In the 1990s, Gerda Leenards's atmospheric depictions of mist-enveloped headlands and cloud-wrapped landscapes earned her a reputation for depicting the New Zealand landscape in a different light. Following the Blue Ribbon draws on the Wellington painter's 2008 research trip to China’s Guangxi province. Her resulting works evoke the experience of sailing along the Li and Yulong Rivers. (In poetry, the Li has often been referred to as ‘the blue ribbon’.) The Karst mountain ranges reflect in the river’s limpid surface creating an atmosphere of stillness and contemplation. New Zealanders may be reminded of Fiordland.