Mountain Seas Retreat is located near Trousers Point, on the southwestern corner of Flinders Island. With the Strzelecki National Park almost in the back yard, sandy beaches and rugged coastal areas within easy walking distance, it was an ideal place to immerse myself in the natural environment and concentrate on my art practice. I was delighted to be accepted for the minimum stay of two weeks.
In late September, I flew from Adelaide to Melbourne, and then the adventure started with a flight on a small plane from Essendon to Whitemark. I was collected from the airport by Annie Wilkins, and given an orientation of Whitemark, gravel roads, Trousers Point Beach, the studio, the facilities of the retreat, and the amazing scenery.
I quickly started to immerse myself in this isolated community, acquainting myself with the abundance of wildlife. I nearly tripped over a tiger snake on the first afternoon, but, more commonly, my sightings were of wallabies, wombats and pademelons. There is a huge variety of birdlife – a highlight was spotting a white-bellied sea eagle. I took opportunities to explore both the variety of landscapes, to examine the plant life and the history of this beautiful and remote island.
Mountain Seas Retreat has an art studio, though no printing press at this stage so I relied on hand burnishing. Still, what better opportunity to draw, paint or photograph the wilderness?
Part of the residency requires that the artist give something back to the island community. I offered both a linocut demonstration and an introduction to watercolour techniques for islanders to attend. I was also able to display some of my prints in the Mountain Seas Retreat gallery. Residencies are generally offered between April and October each year, with full details and application forms available on the Mountain Seas website.
I would like to thank Lila and David Tresemer for offering an Artist In Residence program at Mountain Seas Retreat, Artists Coordinator Youdit Deane, and in particular, Manager Annie Wilkins for her helpfulness, good humour, tourism advice and being a ‘Mother Hen’.
The artwork created from this residency will be exhibited in my first solo exhibition Forty•Degrees•South which will be held at Urban Cow Studio, Adelaide, 5 to 28 May 2016.
Mary Pulford is a printmaker and book artist, and has worked on display in a number of Adelaide galleries. Mary is a member of Bittondi Printmakers Association Inc, is part of Willunga Artisans Market and teaches children’s and adults art classes.