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Realist painter Neil Driver was born and educated in Dunedin. He enjoyed drawing and painting as a boy although he did not specialise in art at High School. He studied Commerce at Otago University graduating with a Bachelor of Commerce in 1973.
Reluctant to begin a career in accounting he began sketching Dunedin houses of character to earn a living.
In 1975, anxious to follow a new path in his painting, he and his wife moved to Clyde, Central Otago, concentrating on landscape, still life and domestic interiors. Over the next ten years he exhibited regularly in the four main centres of New Zealand. He travelled extensively overseas studying paintings in the galleries of Europe, New York and Canada.
After the birth of his first child in 1984, he decided to put his painting "on hold", to look after the children while his wife continued to teach at Dunstan High School, Alexandra.
Now that his children are older he is painting full time again. Neil Driver's style of painting is most commonly called "realist". He uses many layers of thin acrylic paint, slowly building up tone and colour. His surroundings - hills, roads, sky, tables, chairs, rooms, windows, bowls of fruit - form the basis of his compositions.
Using the process of observation and analysis Driver often changes reality by reassembling and altering elements within each painting. What at first sight appears to be a photographic-like image is in fact a reordering of the actual scene.
The landscapes and interiors are empty of people but open doors and chairs acknowledge their presence. Through light and shadow Neil Driver punctuates his paintings with a mood of stillness and calmness which gives his paintings a timeless quality.