Art by the sea gallery, nz contemporary art gallery, Takapuna, Auckland, New Zealand|

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The Promenade, 162 Hurstmere Rd, Takapuna, Auckland, New Zealand
Ph: +64 9 4456665 Cell: +64 021 577078


Craig Platt
New Zealand Contemporary Wildlife and Bird Artist/Painter

Craig’s background was in the Graphic Design Industry where he specialised in illustration and packaging for 25 years. This is where he developed his skill of precision and detail, his love of colour and ability to portray a subject using realism. From a young age he raised and rescued birds. Sparrows that had fallen from a nest, blackbirds, thrushes, and many other species spent time in his parents hot water cupboard. He moved on to raise and breed budgies for many years and began to draw birds as a youngster. Craig’s strong interest in the New Zealand outdoors through his love of surfing took him all over the country. It is from these years of observing the natural surroundings and gathering reference that he now draws on to develop his ideas to create his work. Some of these observations now take him to remote areas where he can sit and study subjects for hours in their natural environment. It is here, without distraction he gains an insight into the subtleties of a subjects behaviour. He also finds material in watching birds and how they interact with man made objects in their everyday life and how they inhabit our environment. The importance of our native birds in mythology is becoming more representative in Craig’s work and the sophisticated structure of beliefs and customs involving the birds of this land.

After all the research Craig works on a composition that resembles the vision of a painting he started with. The process begins with sketching and a colour study to see if all the elements in his mind will work. As an illustrator it is his love of colour and detail he looks for when studying a chosen subject and completing a finished piece. Craig uses oils on canvas or panel to produce the final work. The blocking in of the composition begins with broad brush strokes to fill the canvas until satisfied that it is what he wants as a base for the painting. Then building up the painting using finer and finer brushes to achieve the detail. At the end of the painting process he is almost sketching again but with fine brushes instead of pencil right down to the finest detail on a blade of grass or birds eye.

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Craig Platt nz bird artist, karearea with tui, oil on canvas
New 2020 Karearea (NZ Falcon) Oil on Canvas
Size: 76cm x 60cm $6500 ENQUIRE NOW
Craig Platt nz bird artist, solo tui on flax flower, oil on canvas
New 2020 Solo Tui on Flax Flower Oil on Canvas
Size: 46cm x 46cm ENQUIRE NOW
Craig Platt nz bird artist, woodpigeon oil painting
New 2020 Garden Cove Oil on Canvas
Size: 120cm x 60cm ENQUIRE NOW
Craig Platt nz bird artist, 4 tui on flax flower
New 2020 Four Tui on Flax Flowers Oil on Canvas
Size: 92cm x 30cm ENQUIRE NOW

Craig Platt nz bird artist
Craig Platt nz bird artist, a pair of bellbirds, oil on canvas
New 2020 Two Tui on Cabbage Tree Oil on Canvas
Size: 60cm x 60cm ENQUIRE NOW
New 2020 A Pair of Bellbirds Oil on Canvas
Size: 60cm x 60cm ENQUIRE NOW

Craig Platt nz bird artist, oil on canvas

Te Koha fundraising exhibition
Oil on Canvas Size: 71cm x 71cm Price: $4500 ENQUIRE NOW
Craig Platt nz bird artist, the swing
The Swing Oil on Canvas Size: 90cm x 60cm ENQUIRE NOW Sold
Craig Platt nz native bird artist, Tuna boat, Heron, Pied Stilt
Tuna's End Oil on Board Size: 150cm x 90cm $7500 Sold ENQUIRE NOW
I watched this boat being worked on in Coxes Bay and noticed the boat was named Tuna. Had this boat at some stage of it's life been out into the blue water where
Tuna could be found or was it a dream of the owner. It appeared more like a Flounder flopping around in the shallows as the tide lapped it's hull. I observed over a period
of time the boat began to break up almost as a deliberate act? On the numerous occasions I studied the vessel, I also observed the inshore birds that frequented the bay.
The boat still remains but can only now be seen at low tide as it's spine still remains chained to an old engine block in the mud while the birds (Heron's, Pied Stilts, Gulls) still can be seen and many other species wading the waters at low tide or perched on remaining boats waiting for an opportunity to snatch a meal.
Craig Platt NZ bird artist, oil painting, Tui
The Iridescent Tenors (plus detail) Oil on Canvas Size: 91cm x 71cm $6750 Sold ENQUIRE NOW
I have portrayed these Tui like 5 tenors in their suits preparing for a performance. Who will lead? What time of year is it, so what song to sing?
The branch is old with decades of growth, a classic, is that what the first song will be?
Craig Platt NZ bird artist, Oil paintings, Tui, Whatipu
Whatipu Calm Oil on Canvas Size: 152cm x 38cm ENQUIRE NOW Sold

craig platt nz native bird artist, oil paintings craig platt nz bird artist, kaka painting detail
New Pair of Kaka Oil on Canvas Size: 152cm x 70cm ENQUIRE NOW Sold
Detail of Pair of Kaka

Craig Platt nz bird and wildlife artist and oil painter craig platt nz bird artist
The Fish Oil on Canvas Size: 112cm x 92cm ENQUIRE NOW Sold
Detail The Fish

craig platt nz native bird artwork and oil paintings
craig platt nz native bird artist, swans
NEW A Pair of Kereru Oil on Board
Size: 120cm x 90cm $5800
Go with the Flow Oil on Canvas Size: 91cm x 71cm $3500

craig platt nz fine art bird and landscape artist
NEW Position of Power Oil on Canvas
Size: 122cm x 92cm $8000

craig platt nz bird artist, nz parrot, kakariki
craig platt nz native bird artist
5 Kakariki (NZ native Parrot) Oil on Board Size: 100cm by 65cm
The Hawk Oil on Canvas Size: 84cm by 91cm $4500


craig platt nz bird artist

This work is part of a series of paintings I am working on that explore the natural world and the impact European settlement has on the native wildlife and my interpretation of modern life on our natural environment.

When an incident becomes a news item, the media descend looking for a story, not always looking for the truth, but a story they can build around or fit into a topical theme at the time. The way in which the media portrays those who are intimately connected in these proceedings can be extremely unhelpful. These days quite often the story has been on Face Book and other social media before mainstream media have been alerted, unresearched and misrepresented it then becomes the so-called truth in the court of public opinion.
I use the birds and their interaction in the natural world as a metaphor. The gulls I see much like the modern media circus and frenzy around current events. The sparrows portray the need of everyone wanting instant news updates and the unregulated and unverified reporting of events.The park bench to me is a symbol of trust, craftsmanship, solidity and an icon of time and history, all qualities missing from this “iGeneration”. The stories this bench could tell, the first kiss of Bill and Audrey back some 50 years ago, the witnessing of Bill’s devotion and the pledges he made to Audrey and still lives by to this day. I see the bin as a receptacle of change. Possibly put there a few decades ago as a sign of the emergence of a generation that started to portray signs of disrespect with the increased occurrence of littering, graffiti and vandalism.

The white and grey of the gulls also convey the imagery attached to iphone, smart phone, ipad, ipod and all the other instant communication devices the “iGeneration” possess on their person at anyone time. Thus the connection I am making to popular media and the frenzy it creates when an incident happens. It is not until you have been through one of these events that your focus is challenged. Who am I and what do I want to achieve. You realise the lack of integrity in modern mediums and for me the way technology is destroying the craftsmanship of an artists process. The lack of background knowledge and research that is needed to achieve completion of the original artists concept. I walked away from a commercial design career a few years ago as I watched the process become instant not quality driven. Time and observation were words that to me were going the same way as many of our native birds.

Frenzy Oil on Canvas Size: 84cm x 93cm $4200 ENQUIRE NOW Sold If you would like us to email you larger images ENQUIRE NOW
craig platt nz wildlife bird artist This shed at Stanley Point wharf, Devonport is the most amazing colour and the lighting effects the colour generate are beautiful. When the lighting is right on a clear blue still day the angles of the tin create rich dark and light hues of the base colour. I have studied the terns and Kingfishers from this wharf and worked several ideas but none included the shed.
On one of these visits I wondered how I can bring this image into one of my paintings. I started reading the signage one day as I admired the lettering skills of a profession I was once involved in. The beautiful brush control on the serif font is a skill long forgotten and the aging of the sign and the rust creeping into the fixtures adds to the time and history of the shed. Also the message the sign portrays, the choice of wording goes back to a time when certain language was acceptable. The harshness of the effect of a dive from this structure is captured clearly in the wording. I wonder what the colour of the shed was back then. The modern sign has almost been produced to
clash with the shed colour for maximum impact. Almost visual pollution.
So what is so dangerous that you can’t dive from this shed? One very
low tide I surveyed the tidal zone and not much caught my eye, your
standard tyre thrown from a wharf, not much else, in fact the area was remarkably clear. I expected a shopping trolley, an old computer or even an old bike. I bet at high tide this would really be an amazing place to have
hours of fun.
I have used two species of birds to almost thumb their noses at the authority behind the signage. The terns frequent the old wharf structure of the naval base and the Kingfishers are always in the bay, both diving this area in the pursuit of sustenance and use the shed as a great vantage point. The Terns balletic skills skimming the surface of the bay and their precise diving skills are a majestic sight.
The Kingfisher ever vigilant notices any movement in the tidal zone.
They pounce on any unsuspecting crustacean moving from one form
of cover. The colour of the Kingfishers and Terns is almost a natural
camouflage against the shed colour.
Shallow Water Oil on Canvas Size: 84cm x 93cm $4200 ENQUIRE NOW Sold If you would like us to email you larger images ENQUIRE NOW
craig platt nz bird and wildlife artist I have observed Tui in their natural environment for years, it’s their personality, they almost have an arrogance about them as if they
know they have adjusted better than most other native birds to the urban environment.

In this painting I wanted to go further into the personality I have witnessed in some Tui. When you have a successful ecosystem and Tui are prevalent, there is always one that stands out. There is almost a prickliness about this individual. Thus the title Tui Elite. I wanted to portray this in a way that he was almost at a sitting for a regal portrait rather than put him in a situation where he stood out from several others.

They say that in the old days stately rangatiras slit his tongue, and taught him to speak instead of sing. Tui were very often kept in cages and trained to speak and even welcome people to a marae.
Many of these birds were famous and even fought over.

So in this painting I wanted to show how he was immaculately groomed for the occasion. His brown cloak and neatly layered wing feathers, his organised plum and neck vail presented as if he was ready to welcome someone of importance. I specifically concentrated on the eye detail to draw you into his almost human characteristics as if he is about to tell you something. Maybe something passed down, who knows. Maybe he is a Rangatira.
Tui Elite Oil on Canvas Size: 76cm x 76cm $3250 ENQUIRE NOW Sold If you would like us to email you larger images

art by the sea facebook page
The Promenade, 162 Hurstmere Rd, Takapuna, Auckland, New Zealand
Ph: +64 9 4456665 Cell: +64 021 577078