Caroline Bellamy  An artistic encounter with Fiordland

I had always wanted to pursue an artistic career and I soon realised the strong connection my painting had with the landscape.

Words and Art by Caroline Bellamy, Photos used with permission from Ben McNamara / Kathmandu Ltd,  Editing by Crystal Brindle 

Born into an artistic family, creative influence was all around me. Heading down to Christchurch for four years I completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts majoring in painting.

Valley Beyond, Fiordland – Caroline Bellamy

As a keen tramper I was always enthusiastic to go on trips in the weekends, exploring new places that were remote, wild and rugged, from the river valleys up to the alpine surroundings. This inspired my artwork. The physical experience of tramping, when all your senses are engaged allows you to directly experience your surroundings: the textures, smells, colours, and noises. These vivid experiences are relived back in the studio. Multi day trips especially draw me in, allowing me to adapt over time to nature’s flow and engage.

©Ben McNamara / Kathmandu Ltd

My paintings, often large, capture the scale and physicality of tramping and an underlying energy of the land. It is always changing and moving. The simplified yet energetic brushwork captures the energy and movement the landscape oozes. A complexity of naturalistic colour creates an emotive atmosphere and depicts a strong sense of depth.

Recently I was lucky enough to be contacted by Kathmandu asking if I wanted to feature in a short film exploring my painting process and how I am influenced by the New Zealand landscape.

©Ben McNamara / Kathmandu Ltd

Before I knew it, I was flying down to Queenstown, ready to explore Fiordland for the first time.

We spent one night at Lake Marian, waking up to absolutely stunning reflections of towering characteristic Fiordland mountains, changing as the sun rose into the basin. The following two nights were spent on the Livingstone Range which separates the Mt Aspiring and Fiordland National Parks.

©Ben McNamara / Kathmandu Ltd

©Ben McNamara / Kathmandu Ltd

We were rewarded with crisp clear mornings, dynamic views down the Lower Hollyford, and the feeling of being very remote even though we were only an hour and a half walk down to the car. Surrounded by snowy peaks and beautiful tarns dotted along the range provided a fantastic introduction to Fiordland.

©Ben McNamara / Kathmandu Ltd