New Painting-New Direction-New Series-New Year!
For the past three years, I used oil paints, watercolors, and even plastic collage pieces in my artwork which was inspired by a brief and exciting trip to Iceland. Realistic landscapes and figures were the predominant theme early on in the series, but gradually the compelling and majestic beauty of Icelandic glaciers, and the surrounding deep blue waters, became the subject matter. The work, as it progressed, evolved into larger abstract pieces. During those many quiet moments of painting, when my thoughts roamed here and there, I became more aware of, and concerned about, pollution and the melting of glaciers due to global warming. In the very last paintings of what I called The Iceberg Series (which numbered 35 pieces), I adhered pieces of painted plastic on the icebergs–reflecting a worry that maybe someday all the millions of pounds of minute plastic trash now collecting in the oceans would eventually evaporate and fall back to the earth as snow or rain. We could then have icebergs made of plastic! I realize that this is a hypothetical situation–but that is the direction where my artistic imagination carried me!
A reason for the ending of my Iceberg Series is largely because of my recent visit to Southeast Asia. Part of the trip included travel along the coastal waters of the South China Sea, the Gulf of Thailand and the Mekong Delta. I was disturbed by the omnipresent plastic trash I saw floating in all those waters. Garbage, always wrapped in plastic bags, also decorated the shores and waters of the great inland lake in Cambodia–Lake Tonal Sap. Furthermore, my stay along the beach near Hoi An upset me because of the huge quantity of trash strewn everywhere along the sand. I took more than 100 photos of this trash–most of it plastic–in less than 200 yards of beachfront.
So now, upon returning home, I have started a series of paintings based on the photos taken of this trash. Sadly to me, I will not be using my favorite blues I brushed on in my iceberg work. I am changing my palette entirely–a big challenge to me. We will see what happens! I am hoping that maybe, some day, a few of my paintings will help focus attention on the menace of the ubiquitous presence of plastic and its improper disposal.
The first painting, which I will probably title “The Deserted Flip Flop” is being painted with oils on gessoed 150lb watercolor paper, 55″ x 55″. The top photo you see on the blog is my reference photo. The bottom one shows the result of my beginning two days of painting. I initially put a light coat of ultramarine on the paper, and then, after it dried, I brushed on a burnt sienna-yellow ochre mix. The flip flop is there, but barely discernible at this point. Right now it is a piece of plastic stuck on the paper as a resist. You can tell from the reference photo that the flip flop is mostly black, and eventually my painting will have a black one one in it!
Welcome to my journey in this new series. Let’s see where it will go!