Posted by: bluelanternstudio | December 28, 2012

Stories of interconnection

As the year comes to a close, I’ve been reflecting on my work and what I want to do next. Big questions, big answers.

I’m ready to create new work—paintings, drawings, collages—that celebrate the richness and diversity of coastal marine life, without the overshadow of doom and gloom that my paintings have sometimes had. While those messages are  important, they don’t have to be central to my thinking and creating all the time. I will continue to talk about the need for ocean conservation and protection, and support organizations who do the work on the ground. Me, I’m going to focus on the miracle of life and exploring the magic that happens under the water. I want to inspire others, not add to overwhelm and distress.

From Plankton to Whales: Stories of Interconnection

Some specific species are calling to me, namely gray whales and Brant geese. Both are on migratory paths that lead them from Baja, Mexico, past British Columbia to Alaska and the Arctic. My family spends time each year in the Baja and on Vancouver Island, even though home base is Vancouver, and I love that these species connect these two disparate climates and cultures.

Gray whale migration (Collage, artist: Robi Smith)

Gray whale migration (Collage, artist: Robi Smith)

For a few years, I’ve been aware that February is the time to go to the Baja. The geese leave early in the month to start their migration north, and the grey whales are calving and gearing up for their long trek. March is when they arrive at Vancouver Island, and there are two festivals that draw people to greet them: a Brant Wildlife Festival in Parksville and the Pacific Rim Whale Festival in Tofino and Uclulet.

I’m interested in these two species, but I’m more interested in the biodiversity of the ecosystems that sustain them along the coast and how changes to those ecosystems affect an entire web of life. At this point I have way more questions and curiosity than answers. I know the art I create as a result of new explorations will be different than anything I’ve done before.

At this point, what I need is time—to read, to talk to people, to get out on the water, to think, and to draw and paint my way into something new. To this end, I’ve started a new Indiegogo campaign to fund these first few months of exploration.

When you contribute to my campaign, you get some great perks in return, not the least of which is contributing to the creation of new, thoughtful, meaningful art that can be shared. And I will share it. If my campaign is fully funded, I will be in a position to freely share the use of the images I create with non-profit and other organizations working to raise awareness about ocean issues.

I would love for you to read more about my campaign, contribute what you can, and share it with anyone in your network who might be interested ( Many thanks!

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