The large common room of the old military hospital (now Bayview Studios) has uninterrupted views across the harbour to central Wellington. It’s an ideal location to witness a glorious sunset or a fireworks display – and, during daylight hours, to paint in.
Michael Browne’s studio is part of this shared common room, featuring a sprawling symphony of what he calls his ‘evocative landscapes’: powerful abstract oil paintings that are often inspired by Wellington’s scenery.
Browne was born in Lancashire, UK in the 1930s before moving to Franz Joseph in New Zealand. His parents, Alan and Ruth Browne, were also artists of note and in the 1950s Browne won a scholarship to train at the Royal College of Art in London. From there, he went on to teach at art schools in the UK before retiring from teaching in the mid-1980s to paint full-time. His works are held in art collections around the world.
Now in his late 80s, Browne is still painting regularly, and is an avid runner and swimmer. Known fondly and admiringly amongst the Bayview crew as their ‘national treasure’, Browne’s artistic triumphs were acknowledged in 2017 with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Governor-General.