Rottnest Tea Tree
By Sarah Pondevie
The Rottnest Tea Trees bend and thrive in the harsh salty elements. They speak of endurance against all odds, and I find their scrappy branches beautiful and sculptural. They speak of resilience, and don’t need to be grand: they know their history and stand strong.
20 x 20
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.