And another one - I've done a piece on a very similar frog in relief before (The Slightest Disturbance), and now here's a painting from a different angle of a marsh frog, Rana ridibunda and/or Pelophylax ridibundus, from the Jardín Botánico Canario Viera y Clavijo. This piece is acrylic on gessobord, 5x7", and is titled Comfort Zone.
We decided to do a late evening scuba dive on Tuesday afternoon so I headed over to Arinaga and we went out at around 7:30pm. It was a really magical dive - at first, I saw many familiar fish, but we got closer to them (I think Silviu realized from seeing my paintings that I really make use of detailed reference imagery). But then toward the latter half of the dive we saw: a moray eel - its head, at any rate, a trumpet fish up close (we'd previously seen two from farther away), a cuttlefish (!!!!!!!!), and from rather afar, a very large manta ray, locally called a "chucho negro." Some we didn't necessarily get good camera angles on or my camera itself couldn't handle the distance, but it was nevertheless completely magical. I had hoped I would get to see a chucho negro at some point while here, but I never imagined I would be lucky enough to see a cuttlefish. They are possibly my favorite marine animal. (Though this dive's perfection was a little bit balanced by the fact that I was wearing a different mask and it kept letting in some water such that I couldn't see everything quite so well and was a little preoccupied by it; it's not that it's super problematic in that you breathe through your mouth anyways when scuba diving so having water around your nose isn't so bad, but depending on your orientation in the water - if you turn upside down due to buoyancy issues or because you're looking under a cliff - it can get in and around your eyes and it's ocean water - plus even if it's just hanging out in/around your nose, it's not the most comfortable thing in the world.)
We spent quite a while on this dive, and when we came back we got cleaned up and then had a meal and I spent the night in Silviu's spare apartment since it was so late. The next day we thought we might go for a very short dive again, but we didn't have that much air left in the tanks and Silviu had a sore throat and felt very lethargic so we scrapped that plan - I totally understood and anyway, the dive the night before was so amazing I'm not sure an immediate follow-up could have possibly lived up to it. Silviu has been wanting to do some art projects of his own and wanted to trade expertise with me, so we spent the day looking at the materials he already has, discussing options, and then in the evening we went to a giant Chinese bazaar to buy more LED light strings for his projects as he's interested in making artistic light boxes. I spent the night again since we were doing stuff quite late into the evening. Sadly, the next morning I too woke up with a sore throat and somewhat lethargic/dizzy. Since Silviu wasn't planning on doing a whole lot that day art-wise, and since I was likely coming down with what he had had, I begged out of sticking around midday and went back to Noemi's place to chill.
The following day was meant to be a work day, but I was definitely sick. I thought if I tried to paint that I'd just make more work for myself to have to undo, so I sorted some beachcombed findings and created a couple of assemblages.
I was going to go with Silviu up to Noemi's sister Sella's yoga retreat in the mountains on Saturday (Noemi wanted to take me, but she is taking a state exam to attempt to win a highly competitive place as a public school art instructor this weekend), but Friday was rough enough that I still needed to do basic things like shower (well, here it is somewhat more involved given that the water is only intermittently warm and my shower doesn't have a shower curtain so I have to be rather careful about where I aim the shower head) and buy groceries so I could eat breakfast, so I thought trying to spend the whole day out and about sounded overwhelming. Luckily, when I asked if we could postpone that a day Silviu said Sella was a bit busy on Saturday anyway and Sunday was ideal.
Fortunately, Saturday I woke up on the mend - still sick, but with a much clearer head and the energy to actually shower and walk to the grocery store and work in the studio!
This piece is rather quiet, even though it features a loud subject - the Ornate Wrasse, Thalassoma pavo. I am particularly pleased with the background, which is in keeping with my overall style but also references the refraction patterns of the ocean. I also think this painting shows that though the Ornate Wrasse is brightly colored, it can blend in surprisingly well.
It is acrylic on pastelbord, 9x12", and I'm still wrestling with the title.
I will be spending part of this upcoming summer in Agüimes, Gran Canaria of the Canary Islands, Spain, at this very exciting artist residency: La Pedrada de Noemi. The Canary Islands are located off the northwest coast of Africa, and I have always wanted to explore African island ecologies - Madagascar and Mauritius are still on the wish list! The Canary Islands just seemed like a great fit given that the language and governance will be quite familiar as I have cumulatively spent around eight months in various parts of Spain, but the environment will be an interesting departure.
The Canary Islands have a very biodiverse marine ecosystem, so I plan to purchase an affordable underwater camera and create artwork based on that aspect as well as any terrestrial fauna or flora I find compelling.
I will also be extending my layover on the way to LPA as one of the routes went through Dublin and I would love a chance to explore that city (and potentially the neighboring countryside).
It should be a fun and productive summer!