Ron Esplin

Ron working on his haiku watercolour

I received an email from Ron today informing me he’d chosen his haiku for the exhibition and was already working on it. Ron enclosed the following profile –  I think word has spread that my interviews can be long-winded! If you’d like to see more of Ron’s work hop over here.

Ron Esplin

Born in Edinburgh, Scotland, Ron emigrated to New Zealand with his family at the age of 10. He attended John McGlashan College and Otago Boys High School and has a Commerce degree from Otago University.

He has embraced public life in Dunedin: President of the Otago Merchants’ Association for ten years, serving as a Dunedin City Councillor in the late 90’s, and currently a Trustee of the Dunedin Casino Trust. He continues to be a trustee for the New Zealand Masters Games Trust twenty years after its Dunedin inception.


Ron has had a lifetime exposure to art as his late father Tom and his mother Edith were both artists, and his brother Clark is also a painter. Ron and Clark still refer to their involvement in art activities as “The Family Firm.” Ron has been drawing the people and things around him since he could hold a pencil, and was very much in demand at school to make posters and stage sets for school productions. He applied his artistic and design ability to marketing his own electronics firm and later as a marketing consultant and marketing manager. Ron continued to paint recreationally, attending evening classes at Otago Polytechnic Art School,  before embarking on a serious effort to develop his painting in 1995.


Although he occasionally paints in acrylics and oils , he has concentrated on developing his watercolour painting. He has a studio at home and one in town where he has regular classes, passing on his knowledge to aspiring watercolour artists. He and his wife Julie Woods, also known as “That Blind Woman”, share an office on the 6th Floor of Burns House in the centre of Dunedin. Ron has a Gallery space there where he displays about 50 acrylics and watercolours. Ron is an Artist member and Council member of The Otago Art Society, and served several terms as a member on the Council of the Dunedin Public Art Gallery Society.

Ron has exhibited from Auckland to Invercargill and has had work exhibited in Otaru, Dunedin’s sister city in Japan. He is also represented in the Dunedin City Council art collection and the prestigious Forrester Gallery in historic Oamaru.


Ron is inspired by the buildings and landscapes of New Zealand believing the artist has a duty to point out the beauty of our surroundings and to invite the viewer to take a moment to appreciate them – prints of Ron’s work, which are sold extensively throughout the Southern Region, enjoy considerable popularity as a result.


Ron’s work has been used to illustrate a number of books. His watercolour of Otago University was one of only two colour plates published in Donald Offwood’s book “Oatcakes to Otago”. Ron was also a regular contributor to Allied Press as a cartoonist. His “Birds eye view” featuring “Albert Ross”, a caricature of a Royal Albatross appeared on the front page of The Otago Daily Times with humorous comment on local events and personalities.


He believes regular life drawing in charcoal and watercolours during the late 90’s, with fellow artist the late Lindsay Crooks, honed his observational skills. Maintaining a high output he continues to develop his technique and competence.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: