.
God asked me to be "Creative for His Glory". Tonight, I was so pleased to offer this gift to one who will also bring Glory to God. I pray that the painting - and the words I gave you with it - confirm you deeply, open your petals a little further into the hope offered through Jesus and the plan for your life offered by your Heavenly Father, and inspire you to breathe Holy Spirit fire into all who cross your path.


Double Commission

Today, I had the pleasure of attending a young woman's 21st birthday party. Jessica is a generous, beautiful Christian woman, one of those folk who carries God unashamedly and openly in her life. In the secular world of New Zealand, this is not always easy to do. It speaks of courage, tenacity, sacrifice and strong foundations. 

When Jessica's parents came to me about a commissioned painting gift for her birthday, I said I would do it - but I also felt hesitant. Was God going to be in this one as He had been in my other paintings?

Whilst I have done commissions in the past, so I know it can be done, it's not how I usually come by my work. Most often, I am inspired by a word from God or am witness to a startling landscape or event that touches me with such power that I feel compelled to paint. 

So, I accept commissions, but then begins the prayer: "How, Lord, can I bring YOU into this work?" Jessica's Mum and Dad provided two possible subjects: a fantail (small New Zealand native bird) or an orange coloured rose (such as Just Joey). Jessica had expressed interest in both and had enjoyed a previous rose painting of mine. To honour the gift God has given me though, I find I don't want to paint just a bird or just a flower; it has to be a bird that speaks spiritually to the recipient of the painting; it has to be a flower that inspires and excites about a Creator.

God came through. I don't know why I still get surprised at this, but I do! Two weeks it took, holding the painting close and letting the Holy Spirit bring it to life within. I find this to be a critical component of a successful painting, much more important than brushes and paints and fancy paper! With the certainty that my Father was with me, now I could begin.

I painted a fantail that has the character of a warrior, tail feathers raised, eyes standing out, fully engaged in looking out of the painting at whatever challenge lies there. This was the commissioned work I chose to do for Jessica because it speaks of her heart, her purpose, her character and her future.

I called it "I  AM  A  FANTAIL", just as Jessica will find need to say at times: "I  AM  A  CHRISTIAN - I  AM  A  CHILD  OF  GOD".

A Christian who hides her faith cannot fulfil the commission given by Jesus. I hope this painting is a strength to her when the going gets tough and holding a faith line is difficult. With witnesses like Jessica holding firm and being an inspiration and encouragement, there is hope that Christian faith will once again form the moral backbone and spiritual direction this nation once purported to have. May that day come soon.

Thank you, Jess. It has been a privilege to paint this for your parents to give you, and to be able to bless your family with the gift of painting.