'Beyond the Worryline'

Oil painting on linen by Grant McSherry. 1500 mm x 780 mm.

Aoraki Mt Cook Highway 80 painting by Grant McSherry

With imagery dominated by Aoraki / Mt Cook and the Mt Cook Range, this large format oil painting on linen describes the Aoraki Mt Cook vista with the Tasman Glacier, Mt Haidinger, Mt de la Beche / the Minarets (in the background), the Nun’s Veil, and for those with a very sharp eye the painting even includes Mt Cook Airport away in the distance.Detail from the oil painting 'Beyond the Worryline' by Grant McSherry

Right: Detail from the painting showing The Minarets & Mt de la beche, The Tasman Glacier and Mt Cook Airport.

The idea to revisit my original Highway 80 subject ten years after having initially painted it had been percolating in my mind for a while. This would be a quest to paint new light through old windows and a self-challenge to measure my progress as an artist a decade on…

My thought was originally to paint exactly the same image as ‘Highway 80’ toward the end of my painting career, and I still may do that. As it happened I had to deliver some paintings to a Queenstown art gallery in October 2010 and this gave me the opportunity to find new Aoraki / Mt Cook imagery on my way home. The weather and light were great and there had been a significant snowfall late in the year on the Alps, making conditions in the Mackenzie Country perfect. I found and captured imagery that I was pretty excited about, including a pair of photos of the Bridge over Birch Hill Stream.

While firmly anchored on the subject matter of the original Highway 80 oil painting, ‘Beyond the Worryline’ is based on a dynamic image that I believe truly opens out in terms of perspective and detail.

Having decided to paint this image complete with the signage, I became curious about what a worryline might be. In a whimsical sense I thought a worryline could be a great place to park your baggage before moving on to somewhere amazing. While this explains the theory of my painting title I was reasonably sure that the road sign had little to do with parking baggage.Detail from the oil painting 'Beyond the Worryline' by Grant McSherry

Left: Detail from the painting showing the 'Worryline sign'

Having been unable to discover anything about worrylines that aren’t wrinkles on Google, I contacted the NZTA, who gave some insight as to what the sign means…

The word “Worryline” is on the sign because the current bridge replaced two bailey bridges (Worryline 1 and Worryline 2) that were there up until about 30 years ago (around 1980). We can only presume perhaps that the stream was called Worryline up until then.

I guess the next question is around the artist’s opinion having compared the two paintings created a decade apart…

The original, 'Beyond the Worryline' by Grant McSherry is a large size oil painting, finished in a hand crafted, black lacquer shadow frame with negative space.Right: The original, 'beyond the worryline' is a large size oil painting, finished in a hand crafted, black lacquer shadow frame with negative space.

The differences are significant enough for me to be happy. There is commonality in regard to the amount of time and effort that I have always put into brush paintings and ‘Beyond the Worryline’ was no exception, having taken over a month to complete. Although I think there is a relationship between the paintings, use of colour, tone, brushwork and perspective is quite different as it should be.

While I hope the less worked style of the 2001 Highway 80 painting gives warmth, the 2011 painting creates a heightened sense of depth and is in line with my overall objective, which has not changed in ten years…to create an accurate sense of place.

Original painting 'Beyond the Worryline': Oil on linen
Original painting size:1500mm x 780mm.

The original oil painting is available for sale NZD $15,500 + packaging & freight.