Posted by: bluelanternstudio | September 11, 2012

Protecting the BC coast, one calendar at a time

Growing up in Vancouver, I have many happy childhood memories of playing on the city’s great beaches, digging for clams and chasing skittering crabs across the rocks. As an adult, I’ve spent time on many of the gulf islands and up the Sunshine Coast, being rejuvenated by the salty air, the cries of gulls and ravens, and the sight of great blue herons patiently fishing by the shore.  Exploring beaches at low tide with my son is like going on a magical treasure hunt for sea stars, crabs, sea anemones, and popping kelp.

Beach on Gambier Island

Beach, Gambier Island, BC

As I grow older,  and see how much less sea life there is on our shores (especially in and around the city), I’ve become more aware of how fragile these ecosystems are. All of it, along with the social and economic well-being  that goes along with it, could be wiped out by a major oil spill. It’s enough to keep me awake at night.


Herring (acrylic on canvas, artist: Robi Smith)

As an artist, I try to highlight the beautiful and mysterious elements of our coastal marine environment while also talking about the things we do or support on land that have a detrimental effect on sea life: from pollution and overfishing to habitat loss and climate change.

The biggest and most immediate threat to coastal life these days are plans to pipe tar sands oil from Alberta to the BC coast and then ship it to Asia on enormous supertankers. One spill from these supertankers would be bigger than the Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska.

Dolly Varden

Dolly Varden (acrylic on canvas, artist: Robi Smith)

Thankfully, there are many people and organizations here in BC fighting the pipeline and tanker tanker traffic proposals. I’m fully supportive of their work, and that’s why I’ll be donating a portion of the proceeds from my 2013 ocean calendar to the Dogwood Initiative and the Wilderness Committee to help them with their awareness and advocacy work.

The calendar will feature a dozen of my ocean paintings (one for each month). It will also highlight the efforts of organizations and individuals working to protect the coast in myriad ways. The calendar will be printed locally in Vancouver on 100% post consumer recycled paper.

I’m currently pre-selling the calendars through Indiegogo to help cover the design and printing costs. On the site, I’ve set up a gallery page where you can see the calendar images. I’ve chosen 8 so far and will post more in the coming weeks.

Moon jellies

Moon jellies – detail (acrylic on round canvas, artist: Robi Smith)

Thanks to my great fans, I’ve already raised nearly a third of my goal. I’d love your help in getting me closer, either by pre-purchasing your own copy of the calendar and/or by helping spread the word. You can share this post on Facebook and Twitter, or use the social media tools on my Indiegogo site. Many thanks in advance.

Here’s to healthy oceans and beaches for generations to come!


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