My current art work is inspired by my surroundings where I am immersed in marine life. Inspired by the sea and the seabirds that dive into their waters for their food, I use the sand dollar mosaics, paintings and drawings to tell a little bit of this story.
From white-winged scooters to some species of the seagull, the number of everyday marine birds here have plummeted dramatically in recent decades ands o has their food. In the past, the reason have varied from climate change and shoreline development, to marine pollution and predators.
New studies by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, have linked many dwindling common marine bird populations to what they eat especially herring, anchovies, and serf smelt (the tiny swimmers often dubbed forage fish).
This is much to investigate when walking on the beach as I closely study the habits of the marine birds, and gather the sand dollars that they have eaten. I see so many of the sand dollar shells have been broken because the tiny, soft little animal inside has been devoured by the seagulls making it rare to find one that is whole, but it is these that have been eaten that I found the most interesting.
Gathering a selection of sand dollars I return to my studio where I arrange them on canvas or wood panel creating a rhythm of variegated surface and light, a pattern composed of individual shells. After unifying them they become a larger than life whole and the image appears as a mirror of nature.
When painting or drawing the gulls I use expressive brush-work with thick application of paint and color to describe from and light. I am very much aware of our coast atmospheric colors. Oftentimes I tis a soft grayed hue that I use to express the Pacific Northwest Coast. When the sun shines I see the reflections of the birds in the wet sand and this too inspires the colors I choose.
Ultimately my intent is to raise awareness of the incredible beauty of our marine birds and to bring attention to the fragility of our marine life.
Mimi Cernyar Fox