Sunday, January 9, 2011

Going Beyond the Challenge Boundaries

The first week of the new year has been a very interesting week. I completed my sketchbook for The Sketchbook Project. The cover picture might look a little familiar. I used a cropped version of my "Root" painting for the front cover. After getting the sketchbook finished and sent off I spent a bit of time putting together a nice slide show with music and all and getting my pictures posted here and there. Unfortunately the really nice slide show I put together did not have very good resolution once I got it on youtube. I put together another one that is now on the side-bar of the blog. You can also view pictures of the pages here. The video I made to go along with the sketchbook will be coming soon.
I have a profile page on the Sketchbook Project website as well and it can be viewed here. To be honest though, you will be able to see a lot more here on the blog.
My theme for my sketchbook (we were able to pick from several themes) is "Down Your Street." I planned to paint oil sketches of the ocean which is just down my street, about four blocks. The more I thought about it the more I realized that the sea is down everyone's street, even if they live in the middle of the continent. What happens to the ocean, happens to us, all of us, whether we realize it or not. I have always loved the sea and have always been involved one way or another in environmental causes since I was a small child. What started out as a simple sketchbook of small paintings of the sea turned into something a bit more...
I walk or run on the beach daily, no matter what the weather. It is different everyday which utterly fascinates me. It is always breathtakingly beautiful. However there are also things that are not beautiful. A lot of plastic pollution washes up with the tide. I started researching this. I honestly didn't think that all the pollution was from visitors to the beach. Much of the plastic is in tiny little pieces and some of the garbage is obviously not from beach lovers. Turns out I was right. The pollution is from all of us! My sketchbook evolved into showing the beauty of the beach and sea that thrills me juxtaposed against photos of the plastic pollution that alarms me. It went beyond the boundaries that I foresaw. The book contains just a couple of resources and some quotes. I wanted the pictures and paintings to speak for themselves.
I am not going to go into the alarming state of our oceans here on this blog. If you are curious and would like more info check out the Plastic Pollution Coalition and Jean-Michel Cousteau's Ocean Futures Society. There are also wonderful talks on the Great Pacific Garbage Patch at ted.com.
One of the valuable things I learned from participating in this project was the strong desire I have to link my work to causes that are important to me. These causes focus on women, animal rights and protection, and our environment, particularly our oceans. These are the areas that I will be donating a portion of the proceeds from any sale of my work. I also plan to become involved in other ways as well but again, that is for another post.
So it has been a good project. Not only did it give me a chance to experiment and improve my skills but gave me much more than I envisioned to think about and grow. It also gave me new friends! I have met three other wonderful and interesting women here locally who also are participating in this project.
Now, onto the next challenge. I got the studio cleaned, reorganized, and ready to go for my Mid-Century Challenge starting tomorrow. For fun, I put a countdown gadget in the sidebar of the blog. It seems like a long time doesn't it? I am sure this time next year I will be moaning about how fast the time went.
I wonder where this challenge will take me?
Deep breath. Here...we...go...
-Renee

2 comments:

Theresa said...

Congrats on getting one sketchbook completed and the start of another along with your mid-century challenge. Yes, the oceans are a mess aren't they. While all the grassroot societies are making a difference this problem won't be solved until government(s) steps in and really commits to cleaning them up, much like waterways in the 70's. Gene made a ring for one of the Cousteau grandsons a few years back.
How fun you have local artists also participating! Good for you!

Renee said...

Ah Theresa. Unfortunately you are so right about the government's responsibility. In fact our government, and navy, is one of the biggest polluters. I think the role of grassroot societies and people like me are to spread the awareness so that we the people can put the pressure on. One of the problems is that most of us are so far removed. Our education system, lacking in so many areas, does not provide us with the knowledge we need to understand the systems that our very existence depends upon.
It has to start somewhere though so why not me, along with other dedicated people?
I am intrigued by the ring you mentioned your Gene made. I love jewelry making. Any pictures?

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