"These landscapes are based on places I have seen and known. I once lived in North Otago and in the last eighteen months have revisited the area three times. These visits have all been made in the winter. Each time it has been windless and cold. Once a thin snowfall lay over the hills and the essential black and green quality of the landscape was emphasised. Unlike many other parts of the country the landforms of North Otago suggest both age and permanence. They have been formed, not by violence, but by the slow processes of normal erosion on more gentle landscape faulting than has happened elsewhere.
In painting this landscape I am not trying to show any simple likeness to a specific place. These paintings are most certainly about my long love affair with North Otago as a unique and lonely place, they are also about where I am now and where I have been since the time when I was in standards four and five at primary school and living in North Otago. These paintings stand now as a part of a search begun in Dunedin, continued in Oamaru and developed by the processes of normal erosion since then. The real subject is buried in the works themselves and needs no intellectual striving to be revealed - perhaps they are just North Otago landscapes." (Colin McCahon in M Bloem & M Browne, A Question of Faith, Amsterdam, 2002, p.208)