Friday, February 1, 2013

Gulf Coast Abstractions - Mixed Media Collages

Some of my fondest memories of my childhood are from growing up on the shores of the Gulf of Mexico at our family beach house on Fort Morgan. We spent summers there, running the dunes, casting the nets, floundering, and digging for periwinkles. The sand was so hot that you either had to run like the wind or wait until the day cooled off to get from the house to the shore. Our family ate together, played together, worshiped there together and built the memories of a lifetime for us and I think I can still get sand out of my ears if I tried really hard. 

One of my first memories of meeting my husband was driving up to the west end of Dauphin Island and viewing the kids and Bill shoveling oyster shells for the driveway. Anytime it stormed the ocean would wash the sand over the drive and the shells would have to be re-sifted. Bright Waters faced the Gulf of Mexico and the memories we  shared there are still bitter sweet to this day. Hurricane Ivan took the house and Hurricane Katrina took the lot and I miss Dauphin Island, the call of the ocean, the taste of salt in my mouth, and the incredible sunset so much. There are days I look to the sky, close my eyes, and imagine that I am still there, listening to the draw of the ocean's song. Living along the Gulf Coast is like no other place and no matter how far I drift from here it always calls to me, always reminds me of being home. 

When I thought about what type of work I wanted to create for a mixed media show coming up this month the idea of celebrating the beauty of the coast was the perfect choice. There are lines, colors, patterns, and textures that I carry with me in tiny spaces of my mind, all from the memories of childhood and those I hold dear from Dauphin Island. For those of us lucky enough to grow up along the coast it becomes part of us, our spirit, our way of life, and the impressions last a lifetime. 

Mixing multiple elements in a piece has been a challenge of mine and I have grown quite fond of using graphite, acrylic, and collage using transparent papers. The pieces used to create the myriad of colors and landscapes were made using papers that would have ended up in the trash. I repurposed table paper from our art center, hand painted them, and incorporated them into the framework for each piece. Graphite was used not only as a sketch tool but I also wanted to write through the inspiration for each piece with a painting of words as well as paint and paper. 

The images here are the beginning of this series. My intent will be to build a body of work that encompasses the impressions of the coast from my childhood to present day, celebrating our way of life here from the ocean to the small town life that we all know and love. I start with that of abstract landscape and gulf front, as these colors and structure are what my psyche echoes of days long past. 

If you are a lover of the coast, I do hope my words and images will connect with you in a unique way, as the coast has to me. 

Text written on canvas: 
To live by the coast is to live with the knowing that even though the air be salty, the waves be ever moving, and the sand be always at our feet, serenity comes from being in sync with call of the ocean against the longing of our hearts. It shall always call us home. 
"Reflections of Bright Waters 8" by 16" collage on canvas

Text Written on the canvas:
What is the call of the ocean on our hearts? Is it the ebb and flow of the spirit between love and connection? Is it the fluidity of the movement between coming forth and drawing back? For so many the ocean calls out to us, touching a place deep within, grounding us by water, life, and the beauty bound not only by its surface but also its depths. When one experiences the call of the deep along the coast we become part of it in a way that is difficult to pen. It is who we become, our way of life, our knowing between the land and the sea. Our families are shaped by it, contained by it, and impacted by it, as it was meant to be. May our longing for the coast remain in our hearts, be protected by our actions, and may we be the stewards of the tide. May we forever love and honor its beauty and the gifts it offers us.
" The Call of the Sea" 22" by 28" collage on canvas

Text written on canvas: 
"Sunsets are God's way of painting our hearts into being."
"The Green Flash" 16" by 20" collage on canvas

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