About Me

I'm Paul Cato, a professional New Zealand artist, and I have recently moved north from Queenstown, where my painting career began, to the Kowhai Coast near Warkworth. My specialty is painting large vistas, and my primary medium is oils.


Recent Posts




The Pink Dress

By Paul Cato | September 2, 2013

Woman in Garden in Pink Dress

The Pink Dress

Topics: Figure Paintings, Impressionist Garden | Enter a Comment »

In Fields of Lavender

By Paul Cato | September 2, 2013

Painting of woman and girl in lavender field

In the Lavender Fields

Topics: Figure Paintings, Impressionist Garden, Landscape Paintings | Enter a Comment »

Who Let the Hens Out?

By Paul Cato | September 2, 2013

Two Chickens

Who Let the Hens Out?

Topics: Impressionist Garden | 2 Comments »

Another in the nostalgic garden series

By Paul Cato | September 2, 2013

Impressionist garden painting

Waiting by the Swing

Topics: Figure Paintings, Impressionist Garden | Enter a Comment »

Garden Nostaglia

By Paul Cato | August 14, 2013

Impressionist garden painting by Paul Cato

Near the Birdbath


Gathering Wildflowers

I have been thinking of painting these sort of floral/garden scenes for a while now. I have been pleased with my previous garden paintings but I wanted to loosen up a little more – or I should really say quite a lot more. I’ve deliberately used some awful old brushes, and not very small ones either, to keep myself from being too precise. Obviously the parasol in the one painting, the white bonnet in the other, and also the long dresses were fashionable over a century ago so these paintings are ‘nod’ to times gone by.

Topics: Figure Paintings, Impressionist Garden, Landscape Paintings | Enter a Comment »

The Rocks of Lye Bow, Central Otago, NZ

By Paul Cato | May 30, 2013

Central-Otago-Rocks Painting - by NZ artist Paul Cato

The Rocks of Lye Bow, overlooking Butchers Dam

This was painted specifically for clients in the North Island after they had toured through this particular area. The location is above Butchers Dam, near the road between Alexandra and Roxburgh. The rocks do have a particular sort of ‘moonscape’ look about them.

Topics: Landscape Paintings | 1 Comment »

Lower Falls of Yellowstone Canyon, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, USA

By Paul Cato | July 12, 2012

Lower Falls, Yellowstone National Park

The first of my long-awaited “Yellowstone Series”. The warm setting sun adds its golden glow to the already spectacular cliffs of the canyon. Oils on canvas, 40″ x 54″.

I wanted to visit this place and paint it myself, ever since seeing Thomas Moran’s epic painting, “The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone”. The visit hugely exceeded my expectations. This canyon is truly spectacular, and the waterfall itself very impressive! Moran’s composition was very much contrived, combining views and features from various different viewpoints. My own composition will be recognized as far more literal, as viewed from Artist’s Point – looking out over Red Rock to the Lower Falls. One day I may also revisit this with a less literal painting.

Topics: Landscape Paintings | Enter a Comment »

Poppy Field

By Paul Cato | July 12, 2012

Field of Poppies painting

Continuing with the floral theme..

Topics: Landscape Paintings | Enter a Comment »

Floral Garden

By Paul Cato | July 19, 2011

Here’s a painting to lead you up the garden path.

Flower Garden Painting

Topics: Landscape Paintings | Enter a Comment »

Lake Tekapo & Historic Church

By Paul Cato | June 28, 2011

Here’s a commissioned painting I recently completed. Lake Tekapo is in the central plateau of New Zealand’s South Island high country. The water contains a high percentage of glacial melt which colours the lake with a distinct turquoise hue.

New Zealand Landscape Artist, Paul Cato: Lake Tekapo painting

Topics: Landscape Paintings | Enter a Comment »

Milford Sound Sunset Painting

By Paul Cato | August 14, 2010

I’ve just emerged from working on some big canvases; here’s one of them. It’s very much a favourite place of mine–Milford Sound. This view is from a beautiful mid-spring evening. Being in the southern hemisphere that’s late October.

New Zealand Artist - Paul Cato

Painting by Paul Cato, Queenstown, New Zealand

Topics: Landscape Paintings | 4 Comments »

More visitors drop out of the sky

By Paul Cato | September 7, 2009

I just sat down for a cup of coffee around noon and heard a helicopter close by. There’s nothing too unusual about that because they often fly around here and quite a few guests have flown in over the years. Usually I get a phone-call first but this one just kept getting louder until I was face-to-face, through the window, with the pilot and a chopper full of visitors.

Just as well the roses aren’t blooming yet or Sharon would have been upset to see them blown to bits. It was her idea to plant them right next to where helicopter pilots like to land, but they just HAD to go right there!


Topics: Uncategorized | Enter a Comment »

Chubby Cheeks

By Paul Cato | March 25, 2009

This was a commissioned figure study. Painted in oils on canvas for clients in Australia, this was from a photograph actually taken in Queenstown, New Zealand, a few years back. I figured that the beach background might have a more timeless appeal.

A carefree youngster at the beach

A carefree youngster at the beach

Topics: Figure Paintings | Enter a Comment »

A Commissioned Portrait Completed

By Paul Cato | October 23, 2008

Of all the figures I have painted up until now I have only once needed to paint a convincing facial likeness. (The painting was of my daughter and the purchasers recognized her, from the painting, in town.) My main objective is usually to paint the feminine form in combination with the landscape. I just haven’t had a desire to do portraits, as such.

In this case my client insisted that I was the right artist for this project, based on some of the figures I had painted previously. This posthumus portrait was painted from a set of photographs, one of which I was told captured that “certain special look” that only astute observers would recognize. It was both gratifying and heart-warming to share the moment with the family when they saw the finished painting and assured me that “every detail” was correct.

Portrait - "Mr Smith"

Topics: Portrait painting | Enter a Comment »

Huge Paul Cato Landscape Painting now complete

By Paul Cato | October 11, 2007

Paul Cato Landscape Gallery
Milford Sound and Bowen Falls 69" x 96", Oil on Canvas, by New Zealand artist, Paul Cato

This large painting is now completed. All 46 square feet of it! It will be delivered to some new clients in the U.S. next week. I have absolutely enjoyed the process of working at this large scale and I’ll definitely be keen to do it again. I have some subjects in mind already.

Topics: Landscape Paintings, Painting in Progress | 7 Comments »

Detail of tidal flats

By Paul Cato | August 23, 2007

I did some research to find out exactly what this bird is – but I have forgotten again. I think it is a type of heron but I’m really not too worried. It is strategically placed to help set the scale of the grasses.

Detail showing grass and a heron

Topics: Painting in Progress | 1 Comment »

Left-hand Foreground continued development

By Paul Cato | August 23, 2007

The sun is brought out a bit more with the addition of some warmer highlights and cooler shadow tones. The foreground bushes get some work, including some ‘shiny’ leaves.

Foreground left - 2

Topics: Painting in Progress | Enter a Comment »

Left-hand Foreground

By Paul Cato | August 23, 2007

Foreground left

Topics: Painting in Progress | Enter a Comment »

Right-hand Foreground

By Paul Cato | August 23, 2007

Moving forward a lot of emphasis now includes the accurate placing of shadows and highlights. The establishment of the sun’s position in the landscape’s sky is an important part of creating the illusion of three dimensions. With a painting this large various parts of the painting show shadows and highlights in different positions. In this particular view the sun is slightly to the right of the picture so it is almost directly backlit.

Foreground right

Topics: Painting in Progress | Enter a Comment »

Right-hand Mid-Ground

By Paul Cato | August 23, 2007

Some more detail is painted in: rocks and driftwood get blocked in. Scale and perspective are more important than form at this stage because everything forward of the mountains must work convincingly to make the flat canvas look like it is 3D and the water lying flat.

Mid Ground - right

Topics: Painting in Progress | Enter a Comment »

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