Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Dead Reef

Ideas emerge slowly, and I think the best ideas need time to settle and mature. Some new ideas might seem fascinating at first, but given time the lack of substance and ordinariness dulls their initial interest. Over two years ago I had an idea for a body of work that took a hold of my imagination and nagged at me. But I wasn’t ready to tackle it yet; the concept needed time to mature, to gather inspiration and momentum.
I put it aside and have been following other projects, other themes, other exhibitions. What I’ve noticed is this one idea keeps gnawing at me. It tells me that this idea is “a keeper”, not a silly thought that in hindsight wasn’t so fantastic after all.

The concept for my new body of work has slowly been taking form, and I know that once I return to Australia I will be ready to tackle it. To dive into it headfirst, you could say. As a prototype I created this painting, to experiment with the imagery and colour palette I am envisioning for the series. 

"The Dead Reef" was painted in delicate layers of translucent watercolour washes. The bleached underwater garden is a sad nod to the unfortunate phenomenon of entire coral reefs dying out, transforming into ghostly graveyards where once a vibrant and colourful life thrived in abundance. She is a memoir to the vast turbulent ocean, breathing salty sorrow, inspiring myth and mystery.

To me the ocean is a great and vast expanse, an alien underwater world. The salty wind is restless and tireless, traveling across great distances, bringing tales of faraway mythical places not traversable by land. The ocean is our planets greatest mystery, the only realm humans have not been able to fully explore. She is a watery grave, a deep darkness, an endless source of inspiration for melancholics and poets.


  1. This is beautiful, quite possibly one of my favorites of yours. The time was well spent! I love urchins and coral so the message and the emotion behind this piece are especially wonderful and lovely to me.

    And, your persistence in pursuing your idea is a reminder to me to work on some of the more in-depth/ long-term projects I've paused on or haven't even started because of it's grand undertaking.

    Keep it up! <3

    1. Crystal you dear! What an awesome comment! I'm a huge ocean fan, I miss the ocean something terrible here in Europe - swimming in the Great Barrier Reef will always be one of my dearest memories.
      Glad my persistence inspired you to re-visit some grand projects, can't wait to see them!!

  2. Beautiful painting! I love the ocean more than words can explain, so naturally I can't help but get excited at the thought of this series. Best of luck.


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