Blomfield Blog

May 18th 2019

During the early settlement years in New Zealand, the era of the Gold Rush movement was booming in the Thames Region. Charles, like many of the other hopeful young men traveled to Thames in the hopes that riches would soon be bestowed upon them. Nineteen years of age, surrounded by people who clearly were succeeding in finding the hidden treasures, it seems as though Charles was attracted to a different kind of beauty. The below is an exert from the book, Charles Blomfield his life and times, penned by Muriel Williams.

..”although he did not find gold in the literal sense, Charles struck a vein which yielded him rich rewards in the development of his artistic powers….” …”he was so struck with its surpassing beauty that he determined to transfer its charms onto canvas. Having no teacher and no facilities for learning the practical details of his art, he persevered with his efforts until he had mastered the technique.”

As an artist myself in the modern times, I often reflect over some of the hardships my ancestors had to overcome whilst travelling through a region to get to their intended destination. I cannot even begin to imagine what it would have been like first of all, carrying all the artistic supplies and travel gear via horseback or walking. Secondly, how the constant fear of attack, either mistakenly or purposeful, from the Maori who were at the end of their civil war but still very much aware. Thirdly, imagine the conditions in which Charles would have been in and to even be able to create the beautiful pieces we can now see in galleries. It constantly blows my mind how talented he was and it is very humbling to be carrying on that creative (albeit a different genre and style) legacy.

 

Watch this space for the continued story ….

 

April 26th 2019

History is one of those fickle things that is like a constant reminder of how to and how not to do things. The struggles of the past are not the same as what we now face but it always amazes me how people used to live back 150 years. Imagine stripping away all the electronic ware we have, all of the modern technologies, all of the infrastructure, all of the modern vehicles or modes of transport. We are immediately back in the day where horses or walking were the only ways to get from A-B. I bring this up simply because I have been reflecting a bit more about some of my ancestry and the life that they led when they first emigrated to our great mother land. 

Charles Blomfield emigrated to New Zealand at the young age of 14 together with his 9 siblings and widowed mother in 1862. The siblings ranged from 24 years down to 9 months old! Imagine the poor mother.. widowed, firstly, and left with 9 children to raise. The choice to leave her home and the safety of the known must have been such a scary step without the support of a husband or any elder family members. 

The voyage on the ‘Gertrude’ proved to be an enjoyable adventure for Charles. Every chance he was able to, he would draw and the drawings he produced were varied between detailed and simple line drawings. After 97 days at sea, all the passengers aboard the Gertrude vessel finally touched land again when they set foot on New Zealand Soil. Take yourself back in time. England was an established colonized country. Its infrastructure was in place and roads, vehicles and some of the luxuries we consider mundane now, were available. New Zealand must have seemed like such a wild bush land in comparison. 

The Blomfield family found that upon their arrival, the Maori wars were in progress in the regions of Hamilton and Auckland, and were presented a rifle and a bayonet side arm for protection. What a welcoming gift. Welcome to your new home, here arm yourselves from the natives. The injustices done to the Maori people are indeed very awful, but are not part of this story. Perhaps another time and another blog.

Now, I know you will be wondering, this is great but how does this tie into your cartooning? Well fine sir/madam, my point of this is to tell a story. To weave in the intricacy’s that enabled the artistic legacy to trickle down to me. 

…. to be continued next week with Charles adventures around New Zealand as an artist…

April 18th 2019

There is so much history in my family that relates to what I do and has shaped me into who I am today. Being a published cartoonist is a dream I have had since I was a young teenager. I am a strong believer in following what drives you.  Art and the ability to create is what keeps me passionate about life (alongside my family and my faith). Answering your calling is always a scary process and there will always be times when obstacles seem too big to conquer. What keeps me driven is the constant support and knowledge that this is in my blood. It is my true self.

There is something so humbling to be able to follow in the footsteps of one of my relatives. Charles Blomfield lived an extraordinary life and for me it is an honor to recall these adventures with exerts from Muriel Williams biography  ‘ Charles Blomfield, His life and times’.

Here is a extract from the text written by M. Williams.

“Charles Blomfield is known to many as the painter of the Pink and White Terraces of New Zealand’s thermal region, the extraordinary formations of siliceous rock once hailed as the Eighth Wonder of the World. The destruction of these terraces in the 1886 eruption of nearby Mount Tarawera led to the sudden rise in importance of all representations of them; and Blomfield’s terrace paintings, because they were among the most beautiful ever done, and were perhaps the most faithful to their subject, shot to instant fame.”

Anyone who has studied New Zealand history at school will have heard of the Pink and White Terraces and their marvelous beauty. To be a descendant of an artist who can capture their unique characteristics back when there were no roads, direct travelling paths, the constant awareness of danger (as this was at the end of the Maori wars) and no lights other than natural daylight to aid in actual viewing of the terraces, is so amazing. 

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