Paulette Meldrum – When East Meets West – The meeting of the seas

The meeting of the Seas

Cape Reinga – the Pacific Ocean from the East meets the Tasman Sea from the West.

Cape Reinga is the north western most tip of the Apouri Peninsular at the top of the North Island of New Zealand. According to Maori mythology, the spirits of the dead travel to Cape Reinga on their journey to the afterlife and leap off the headland to descend to the underworld to return to their traditional homeland of Hawaiki using Te Ara Wairua, the “Spirits Pathway”.

Hand painted from a photo taken at Cape Reinga. The seas at this meeting point can be extremely turbulent and hazardous to small boats.

Paints used were Setacolour transparent and opaque, and acrylic paints were used for the sky. The area of the Tasman Sea had several coats of transparent paint in turquoise and blue to give the layers of the water colour with the addition of dark blue opaque to create depth. A commercial fabric was used for the rocky outcrop and plants were added in thread before completing the machine quilting and adding acrylic white for the foam on the waves and shoreline.


Close up view:

Cape Reinga close up

  1. I never thought about there being a place where the eastern and western seas met. Thank you for this information — and for interpreting the scene so effectively!

  2. The beautiful colours of your beautiful country.

  3. Chantal Guillermet

    Very interesting : it reminds me of the “Skagen Odde” in the North of Denmark where the North sea meets the Baltic : a place of turbulences too but so beautiful.

  4. Love the subject, you have managed to convey the change of waters beautifully.

  5. I really love this piece. It is as if I look out of my window where I can see the Caribbean Sea meeting the Atlantic Ocean.

  6. Sailed around that Cape and thank goodness it was calm, a beautiful piece of work.

  7. joanbrailsford

    What a wonderful seascape, and an original interpretation of the subject. The turbulence of the sea is beautifully depicted.

  8. Very nice how you painted the sea. I can hear the waves.


    Nice story about the Maori mythology, interesting too and a great starting point for this challenge.
    You did a great job with the sea painting and all together, with the stitches, you made a beautiful landscape.

  10. A lovely piece you made a really good job of painting the sky

  11. Beautiful, Paulette! The thread-painted plants atop the headland, while small and subtle, put the viewer right there.

  12. English quilter

    Very evocative of turbulent seas. The paints have captured the colors of the ocean. It is interesting to learn about the Maori myth behind the piece.

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