Describing his own artistic practice MacDiarmid states, I neither live nor work to formula, responding mostly to stimuli inner or outer which have the effect of command. Mood evolves as the painting proceeds & decides the degree of abstraction or figuration, in general a blend of both, given the liberty & elusiveness of vision.
Douglas MacDiarmid’s art is held in public collections throughout New Zealand including the Alexander Turnbull Library, BNZ Collection, Hocken Library, Robert McDougall Art Gallery, Dowse Art Museum, Victoria University and Te Papa Tongarewa: Museum of New Zealand. He has exhibited in New Zealand since his 1950 show at the Helen Hitchings Gallery in Wellington and in 1968, the QEII Arts Council held a Retrospective Show of his work. MacDiarmid has also exhibited in Paris, Athens, Casablanca and London to great acclaim. A film, A Stranger Everywhere by Eric Grinda, chronicling the artist’s life and career was screened at the Fesivaldes des antipodes in 2006.