Artist counts her blessings

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Celebrated Queenstown artist and author Da’Vella Gore has battled the odds to publish yet another adventure-packed book about her life.

She launches This Blessed Artist at her stunning Lake Hayes property today.

What she calls “an autobiography of my life as an artist” is the fourth book in her Blessed series.

Now in her 70s, Gore – a fifth-generation Queenstowner – says she never dreamt she’d become an author.

But her books have been well received, she says, because they encourage people to ‘give it a go’ and persevere.

She had to take that message onboard while writing her latest book.

“It took me two years but I stuck with it.”

In between she suffered a heart attack and a stroke.

“The stroke caused me memory loss – I found that I couldn’t remember what I had in the previous chapter, so I’ve struggled over this one.”

She says penning an autobiography was also more exacting than recounting her funny experiences in the first three Blessed books.

The first, This Blessed House, was a best-seller. It was based on building her house from two demolished churches.

It was even translated into Cantonese and Taiwanese – with more than a million copies sold in Taiwan. This Blessed Life chronicled her building a wedding chapel and amazing garden, all while recovering from a horrendous car crash.

The third book of her trilogy, This Blessed Journey, is about “how not to plant a vineyard”, Gore says.

Ironically, she probably wouldn’t have become a widely-exhibited artist and prominent art teacher but for a near-fatal illness at the age of 32.

At the time, her marriage to a farmer had fallen apart. She also lost her home and the custody of her two children.

Almost at death’s door – she’d been given three months to live – her mother coaxed her into painting, which miraculously brought her around.

“I’ve had three really close calls,” Gore says, “but I’ve got a great faith in God.

“He’s got work for me to do so I get on and do it.”

Her latest book is her swansong, she says.

“I really wanted to write the story because it really has been one miracle after another.”

Da’Vella Gore’s book launch is at Stoneridge at 3.30pm today.

scoop@scene.co.nz