Welcome exhibition

West Australian professional artist Sue Hartley introduces herself to the Wakatipu art community with her first exhibition, ''NZ + OZ'', opening to the public in the Cloakroom Gallery on March 21. Photo by James Beech.
West Australian professional artist Sue Hartley introduces herself to the Wakatipu art community with her first exhibition, ''NZ + OZ'', opening to the public in the Cloakroom Gallery on March 21. Photo by James Beech.
An Australian artist launching her debut exhibition in Queenstown on Friday says she fell love with the resort even before she landed.

West Australian Sue Hartley has called the Wakatipu her home for the past three months, a decision she made after visiting a friend in Arrowtown.

''I fell in love with the place from the plane,'' she said.

''I saw the view and thought, 'How gorgeous to live here'.''

Ms Hartley joined the Queenstown Art Society and successfully applied for studio space to work.

''It's wonderful to be involved with the ladies there. They are so lovely. I asked about an exhibition to introduce myself to the arts community.''

The art and design graduate of the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology became a professional artist about 15 years ago.

She has exhibited at venues including Matilda's Winery and Gallery in Denmark, Western Australia, and Mallorca, Spain, and sold to collectors on both sides of the Tasman, plus Spain, Singapore, the United States, the United Kingdom and Ireland, she said.

She described her style as ''contemporary surreal'' with multiple layers of meaning.

She works from memory on three canvases at the same time and artworks take months to finish.

Ms Hartley said she selected about 20 oil paintings, mostly landscapes and of varying canvas sizes, for her Queenstown debut, titled ''NZ + OZ''.

She will be available to discuss her work and meet art enthusiasts at the public launch in the Cloakroom Gallery, on the corner of Ballarat and Stanley Sts, on Friday at 6pm to 8pm.

Asked what impression she wished visitors would take away from NZ + OZ, Ms Hartley said: ''I hope they find a piece they absolutely fall in love with; an original piece no-one's got.''