Calming the Wild Heart

Clare Reilly

30 October –  23 November 2021


Calming the Wild Heart

This collection of paintings has been inspired by a seven day boat trip in Fiordland

that I went on last October 2020. This complete contrast of landscape to most of the rest of New Zealand, has started my journey of exploration into these paintings.

The wild southern ocean acts as a protective barrier to the rugged land of the fiords.

A vast place of vertical steep land, dense forest and huge volumes of precipitation and very few landing spots have saved this extensive area from exploitation.

Only a few hardy souls have lived here on a permanent basis.

It is a rare place of intact ancient forest, and yet, even here, the destruction of introduced pests has reached into these forests and caused major damage to our bird populations.

Once away from the roaring seas, the fiords run deep into the interior, the wind and the water calm down and the mountain peaks are enshrouded with mist and rain.

The spectacular waterfalls that thunder into the sounds after heavy rain, tip over sheer drops of cliffs. During a big storm, we found shelter by moving deep into the fiord with only the torrential rain to accompany us.

Flying out by helicopter at the end of the trip, skimming the ridge lines, sheer drops of mountain sides falling away beneath us, revealed the magnificent extent of this wild land.

An incredible landscape of wild and calm.



Calming the Wild Heart

 The huge ocean swells and storms

that batter this land, protect

the wild heart that quietly

beats within the fiords.


Slipping away from the raging coast,

towering landforms embrace the channels

that twist back into the interior,

running deep into its rugged heart,

calming the wind to a whisper.


Ancient primeval forests of dense growth

rise on vertical slopes to pierce the skyline,

undisturbed by the intrusion of man.

Here, trees hold up their moss-ladened branches

while their roots cling onto the boggy ground.


The frequent fall of rain is forming

tumbling lacy veils of waterfalls that

cascade with vigorous musicality into

the pure inky-green water of the sounds.


A great southern land,

pristine and untameable,

offers us glimpses of distant

pasts, as it glistens in the calm

after each passing storm.


Clare Reilly


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