HORSESHOE CRAB CREATIVE SERIES

Each hand painted horseshoe crab shell is a unique piece of artwork.  Using water-based oil paints I create unique paintings, employing patterns and colors that are inspired by nature and world art. I have produced a number of distinctive series each evoking different primitive imagery. Below is a description of what inspired and motivated my different design series as I created them.

The natural shape of the shells bring to mind primitive masks, this inspired me to create a number of different shell paintings evoking the masks of ancient cultures. My Mask Series includes my Tribal Mask, Tribal Totem Mask, Decorative Mask, and Medallion Mask paintings. The patterns and designs in my Tribal Mask series are reminiscent of patterns and visual motifs found in ancient cultures. The symmetry and colors of the shell are echoed in the earthen toned balanced designs and the natural colors are resonant of the pigments found in early people’s works. For some of the Decorative Mask designs I have added detailed ornamentation in a decorative fashion serving to highlight the shape of the shell, while others lend themselves to the use of mandala-esque motifs found in my Medallion Mask paintings which may incorporate more geometric shapes and repetitive patterns. I have also created a more totemic, vertical design theme in my Tribal Totem Series. These mostly symmetrical designs with their detailed vertical centers are evocative of totemic designs with patterns and motifs found in the artistic styles of many cultures.

I have always been inspired by the creative arts of indigenous cultures around the world from Africa to Alaska, thus my World Art Series was born. This series includes my Dreamtime, Dreamtime Sea-Life, and Oceania paintings. The themes found in the “Dreamtime” art of the indigenous Australian people are inextricably linked with the natural world. Traditionally, for the Aboriginal peoples, their “dreaming” artwork might depict cultural and spiritual stories concerning the formation of earth and life. For my Dreamtime works I primarily use nature’s earthen toned palette, exploring motifs of the Earth’s myriad and varied landforms. In my intricate Dreamtime Sea-Life designs I employ nature’s watery hues echoing the patterns, movements, and myriad forms of life found in our oceans where the horseshoe crabs have lived for over 400 million years. Oceanic art refers primarily to the creative works made by the native peoples of the Pacific Islands. Though their artistic conceptions vary throughout the cultures and regions, typically they carry themes of fertility, the supernatural, incorporating elaborate geometric motifs and anthropomorphic imagery.  These ideas influenced the creation of my Oceania paintings. 

These ancient creatures, inhabiting earth’s waters for over 400 million years also inspired me to create my Shore Series including the Tidal, Nature’s Pattern, Ocean Impressions, Primordium, Sea-realism and Sea-Life paintings. The natural habitat and history of the horseshoe crab serves to inspire these works. My Tidal paintings delve into imagery contrasting the undulating ocean waters above, the sea life usually obscured below and the shifting shoreline sands. Exploring at low tide gives us a peek into the hidden world otherwise masked by the ever-changing seas. These free-form flowing designs are reflective of the constant movement of our seas and coastlines. The pigments and patterns in my Nature’s Pattern group follow and highlight the natural markings and contours of the shell itself, many shells have darker or lighter variations and patterns that I follow as the natural markings act as my guide for the designs. The designs from my Ocean Impressions series describe the forms, patterns and myriad colors found in our oceans and seas, our beaches and costal areas. These paintings employ an impressionistic style and coloring. The asymmetrical designs seen in my Primordium paintings are reminiscent of patterns found in organic forms and evocative of the feeling inspired by the idea of the primordial soup giving birth to the building blocks of life. In this group, I incorporate the breadth of colors and tones found in nature’s palette, juxtaposing them in unusual combinations. In my Sea-realism Series, inspired by Surrealistic Art particularly the artists Miro and Klee, I freely paint random patterns and designs evocative of sea-life on a blended background using the colors and hues found in nature.

My newest series is the Samsara Series exploring imagery expressing the elements of earth, air, fire and water. The Samsara Series include my Elemental and Skull paintings.  Although quite different in style both evoke thoughts and feelings regarding the cyclicality of all life. The Buddhist notion of Samsara describes matter and existence going around through a succession of states: a worldly life of constant change that is birth, growth, decay, death and re-birth.  My Elemental paintings explore imagery expressing the essence of life: earth, air, fire and water conveying the energy of nature and the connections between all vital forces. Echoing the spirit of Samsara, the central tree of life reflects maturation and growth and the innate connection joining all beings.  My Skull designs are inspired by the skull-like shape of the shells, as well as the concepts of life and death. The positive themes of Mexican Day of the Dead artistry, keeping those who have died alive in our hearts, and the creative multi-colored, mind-expanding artworks sparked by the music of the Grateful Dead and others gave birth to these paintings.