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David Knowles is a leading Contemporary Romantic Realist Artist who paints the bright, intense light of New Zealand. David’s work is unusual in this era because he takes an unashamedly positive and romantic approach to his subjects and illustrates the idealistic beauty possible in the imagination. Many current artists choose to take the dark road, opening up their canvases to the inner pain and melancholy of the artist's existence, but Knowles consciously chooses to take the path of beauty and light. From simplified geographical landscapes in perspective on open planes, to idealised depictions of human subjects and the theme of female beauty encompassing childhood, youth and maturity; all have a place and demonstrate a broad appreciation of humanity and the beauty that exists at each stage of life.
The former dairy farmer is a classically trained artist and has received many accolades in his
painting career over three decades. Knowles stamped his mark early on when he was honoured with two Awards of Merit from the New Zealand Academy of Fine Arts in 1979 and in 1980.
During this time, his portrait of New Zealand dancer John Trimmer, was commissioned by the National Portrait Collection. This work is housed at the Alexander Turnball Library. David has always enjoyed painting portraits as the creative work continues long after the painting has been completed, each portrait often becoming a living legacy and treasured family heirloom.
In the 1980’s David became closely associated with the Royal NZ Ballet, resulting in a series of wonderful figure studies and a sell-out exhibition in Wellington. In December 2003 he was invited to show his paintings at the prestigious Biennial of International Contemporary Art Exhibition in the historic city of Florence in Italy.
In recent years David has become a prolific artist, not only with his exquisite New Zealand landscapes, exceptional portraits in his own creative style, but also by undertaking major private commissions including an insightful project to copy exactly in scale and technique a series of Renaissance Masterworks, an experience David found quite thought provoking after having travelled as a young man to the famous art galleries to view and study the work of these renowned artists.
David’s paintings feature in collections not only in New Zealand, but throughout the world including Australia, Great Britain, Canada and the USA. His work is sold through Galleries throughout New Zealand and in the Quent Cordair Gallery in California. David lives with his family at Woodside near Greytown in a house overlooking the Waiohine River where he now paints full time.