I am an environmental artist. Over the last five years I have been making a series inspired by the coral reefs of the Caribbean, where I dive every winter. The series also includes my artistic response to the desctruction of the reef – 40% worldwide, caused by human activity, including changes in the temperature and salinity of the oceans.
I have developed an artistic/creative process that evokes the ocean’s flow and the amazing textures of the underwater landscape I have been priviledged to experience. While I cannot sketch under water, I follow each SCUBA dive immediately with watercolor sketching to capture the colors of the reef. Back in the studio, I mix watercolors drawn from that palette and apply them to silky sheets of polypropylene (Yupo), by pouring, spraying, dropping, and brushing. I manipulate the paints and the paper to echo the watery imagery, and, while it is drying, utilize a variety of tools and materials to remove and further manipulate the paint. I also experiment with decalcomanie, a technique developed by the surrealists, which produces organic forms through surface tension.
What is it about the sea that compels me as an artist? Certainly, the magical light, otherworldly forms, and gorgeous colors of the flora and fauna under water that I have explored as a deep sea diver have inspired my painting and printmaking. While the visual attractions of the underwater landscape are indeed compelling, even more important to my work is a visceral connection to being in the current’s flow that draws me to the imagery. It is my kinesthetic pleasure of floating in the peace of the deep 100 feet below that I seek to translate into 2D imagery in my work. The roots of my enchantment with immersing myself, body and soul, in salt water go back to childhood memories of delight and terror at the waves. During a recent deepwater dive, I had the feeling that the joy of weightlessness is so profound that it must evoke memories of rocking in prenatal waters, or perhaps even of the primordial past, before our species emerged from the sea.
For more than thirty years I have painted watercolors and made monotypes inspired by the waters of the Outer Cape, where I spend time each summer, including a magical week in one of the historic artist dune shacks of Provincetown. I exhibit my work at Jamaica Plain Open Studios, at the Cove Gallery (Wellfleet, MA, www.covegallery.com) and the Copley Society of Art (Boston, www.copleysociety.org).