Gale force winds have been rocking the chalet for two nights and snow began to fall in earnest yesterday morning. Warm and protected from the raging blizzard we have spent two days catching up on practical matters: downloading photographs and recording our thoughts on this incredible stay up here experiencing this magical place for such an extended period.
The weather is everything here. From freezing stormy nights to burning hot sunny days and now blinding snow and wind. Last night the metal taps on the water tanks out on the deck froze and we are melting snow as our water supply. We also had to dig our way out to the toilet through thick drifts of fresh snow.
It is precipitation that continually creates and changes this landscape. We have been able to experience the transformation caused by the water cycle at close hand. We are literally working with water affected by changes in temperature to become ice, snow and mist to make art that speaks of the human relationship to water.
I feel that this profound experience, totally focused with Philippa on this project together brings out the best in us. It has lifted my work to a different place – a place even more attuned to the environment around us. Hopefully this comes through in the finished works that will eventually become part of The Watershed exhibition.
We have become totally at home here at Whare Kea Chalet. It is so well designed for the alpine conditions and with its spectacular views of Rob Roy Peak, Mt Aspiring, Mt Avalanche and Mt Fastness, it will be hard to leave. But it is good to know we will be back when the snow has gone to experience summer conditions and make very different works in the landscape.
This may be our last blog. The weather is delaying – by one day, at this stage – our departure but it will also obliterate all trace of our having been here which seems appropriate. We will take our pictures and memories back to Wanaka so that we can always return.