Skip to content

Alison Hale

Colour In your Life Alison Hale

Featured artist Alison Hale appeared on Colour In Your Life Season Seven (7). Read a little bit about the artists here and support our site by joining and watching the episode below.

Alison Hale was born in Westport on the west coast of the South Island of New Zealand. She grew up beside the Buller River and much of her subject matter is drawn from her life working on the rugged west coastland. Her creative practice continues to be firmly grounded in the history and culture of the coast, its land, and its indigenous wildlife.

Alison’s strong, vibrant style reflects the richness and diversity of the coast. The subjects capture the often subtle relationships between people and place: the courage and strength of the pioneer women, horses, cattle, and the men that worked them, and more recently, native fish and the fragile ecosystems they inhabit.

Alison has mastered the technique of applying oil paint to a glass surface. It creates a unique depth, translucence, and fluidness that is entirely captivating. The image, of course, is created in reverse. Alison’s signature themes are bought to life in this medium, which are now available as high quality, ready to hang, fine art items.

Alison graduated from Otago School of Art in 1996, completing her BFA while helping to raise a family.
She works from an established studio located in the old courthouse building, one of Reefton’s prize historic buildings.

You can contact Alison directly via her website at

Exhibition of 32 works on glass by ALISON HALE

Last summer on the spur of the moment I grabbed an opportunity to go to Karamea to visit the places where my ancestors lived when they first arrived in New Zealand from England many generations ago. My grandmother told us stories of her life there before she died, so she provided the main inspiration for me to go there, something I have wanted to do for a long time.

I have always held a fascination for stories of pioneer women, many of them truly heartbreaking. It’s part of living on the coast and understanding where we came from. The hardships they faced and their struggle for survival is almost beyond comprehension nowadays. Perhaps that is why I find their stories so meaningful today.

It wasn’t until I was standing on the beach at Kongahu however, and looking out to sea that I felt an almost visceral emotional connection to them and the first ideas for these works took shape. For me, standing on that shore, the loneliness and isolation they must have felt was tangible. With men folk absent and supplies by steamboat irregular, it was up to them to carve out a meager existence as well as raise families, literally in the middle of nowhere, often afflicted by tragedy and far from their homeland. How hostile and remote it must have seemed, and yet they faced it with courage.

The individual paintings are not intended to illustrate specific events but to invite engagement and curiosity. Through imagery and technique, I wish to tell their stories of loss, isolation, and hope. Oil paint on glass is a very challenging medium yet one which lends itself readily to the subject, with its delicious hues of gold, crimson, sienna, and umber layered and smeared by hand or brush onto the surface. The depth of the glass creates a three-dimensional world in which each gesture and attitude comes to life.

The paintings have drama and mystery despite their size, like the lives of the women they are about. We long to know why they are there and for whom or what, they wait.

Episode: S07E09

Original Air Date: 1st June 2014

Buy or rent from Vimeo on Demand

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Colour In Your Life

Featured Artist Pack

Market yourself to an international audience and take your career as an artist to the next level. Sign up to download the Colour In Your Life Featured Artist Pack.

Thanks for subscribing. Your download will be sent to your email.

Are you ready to take your practice to the next level?

Be on the Colour In Your Life show and market yourself to an international audience and take your career as an artist to the next level. 

Get in touch with us to get more information.

Thanks for registering your interest to be a featured artist in Colour In Your Life. We'll get in touch with you as soon as possible.