The Salon Advent Calendar: Day Twenty-Two

Cushla McGaughey’s paintings offer close-up or larger-than-life portraits of wildlife visitors to our gardens and some unique inhabitants of our forests, wetlands and nature reserves.  She initially focussed on birds as sensitive indicators of environmental wellbeing, exhibiting with the New Zealand Academy of Fine Arts. Her painting of Whio on the Mokihinui River was used in the Forest & Bird campaign to save the river from damming. Her painting of Wrybills, another vulnerable endemic species, won the People’s Choice and Highly Commended Awards in the Mahara Arts Review 2011. More recently she has also been involved in research and artwork around the importance of biodiversity for pollination of crops and regeneration of our native forests. Her motivation is the need to promote greater awareness and more active conservation of our very special fauna and flora and the habitats on which they – and we - depend for survival.


Another New Zealand artist, whose medium is sound, Jenny McLeod has written works from classical to ‘devotional rock music’. After several years of combining the two genres:

‘she was invited to a contemporary music festival in Louisville, Kentucky […] Here she met the Dutch composer Peter Schat, who introduced her to his "Tone Clock" theory. McLeod became fascinated with this new systematic classification of triads, and immersed herself in a study of its theory and applications. This resulted in her translating into English Schat's book on the subject, and her developing the theory to a point far beyond that envisaged by its original author. Tone Clock Pieces for piano (1988-89) was the natural creative outcome, as she applied the theory as a stimulus for composition.’