Misty Mountains Behind the Nelson Lighthouse & Big Blue Day

Michelle Bellamy
Misty Mountains Behind the Nelson Lighthouse 2015
acrylic on board, 400 x 400mm

Big Blue Day 2018
acrylic on board, 585 x 585mm

Both of the original artworks are in private collections, but can be purchased as a limited edition print. See Michelle’s website, where you can contact her direct. You can see a range of Michelle’s prints at Red Art Gallery in Nelson, Parnell Gallery in Auckland and Gallery De Novo in Dunedin. You can follow Michells on FacebookInstagram and Pinterest.

Prior The Cut being cleared in 1906, the harbour entrance past Fifeshire Rock was a trap to unwary captains. The Boulder Bank Lighthouse was first aglow in 1862, making it New Zealand’s second permanent lighthouse (after Pencarrow Head lighthouse near Wellington). The octagonal cast-iron tower was manufactured in sections by British engineering company Stothert & Pitt, and then shipped to New Zealand on board the Glenshee. The lighthouse was manned until 1915, when it was automated. No longer needed, the lighthouse keepers left the Bank in 1916, with most of their residential structures relocated to the mainland. While it does not shine its light anymore, the lighthouse is an iconic part of the Nelson landscape and visitors can climb the internal staircase for stunning views.

The jaunty little building in Big Blue Day is one of five baches along the Boulder Bank (a sixth was destroyed by a fire in 2021). It’s a typical Kiwi bach (small holiday house) of its time – corrugated iron walls and roof, wooden window frames, originally green, now a vivid blue. The privately-owned baches have heritage status, sitting on the Boulder Bank recreation reserve, managed by the Department of Conservation. Some of the baches were built in the 1940s and 1950s, while others may have originated as rough shelters constructed by local fishermen in the late 1800s. The Inkster family bought the blue bach in 1967 from Phil McConchie, who built it in 1959.

Michelle Bellamy is a contemporary New Zealand landscape painter of Scottish, Italian and English descent. From her studio in Nelson, Michelle paints bold, finely detailed landscapes using acrylic paint on board. She is inspired by the land, backcountry and outdoor culture of Aotearoa as well as the old rustic markings of mankind that are scattered remotely around the country.

Michelle’s work depicts scenes ranging the country from Auckland to Otago, with her most recent studies being from Nelson Lakes National Park, Kahurangi National Park and the Otago/Tekapo region. Her style is described as ‘contemporary realism’ and a good proportion of her subject matter features still life subjects; old and run down buildings consisting of either homesteads, baches and fisherman huts. She is also drawn to back-country tramping huts and vast mountain scenes, as Michelle spends much of her time outside, hunting, mountain biking and exploring the valleys and ranges of Aotearoa.

We highly recommend having a look at Michelle’s blog on her website, for stories and images of her travels through some stunning landscapes.

Big thanks to the property owner.

And thanks to Tim Cuff for the photos.

Installation Details

14 Bridge St, at the old Rollos Locksmiths


Many thanks to the property owner and tenant for being part of ArtDoors.

ArtDoors Whakatū/Nelson is a joint project by Make/Shift Spaces and Arts Council Nelson