David Knowles is a Contemporary Romantic Realist Artist. He paints the bright, intense light of life in New Zealand, where he lives and works from his home at Woodside, near Greytown.
"Wherever I am and whatever I'm doing, I see paintings. I see concepts, ideas, people and places that I develop in my mind and then paint. Some ideas germinate and then over time develop into a need to be expressed.
Before I begin sketching and before making a mark of any kind, the painting has already been created in my mind, but the challenge is to bring the idea to life. Sometimes it can be a battle, but as the idea strengthens and quietly develops, the work flows.
I am a deliberate painter. Every touch on the canvas is essential. However a lot of how I develop a painting is instinctive. A lot of what I do, I do because it feels right.
Everything I paint is visually expressing an aspect of my very positive 'sense of life'.
I enjoy everything about painting, from the overall sense of free creative power to the tactile feel of the paint stroked onto the canvas. I love to paint." DAVID KNOWLES
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 farmer is a classically trained artist and has received many accolades in his painting career, stretching back to the seventies. 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 Jon Trimmer, was commissioned by the National Portrait Collection. This work is housed at the Alexander Turnball Library. He has always enjoyed painting portraits as the association continues long after the painting has been completed, each portrait often becoming a living legacy and treasured family heirloom.
In the 1980’s Knowles 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 Knowles has become a prolific artist, not only with his exquisite New Zealand landscapes, exceptional portraits and beautiful figure paintings 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 he found both challenging and rewarding, after having traveled as a young man to many of the famous Art Galleries of Europe and the USA, to view and study the work of these renowned artists.
David Knowles paintings feature in collections not only in New Zealand, but throughout the world including Australia, Great Britain, Canada and the USA. His work has sold through Galleries throughout New Zealand and in the Quent Cordair Gallery in California. He lives with his family at Woodside near Greytown in his home overlooking the Waiohine River, where he has painted full time since the year 2000.