Lake Morgan from Mt O'Shanessy, West Coast [Untitled] New Zealand
Original acrylic painting on cedar framed board
By Michelle Bellamy
900 x 500mm
In progress 2021-2024
The story behind the artwork
With the most perfect weather window approaching after what has seemed like a very changeable winter/spring a good friend Dulkara and I made up a plan for two nights in the mountains. It started with us meeting at 10:30pm in Arthurs Pass and sleeping in my truck next to a train track (two trains startled us during the night). In the morning we started with repeated river crossings up the Taramaku River, followed by a steep bush bash up an un-named ridge to our first camp, an almost dry tarn.
We woke fresh the next day with a hind and a yearling joining us for breakfast, then started the most technical part of our trip, with lots of up and down ridge-line scrambling to emerge above Lake Morgan. After re-filling and re-hydrating we meandered over to Lake Morgan Hut and read the rather entertaining hut book, from here we headed straight up to the top of Mt O’Shanessy and made camp in a tiny dry tarn hollow. This is where the painting view is from, basking in the golden West Coast rays we watched the sun fall behind the mountains.
The wind was quite strong that night and we were conserving water so woke feeling a little jaded. However we got going fairly early and toped up the water and had a cuppa at another almost dry tarn. From here is was a mellow walk down a tussock ridge to our last portion of bush bashing off point 1231 down into the Crooked River. The last bash involved almost every type of NZ fauna, with very little distance covered for the time involved forcing our way through, we emerged from the bush by the beautiful clear Crooked River covered in scratches.
I always wonder what connects a person to a place. Is it a moment, a beautiful memory, is it the shape of the land - the way the light falls? A sense of belonging or a respite from a busy life? Or is it somewhere where they shared an experience with someone else, or just somewhere they yearn to go back to...