Plein air painting in New Zealand (Opua); Photo credit: Barrett Edwards
Plein air painting in New Zealand (Opua); Photo credit: Barrett Edwards, 2017

There’s an island country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean that’s about the size of Colorado. It has deep glacier lakes and active volcanoes, and it is the destination for a group of plein air painters led by Eric Rhoads this coming September.

Of all the places in the world, Eric said he chose New Zealand because he enjoys taking groups to exotic locations they might not visit on their own, and he fell in love with this country when he visited it as a young man.

“I’d have moved there if it was not so far from my family,” he said. “After traveling the world, I think it has the most spectacular scenery I have ever seen. This beauty is why so many great films were made there: The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings, Chronicles of Narnia. It’s so spectacular it’s almost unbelievable. Its vast variety of landscapes packed into two small islands is unmatched.”

From a previous Publisher's Invitational; Photo credit Marion Griffin Howard, 2017
From a previous Publisher’s Invitational; Photo credit Marion Griffin Howard, 2017

New Zealand’s two tiny islands can provide just about any scenery — giant cascading waterfalls, stunning fjords, snow-capped volcanic mountains, rich rolling hills, and deep tropical forests.

One of the benefits of traveling with Eric is that our team makes it a first-class experience by using a top tour operator and focusing on excellence. “We look for great places to stay, enjoy wonderful food, include some free time for shopping or more painting, crafting experiences you might not get on your own,” Eric said. “One of the side benefits is that you end up spending a lot of time with others and making new friends.”

A group photo from a previous Publisher's Invitational in New Zealand
A group photo from a previous Publisher’s Invitational in New Zealand

The 2022 trip is based on a previous excursion to New Zealand, with some updates based on what Eric and the group learned before. “I discovered what was popular, what was less popular, and where we wanted to paint more, so I redesigned this trip for more painting time in some of the best spots,” he says. “On the last trip we had a long bus ride to Milford Sound, one of the wonders of the world, but we did not have enough time to paint. So this year, we are going there by ship, staying overnight on the ship, and we’ll be stopping to paint in Milford Sound along the way.”

Even though the trip appeals to hundreds of people, our team is limiting it this year to only 50 guests in order to make it a more intimate experience and to fit everyone together onto one tour bus and the overnight cruise to Milford Sound. Spouses and partners are welcome. “Though we don’t have any spouse programs, some come along because we paint in interesting areas for photographs,” Eric said. “Some will bring a fishing pole or a book.”

The trip includes all meals, lodging, transportation (except airfare), daily painting, and guides.

Another benefit to painting in New Zealand is directly related to one’s own art. Eric pointed out that after visiting the locals’ favorite painting spots, visitors can return home and do a show featuring their New Zealand plein air paintings (right before Christmas). “As we know, exotic subjects are popular,” he said. “Sargent, Church, Sorolla, and others traveled and painted exotic places because it was a popular subject with buyers, and still is today.”

On the Waterfront Gallery in Apalachicola, Florida
After returning home from painting in New Zealand with Eric in 2017, artists showed their work at On the Waterfront Gallery in Apalachicola, Florida

Not to mention that it gives one an unforgettable experience that leads them to be known as “the artist who painted in New Zealand.”

Will you be that artist?

Publisher’s Invitational: Paint New Zealand
September 15-25, 2022

Where’s the most exotic location you’ve visited? Share it with us in the comments below!


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here