The dream location: discovering Queenstown as an artist

It was love at first sight when artist Sue Hartly first arrived in Queenstown, New Zealand. 

Originally from Australia, Sue lived and exhibited her artwork around the world before settling in Queenstown in 2014. Sue talks about what it’s like discovering Queenstown as an artist:

“I took a trip to Queenstown to see a friend who lived here,” she explains. “We’d not even arrived, and I looked out of the plane window and saw the mountains and thought: oh god, it’s like the Swiss Alps. 

“On arrival, I explored Queenstown and Arrowtown. As an artist, I saw so many colours and I saw inspiration for paintings everywhere. So I bought a house here within a week… yes, on that first visit. It was love at first sight! I’ve been here seven years now and I still love it.”

Artist Sue Hartly in Queenstown
Artist Sue Hartly at her home in Queenstown

Discovering Queenstown as an artist

Not long after arriving, Sue met Ivy Box Gallery artist and director Lynda Hensman

“I’m proud of being invited to be part of the Ivy Box. It’s such an edgy gallery, with a really good vibe. It’s a unique building, in a great location overlooking the lake. 

“Lynda, the owner, and a talented artist in her own right, is such a great ambassador for local artists. I really admire how much effort she’s put into the local arts community and I am honoured to show my work next to other talented artists in Queenstown.”

Art by Sue Hartly Queenstown
Detail from one of Sue Hartly’s mesmerising artworks

Artwork by Sue Hartly

Painting in a contemporary, surreal style, Sue Hartly’s artworks have been popular at exhibitions around the world, with her artworks held by art lovers in Spain, the USA and Australia. 

Her detailed inkworks and large oil paintings depict the sea, sky and landscapes, snapshots of her well-travelled life. Otherworldly women can often be seen peeking out of her paintings: the detail-orientated art lover will be well rewarded with a painting by Sue Hartly in their home.  

“I love oils. I love painting nature and women – strong women.

“I like creating things that people have to keep looking at. You have to look closely to see the women emerge. There’s a lot of hidden detail. I’ve had people have text me a while after buying a picture to say: wait, is there another woman in the tree in the corner?!

Inkwork by artist Sue Hartly

“I enjoy inkwork because it’s fast and finely detailed. You don’t have to wait for it to dry, you keep going. It’s a real challenge and I love that. For a bigger challenge, I enjoy large-scale paintings, where you have to stop and wait for the layers to dry: these take many months and a lot of patience. But I enjoy that: creating and developing as I go. It’s all good fun.” 

Want to see Sue Hartly’s latest intriguing artworks? Call in at the Ivy Box gallery. Opening September 2021.