This past week, I have been putting together my art piece for the Visitor's Center here at the Hatfield Marine Science Center. I am calling it "Curiosity" as I was inspired by curiosity cabinets and the curiosity of the many scientists here, especially Bill Peterson, who is the main scientist I am working with at NOAA Fisheries. I have met so many great people who have donated objects and materials to my project. Collecting on the beach, estuary and marina are also figuring in to my piece. It is coming along. Lots of building, assembling and painting to do as well.
These paintings represent various pieces of the environment at Bonneville Dam. In my exploration I have looked at this place from different perspectives, both literal and figurative. It is a complex and diverse ecosystem full of examples of human intervention.
Endangered native Columbia River Gorge species.
Can sometimes be toxic to humans and animals. Proliferates in warm, stagnant waters. Occurs along shores of the Columbia River in summer.
These balls hover over the Columbia River, transecting the sky on either side of the dam to warn aircraft of the power lines.
Plentiful lichen and moss are indicators of the air quality in the environment.
Garlic mustard is one of the most invasive weeds in the Columbia Gorge region. It not only overwhelms native wild flowers, small trees and plants, it also poisons the soil for other plants. (Worst weeds of the gorge, Cape Horn Conservancy)
Population in decline, native fish in Columbia River. This fish is also important to tribes along the river.
The spill way creates a churning volume of water. The dam itself keeps many fish from moving up River, even with fish ladders. The deepening in places has dramatically changed the ecosystem for fish.
Invasive bird that, though tough and intelligent, is a threat to native bird populations. Starlings lay their eggs in the nests of other birds and when they hatch, the larger starling chick eats more than its share and causes the other chicks to starve.
Native Northwest wildflower
Beneficial insect, ladybug
Native Northwest wdflower
Paved roads surround the dam, allowing humans access by vehicle. Paved surfaces also increase heat and don't allow water to percolate. Paving also causes toxic substances to run into watersheds after rain.
The Columbia River is a diverse and complex ecosystem, full of microscopic life and harmful chemicals. It is one of the most polluted rivers in the US.
Sockeye Salmon are suffering from warming water temperatures. Diseases flourish in warm water.
Sea lions travel up River to feast on the bounty of salmon trying to reach their spawning grounds.
Many birds of prey nest along the river.
The Bonneville Dam produces apx 5 billion kwh of electricity for the region and California.
Some species are native, a common sight in the gorge region and home to many species of animals and insects.
I am very excited to begin a residency in Newport this summer with NOAA Fisheries. I will begin in mid July. Please check this blog for updates and info. Thanks!
The adventure begins... This past week I have met many wonderful people. Everyone has been so friendly and helpful. I have a studio with great light, a fabulous library for study, and lots of people excited to show me their research. My work will be displayed in the Visitor Center at the end of my residency, very excited. I am now collecting materials and starting to piece together ideas. It's a lot of info to distill, but shaping up well.
Newport is a fun place to be as well! I have been beach combing for my project almost every day and exploring the area. Beautiful and interesting!
Since I moved to the Columbia Gorge region 9 years ago, I have learned a lot about the changes that have been inflicted upon the landscape to serve humans. I have witnessed some of these changes for myself and began to wonder how to address this in my art. As we demand more of our planet, more than we need, we are pursuing a course that will be ever more difficult to change. The more I learn, the more I want to do and say something about it.
...a fitting subject for the changing seasons: continuing my work on the paintings for various shrines at the White Mountain Druid Sanctuary in Trout Lake. Currently, I am working on a cycle of paintings for the Morrighan shrine, the aftermath of a great battle, bodies, crows, birth, death and rebirth...