Back to some bad environmental news - European marine sanctuaries are not protected from trawling and dredging (why not?!!!) so they’re being so intensely overfished that biodiversity is greater in non-sanctuary-zoned areas.
Here's the first finished piece of artwork from my residency! It features two Canary damselfish, Similiparma lurida and/or Abudefduf luridus. There are a lot of this species in the Zoco Negro where I went snorkeling and had my scuba diving "baptism." The males are territorial, and this species is occasionally called sergeant major (though the name more commonly applies to a different damselfish species). I've decided to name this painting Reconnaissance. It is acrylic on pastelbord, 11x14", and looks even nicer in person because the water and the eyes of the fish have iridescent silver and gold paint on them, respectively, and so they shine intensely depending on viewer angle and interior light levels.
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!
And here's the finished first painting! It's a conceptual, experimental piece - those are real Atlantic blue mussel shells (Mytilus edulis) adhered to the panel; I beachcombed some while I was in Iceland and was quite interested in their coloration and form and how I might use them to break the picture plane. I wanted to explore ideas of illusionism, perspective, shaped or irregular canvases, cast shadows, organic versus architectural form language, and intertidal zone ecosystems.
I'm titling this painting Byssal Bird, and it's a mixed media piece with acrylic, watercolor, Atlantic blue mussel shells, and epoxy on a 16x12" basswood panel.
I'm almost done with the first puffin painting - the one I gave you a sneak peak of - but in the meantime I'm potentially done with the second; I've been adjusting it over the past couple days and I may go back into it again, but here's where it's at now. If I do go back into it, it'll be for minor changes at this point. I'm typically pretty bad about taking progress photos (particularly in taking well lit/consistent lighting source ones, so please excuse the slight lighting changes in the thumbnails) but I'm trying to make more of an effort to document my processes.
I'm titling this one Littoral Layers. The final piece is graphite, charcoal, and acrylic on a 16x20" basswood panel. I typically do start with a line drawing (after preliminary sketching, of course), but then in paintings where I add to the natural support media for the background, I usually paint in the beginnings of a background before moving on to the foreground elements and then go back and forth until there's a resolution. This painting was different in that I really developed the foreground elements before addressing the background, though after that I did my normal switching back and forth routine.