A quote from my visual journal: “Monday 10th September, 2012 – Beautiful warm sunny day. Listening to the hum of bees buzzing, calls of the Eastern Spinebills, followed by the sonic flutter of their wings. On my walk today I could smell the pine trees; many are budding up with new cones. Blossom is blowing off in confetti like drifts in the breeze.”
I recall my first impressions of Hill End and Jean's garden as being rather magical. The quince, plum, apricot, pear and peach trees, along with native wattle were bursting into spring bloom. A stunning cascade carried on gnarled branches, with shades of ruby red, pale pink, pure white and golden yellow. I spent time each day looking out at this garden or wandering around it. Taking lunch on the front verandah, in the well-worn and comfy chair, where many other artists and visitors have sat. There is a simplicity, a sense of being in the moment there. Hill End has a landscape where the passing and cycles of time are interwoven in daily life.
Haefliger's cottage where I stayed during my residency belonged to Jean Bellette and her husband Paul Haefliger. They lived at Hill End in the 1940's and 50's. An award winning artist and tutor, Jean moved to Majorca with her husband in 1957 and never permanently returned to Australia. The cottage still holds many of her personal possessions. When Jean died in 1991, she bequeathed the cottage to NSW Parks and Wildlife service on the condition it become an artists' retreat. It's such a generous gift for artists today to share some time in this unique place.
Jean's Garden is currently on show at Salt Contemporary Art, Queenscliff as part of my solo show - Nature waits for no one.