Painting the Southern Ocean will culminate a 20-year project to sail and paint all the oceans on the planet to help raise awareness about the plight of our oceans.
I will sail to Antarctica in February 2019 to capture my final ocean and complete this goal. I began my quest to paint the Earth’s five major oceans in 2001 and since then, I’ve traveled over 30,000 miles on sea, painted more than 200 bodies of water, and painted water in 22 countries. I am committed to using my art to forward our public conversation about how climate change threatens our seas and what we can do, in our own lives, to support the environment.
I will sail to the Antarctic Circle aboard the Plancius, a research ship that will depart from Ushuaia, Argentina, to Antarctica along the Antarctic Peninsula to Detaille Island (within the Polar Circle).
My paintings of the Southern Ocean, like my paintings of the Pacific, Atlantic, Indian, and Arctic oceans, will be emotive formal portraits. Each painting I make is a portrait of a specific body of water. By formal, I mean using shapes, color, lines, and texture to create an abstract image that explores the unique qualities of Antarctica. I enjoy using the formal elements, along with composition, to evoke emotion in the viewer.
This will be an immense and busy time for sketching! During my time in Antarctica, I plan to document all forms of water that I encounter through sketches, photographs, and video. My goal is to create a well-informed body of work responding to the surroundings and also to gather as much information as possible for future work. Sailing to, and capturing each ocean presents one challenge, creating a body of work that is successful presents another, and finally, painting each body of water with my unique voice is a personal challenge that excites me.
I don’t know what I will encounter on the Antarctic Peninsula. I am mentally prepared for the acute cold in February, but I have never sailed that far south before, and Antarctica is the coldest place on the planet. I am excited by the prospect of seeing the blues, aquas, and greens peculiar to ice at the poles as well as the unique natural spectacle, the Southern Lights, aurora Australis.
I painted the Indian and Atlantic Oceans with the Borobudur Ship Expedition in 2003-4, and with Phoenicia in 2008-10, and the Arctic Ocean with The Arctic Circle in 2014. Living and growing up near the Pacific Ocean, I consider it the ocean "that started it all." I’ve been painting the Pacific most of my life.
A project of this scale is a big team effort. I would like to thank my family and friends who have consistently helped make this possible over the last 20 years. Lane, Ellaine, Fletch, Kit, Philip, Mark, Christie, Monica, Son, Judy, Marina and many more who have had a key role in making this happen.
I’m very excited to paint The Southern Ocean and complete my pursuit of all the world’s oceans. I don’t know what I’ll find in Antarctica. I suspect it will be an abstract world unlike anything else I have seen. I can’t wait to paint it!
For more information: www.oneartistfiveoceans.com
Risks and challenges
• In terms of creating my artwork, the biggest challenges that I will face with this project are the temperature and weather. In order to sketch the landscape, I will need days that are relatively ‘warm’ in order to remove my outer layer of gloves and work with the paper, pencil, and ink. In order to help overcome windy or particularly cold days, I will mount the images on card and attach them to my lap.
• The amount I am requesting will cover a portion of the total budget. It will cover the airfare to and from Ushuaia, Argentina and the boarding fee for the vessel. All donations above the funding goal are helping pay for: insurance, special equipment, linen canvas and other art supplies, video help for the Kickstarter video, childcare while I’m away, required accommodation for layovers in Buenos Aires and Ushuaia, and new URLs for this project. Fortunately, my experience in the Arctic has already provided me with cold weather gear and clothing. Thank you to everyone who helped make going to the Arctic possible. It's terrific that the gear I acquired for that expedition will also work well for this one.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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