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Artist in residence captures the magic at the Hermitage

26 November 2010
New Zealand-renowned landscape and portrait artist Belinda Weir is to leave a colourful impression following a stint as ‘artist in residence’ at the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre.

Since being invited in May to follow in a long tradition of guest artists on the Hermitage Artist in Residence Programme, Weir has painted an array of beautifully captured oil-on-canvas landscapes of the Aoraki Mount Cook National Park.

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Belinda Weir with her Mount Sefton painting

Among them are paintings of stunning mountain views, featuring Mount Sefton, Mount Wakefield, and Mount Cook (at evening/twilight). Her largest painting, entitled ‘Mount Blackburn under Snow’ will be presented to the Hermitage as a gift when she departs the centre next month.

Weir’s landscape artistry is distinct in conveying the terrain’s texture and rich earthly colours in both a notable painterly and impressionist technique that is reminiscent of the late Southern painter, Duncan Darroch who lived at Aoraki Mount Cook between 1928 and 1967. Belinda used only a pallet knife to apply paint to canvas.

Belinda describes her motivation as “being drawn to what is powerful in the land and to paint what I see there, what moves me” and her time at the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre as “an incredibly positive experience that gave me opportunity to develop and grow.”

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During winter Weir painted several portraits for staff and visitors at the centre.

“I could paint in the National Park for years and never run out of material,” she said. ”In my work I aim to imply the grandeur of this place rather than try to squeeze it into the frame.”

Denis Callesen, General Manager of Tourism for Aoraki Mount Cook Alpine Village Ltd, said Weir’s “unique gift for capturing the magic” of the Southern Alps had hugely impressed staff and visitors.

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Mount Cook at evening/twilight, by Belinda Weir

“It has been fantastic to see Belinda around the National Park sketching, photographing and frequenting the ‘artist’s corner’ of the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre,” he said.

“She has found herself perfectly at home here among the National Park’s majestic beauty, power and character and her talent for fine art perfectly encapsulates all these elements into a collection of dynamic, mesmerising artistry.”

“The Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre provides all of us with an opportunity to explore and connect to the national identity and celebrate the cultural characteristics New Zealanders hold dear,” said Mr Callesen. “By inviting Kiwi artists to come and paint as part of the Hermitage Artist in Residence Programme, we are holding in time a piece of New Zealand history as to how they depict people, scenery and life today.”

“What has been quite astonishing about Mrs Weir is that her work has developed an extraordinary style reminiscent of the late Duncan Darroch, an artist who lived in the region until his death in 1967 and whose works feature in the centre’s museum.”

Duncan Darroch (1888-1967) was a self-taught Kiwi artist who travelled New Zealand from port to port, as well as countries such as Canada and Britain, painting his journey as he went. In 1928 he moved to Mt Cook. Darroch’s paintings were of seascapes, landscapes and include a wide collection of Aoraki Mount Cook vistas, which were all captured in his unique, impressionist style.

The paintings of Belinda Weir can be viewed in the Hillary Gallery of the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre, which is located adjacent to The Hermitage Hotel in the majestic Aoraki Mount Cook National Park. Her paintings will go on sale in the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre retail shop at prices ranging from $1500 - $2000.


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