When travelling to the East coast beaches you take the windy, slim road tucked into the hills around the Thames coast. Cute little vintage homes nestle into the hills on your right. Their view of the firth of Thames mere metres away just across the one lane road. Pohutukawa hang on to craggy rock faces. Before you hit Coromandel township you find yourself climbing the hills scattered with Nikau, sheep and the odd peek of the sea below. Once at the top, the tour buses alert you to the place to stop and gasp at the vista below. One year I was commissioned to paint one of the farms on this coastline. Our daughter was nearly 2 and my son was 4 months in my tummy. On the back of a quad bike I was treated to a first hand view of some of the most beautiful coastline I have ever seen. Every rounding of a hill, a new scene ripe for painting. The previous day had been stormy and the day after was a cyclone, but for some reason we chose a day with clear blue skies. Starting early meant the hills were on show with their dips, valleys and shadows creating great atmosphere. They are a joy to paint and I have used these hills and this coastline many times in my paintings.