By Sarah Pondevie
Painted from a majestic shrub on my friends property in Cowaramup, the effect of realism at a distance is balanced by the painterly application on closer inspection. The glowing reds in the flowers are brought to life with the vibrant pastels and the reflect the play of light as it dapples through the greenery. Coastal trees and plants are as much a part of our coastline as is the water. We know where we are by the environmental flora, and the this is no different for the trees and shrubs down South. Generations of families, from the original custodians of this land to the settlers who made it home, all identify with the landscape of home. Sometimes, just the sight of familiar landmark can bring the stories, sights and smells flooding back.
50 x 70
I am an award winning West Australian artist who grew up in Walyalup (Fremantle) and work primarily in pastels and oils. I have a duality of styles, either with realistic botanical paintings or creating impressionistic still lives, seascapes and landscapes. I am mostly known for my pastel work: in 2022 I won First Prize in the Pastel Society of WA annual exhibition. I also like to work in oils, this year winning the Plein Air Award at the WASA exhibition. I use strong design elements in my composition, focusing on vibrant light, colours in shadows and reflected light. This is particularly evident in my botanical works. Coastal trees capture my imagination; there is an admirable tenacity to living in such harsh conditions. In 2022 I was resident artist at Rottnest. Most visitors come for the sun and beautiful beaches, but I was moved by the dramatic skies and windswept Tea Trees. Trees represent ancestry past and present: they are living history: old and new in one, nurturing our environment for the future. Aged bark along with flowering blossoms symbolise generational growth and historical knowledge. Proteas and Eucalyptus thrive along the coastal plains, their flowers hidden like jewels in tough foliage.