Pale Blue Dot
Oil on Panel, 44” x 44″
Ltd. Edition Print
I returned from a ski workshop enthralled with new discoveries about snow after riding the chairlift with a ski pro friend. He shared how these vast differences in snowflakes function in avalanche conditions as well as future water sources. They are indeed uniquely different and as I researched info about them I found a physicist, Dr. Kenneth Libbrecht at Cal Tech who created duplicate snowflakes in a lab experiment. They’re so beautiful, I painted one of these complex mathematical marvels. And in keeping with this feeling, the theme of this painting spoke to me early on that our joyride on Earth is inextricably linked to awe and respect for the creatures above and below our footsteps, the oceans and the air. I signed on to support Scripps Oceanography Institute as a result which inspires me all the time.
Water! The center image is from an underwater shot taken by stellar photographer Michael David Adams and it exemplifies our dynamic relationship with water and the air we breathe, the exchanges with plant and animal life, the baby nourished in the womb, the leafy sea dragons and the otherworldly octopus to name a few. And, all without our conscious effort to do so!
Because of the months that go into a painting, they become autobiographical, books I read, people I meet, music I listen to, life and death. I lost my 13 year old Havanese companion just as my grandson was being born. And all these contribute to the humanity of my work. Additionally, images I find or create and especially ones submitted to me by other artists and photographers who permit me to paint my version into a piece not only enhance the story and theme, but we have become global conspirators for good for which I’m deeply grateful.
The octopus (you see many octopuses in my works) was photographed by award winning Martin Strmiska in the Mediterranean, you will see more creatures from him in the future!
The carved driftwood sculpture showing people lifting one another up was skillfully done by Alan Mantle who lives in Paris and you can see it in Wales.
I painted the twigs shaped into lungs for the beauty of it and hung the mending hearts later when I was sad about the loss of Murphy, my dog because the lungs are the repository of the emotion of grief. In Chinese medicine pears are suggested for relief of lung congestion. So ode to pears!
The word RESPECT was at first placed as a reminder to hold our Mother Earth in our hearts so we can heal her. Then Aretha Franklin died and I recalled her song of that name. Then I remembered Respect Yourself by the Staple Singers and wrote in the musical notation from the beginning of that song. And then we endured the global pandemic which has made this painting beloved for so many reasons.
And the best story I’ve saved for now: when the Voyager I spacecraft was due to be slingshot into deep space after its mission and loaded with the ‘golden record’ Carl Sagan pleaded with NASA to turn the craft around one last time to take a photo of Earth from 3.7 billion miles away. The photo is grainy and only by the arrow pointing to the tiniest dot can you see it in this barely visible shaft of light from the distant Sun. It was named the Pale Blue Dot and it became the title of Sagan’s book. It’s a magnificent read and underscores our responsibility to deal kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.
All images are painted before adding the connecting ‘line’ work in order to connect all things to each other which I do in all of my work. You can see music, water, ropes and beads. A couple that have extra significance for me are the bowline knot. I learned this one on a boat in Tonga, how to tie it one-handed should you need to in a dire situation. And the line of little blue Earths…well, you know!