Born in Palmerston North, my first trip to the South Island was with my 5th form class during the August school holidays in 1970.
As a 16 year old I vividly remember my awe when travelling down the West Coast and through Haast Pass to Queenstown, thrilling at the power of the Landscape on my emotions.
As the panorama from the isthmus between Lake Wanaka & Lake Hawea came into view it burned an indelible impression on my soul. I knew at that moment my calling. The Haast has such variety of mood and form. The play of light on mists and the seasonal change within inspire such a wide range of emotions. It’s these emotions I aim to portray. I am not simply painting the landscape but the emotional response engendered by it.
My first trip into the Matukituki Valley was a very difficult one. It was as if I was trespassing and being warned to go no further. An incredible sense of oppression and sadness prevailed. I was being judged in this place, dared almost to continue. Pushing on I came to a bend in the road and was rewarded with such an extraordinary vista filled with incandescent light. The Gods were in this place and I, a mere awestruck mortal, agog at such beauty.
I found out not long after that this valley had seen much tragedy and wondered if that’s what I was sensing, knowing I would return to this place again and again to be tested. I feel welcome now, as though family.
Painting the Matukituki, Wakatipu, Manapouri, Te Anau, Wanaka and much more of this remarkable country has taught me so much about myself. I feel such a strong spiritual sense of belonging in these areas and am constantly drawn back to the fold.
I will be, when I am 90.
ENQUIRIES | Tim Wilson is one of New Zealand's leading landscape artists. His finely detailed work can be found in galleries and homes around the world.
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