The oceans, ancient and current, are the source of my current work. I am drawn to the seas for many reasons, including its beauty and power, the illusion of limitlessness, its age and history, teeming life and countless mysteries. I am interested in creating a sense of the ocean through direct experience, through memory, through experiments and through research.
After reading “The Sea Around Us” by Rachel Carson – an incredibly visual writer -- I started working with the ocean as subject. I began drawing with a hyper-saturated sea salt solution and water-based paints. The resulting images are connected to my painting journals through the flow and feel of water. Salt and water are both key elements necessary for all life, and in these works they interact, creating the unexpected.
I work intuitively and in partnership with natural elements. My process involves chance through the independent action of growing salt crystals. The salt works evoke a primal, non-verbal experience.
In reading about the ocean, many novelists eloquently evoke the surface colors of the sea – the way light and weather create an infinite palette on the skin of the seas, and often, how we read these colors through our emotions.
Some science writers -- Rachel Carson especially --write as eloquently about the shifting color ranges as light falls through the sea until it is completely absorbed. The remaining depths of the ocean remain as dark, for us, as the interior of a cave. The Depth of the Sea series focuses on color shifts at various depths.
The last three images are proportional paintings. The first contrasts the depth of the atmosphere and the depth of the sea. The second contrasts the depth of the sea with the atmosphere and exosphere. The third brushstroke drawing uses a circular form to go from the depth of the sea in the center to the exosphere.
“…what I want to write about today is the sea. It contains so many colors. Silver at dawn, green at noon, dark blue in the evening. Sometimes it looks almost red. Or it will turn the colors of old coins. Right now the shadows of clouds are dragging across it, and patches of sunlight are touching everywhere. White strings of gulls drag over it like beads.
It is my favorite thing, I think, that I have ever seen ... It seems big enough to contain everything anyone could ever feel.”
All the Light We Cannot See
Reading about the formation of the geological history of the planet and the oceans inspired the Formation Series. For me, this is where the infinite of the ocean becomes a microcosm within the infinite of the cosmos, the greater macrocosm.