I am reading “The World is Blue”, by Sylvia Earle. This informative book is passionate, if scary, and I am rethinking my assumptions. She quotes decade-long president of the Nature Conservancy , John C. Sawhill, as saying, “In the end, our society will be defined not only by what we create, but by what we refuse to destroy.”
For some time it has bothered me how much of my life involves plastic. My painting medium itself is a plastic, as is the packaging that contains it. How can I preach walking lightly on the earth while my medium is so, well, plastic? I have been inspired recently by creative people selling all manner of things they have made on etsy. So, I will be taking a long-considered plunge into unfamiliar territory and changing the way I create art. My plan is to make use of all that paper that comes in the door in the form of fliers, etc, and paint on those using watercolors. Watercolors come in cakes, not plastic tubes, and (I believe) the binder is nontoxic. The resulting work will not be archival, but then again, how archival does art really need to be? The more I study art, the more I conclude that work created much before our time is rarely…um, relevant. I fear that comment will unleash some strong comment. In any event, this is one thing I want to do to reduce the impact I leave on the earth. I’ll keep you posted how the experiment works. I am sure I’ll run into snags, which will be interesting to solve.
Lord Byron wrote, “Roll on, thou deep and dark blue Ocean-roll!
Ten thousand fleets over thee in vain;
Man marks the earth with ruin- his control
Stops with the shore.”
Alas, we are learning that this isn’t so. For junior year high school this year, my daughter and I were given marine biology to study. (home-school… a whole other topic!) Never mind that we’d have to travel days to see an ocean. I, however, was enthusiastic. I grew up by the sea, and a part of me never left. Now I could share it with her, if only through books and websites. For now. We’ll go back.
But all is not well with the seas, it turns out. Can we stop discarding plastics? Can we stop spewing CO2 into the atmosphere, which is acidifying the oceans??? (I didn’t know about that…) We are pretty used to our way of doing things. It is startling to realize that not all that long ago, plastic didn’t even exist! I believe we can do it, we can learn to live with the world, not at odds with it.
I don’t like catch-phrases very much, but it seems “reducing our carbon footprint” might in fact be a good idea. Does anyone have any ideas?
Please forgive the pun- I couldn’t help myself. I just finished this little 5″x5″ painting of my son. He is 20 now, so this was just a little indulgence in nostalgia. Sigh. Luckily I still get to see him every day, although I frequently have to take a second look. Has he grown AGAIN?!
This painting is also taking note of my first visit to a botanic garden. I didn’t know then how smitten I would be by gardens and plants in general. Bliss!
Among the changes in life, I am just knocked out by the blogosphere. Recently I have been reading some truly great posts, and I want to share them with you: By the Sea; Creative Procrastination; Atomsofthought…. you have inspired me, caused me to slow down and think more deeply. Thank you all. Every time I dip my net in here, I come away refreshed and lifted up.