Summer, Painting and the Flip-flop
This time of year is my very favorite because of the long days; beautiful blue-green twilights; and the realization that summer is just around the corner. These thoughts bring me to the topic of those lazy, hot days of summer years ago when I relished putting on my simple, cooling flip-flops. Times have changed and nowadays one sees people all over the world wearing these thin rubber shoes not only in the summer but all 12 months of the year, night and day, and in hot or freezing weather!
Flip-flops, in most developing countries, are the least expensive footwear available and they are being massed produced in countries with low-cost labor. As you can well imagine, that means lots of flip-flops are being worn..and then they are tossed, anywhere. “Most of the soles of these flip-flops are constructed from polyurethane, which is yet another plastic derived from crude oil. This means that they are going to be hanging around the environment for a very, very long time once discarded”. (www.greenlivingtips.com)
As some of you may already know, I have been painting a series of trashed flip-flops using my reference photos taken during a walk on a beach in South Vietnam. This current series is the latest in a multi-year process of illustrating, through art, my nervous concern about the very negative effects of global garbage pollution.
If you look carefully, you will see a lost, trashed and forgotten flip-flop under the blue water–floundering in the deep! I have really been struggling with this painting, and it is not quite finished. I chose to post it anyway because it is work in progress…and this blog is essentially about my painting experience.
One of my artistic wishes has always been to paint a water surface that reflected shimmering light — a la David Hockney! I feel he created some colorful and personal work, and I distinctly remember a painting he did of a person peering at someone swimming near the bottom of a turquoise pool in Los Angeles. Light was bouncing all over the top of the water! I thought it would not be too difficult to create the same sparkling effect. Well, I was wrong! Depicting an over-layer of moving water reflections, while at the same time showing something quietly submerged, has been quite the challenge for me. I usually feel more comfortable working in an abstract style so painting these rays of light is slow and somewhat difficult.
What I would also like to suggest in the painting is the fact that sunlight on water can contain a surprise hint of magic rainbow colors. In this regard, I was inspired by a photo I took in my kitchen this morning of sunlight beaming through clear crystal. Question is: how can one render in paint such intensity and luminosity? Mmmmm?