The current group show at Sparks Gallery features artwork from 36 Southern California artists exploring their relationship with the San Diego coastline: capturing the feeling of the sand, water, wind, animal life and plant life, as well as the natural beauty of the shape & form of the edge of the ocean.
We asked each artist: “What captivates you most about the ocean? Is there a specific memory, mood, or experience of the ocean you want to convey through your work? How has living in the coastal community of Southern California influenced your artistic practice?”
Read on to learn about their inspiration and process.
Victor Angelo: What captivates me most about the ocean is its ever-changing sight and sound. The physical consistency of ocean water apparently has a semblance to our own blood. No wonder it feels so good and at home to be in the ocean water.
I grew up going to the nearby beach regularly and have participated in exhibitions to benefit the well-being of the ocean while at the same time producing work which is inspired in part by its grandeur. The ocean tends to seep into my work without conscious effort. It also has a sense of never ending.
Stefanie Bales: My entire current series is of beachscapes inspired by the Southern California landscape. I’m fascinated by the ambiguity and anonymity of the ocean, despite how familiar it feels regardless of variance in location. The vastness of the ocean allows for endless exploration and interpretation, but more literally, there really is nothing I find more beautiful than the passing of time reflected in the changing colors of a seascape.
My work is less about a specific experience and more a reflection of our collective experiences, and our remembrance of them. The ocean is an emblem of nostalgia, and each of my seascape/beachscape works reflects this reminiscence.
The SoCal landscape is a primary influence for both the subject and aesthetic of my work. The coastal climate as inspired the warmth of my color palette and the topography and culture have literally become the subject of much of my work. The fact that there is no “indoor” season allows for constant observation, exploration, and inspiration.
Michael Carini: What captivates me most about the ocean is the natural, elemental, and powerful, yet peaceful qualities and emotions it elicits.
Like the ocean, it was imperative to allow a natural and organic flow in the creation of my Beautiful Accidents. I have no doubt, however, that the collective memories, moods, and experiences of growing up in San Diego were imperative in transporting me to the exact moment and state of these creations. From the hues, values, and color combinations to the very process of creation, the ocean flows deeply in these works.
Even if only on a subconscious level, all artistic manifestations are going to be imbued with a certain quality or characteristic of regionalism. From the hues and values to the interactions and textures, what surrounds us, what we see, what know…these things shape not only us, but that which we create.
Brennan Hubbell: I love to be in the ocean and tossed about like a dinghy. It makes me smile, even when It gets scary and it’s difficult to get out of the currents. It’s not a very smart reaction, and sometimes I really do get scared and my head starts telling me how stupid I am. But some place deep in there is a voice telling me that death at sea would be the best way to go. Just not right now please, I am having too much fun. ; )
Elena Karavodin: Walking through nature has always been a kind of meditation for me. For a period, I would walk through Torrey Pines State National Reserve every other day. The trees, the cliffs, the wildlife are inspiration in themselves, but standing at the top of the cliffs, I found myself always looking toward the ocean. Looking out at what felt like eternity. I could see the different depths of the water, a variation of colors and textures. I wanted this painting to highlight the beauty of the ocean. A sort of color swatch of the changing sea.
Sherry Krulle-Beaton: I have always lived within a relatively short distance from the sea. What captivates me as an artist is the sea presents me with all the examples and principles of design. At the same time doing so with a mood changing spectrum such as crashing of thunderous waves to the soft roll of sand pebbles rushing back toward the sea. Living in a coastal community has made me more aware of how the ebb and flow, motion and moods of the ocean can influence my art.
Alexander Miller: I always find the underwater world an amazing scene of beauty and harmony, and it is heightened by the elements of mystery and discovery. Many years ago a friend and I realized that a tidepool we had been looking in was quite deep. So we dove in and found that it was actually an opening to a large cavern with exceptionally clear water and filled with sea life. When I remember experiences such as this it is easy for my mind to drift into dreams and fantasy.
The Ebb & Flow sculpture is an example of a dream made real in physical form. I imagine them as floating lanterns shaped by the water but also with a life inside them, an internal energy. They are bobbing up and down, but also have a turmoil inside.
When I was a young teenager I would ride my bike to beaches with just a snorkel and mask on the handle bars. My direct experiences of free diving with sea life and also exploring the rocks and coastal canyons gave me an invitation to discover and to dream. Today I am fortunate enough to still be able to explore the coast whenever I want.
Judy Salinsky: I am captivated by the ocean’s energy: its unrelenting power awes and inspires me. I swim in the ocean for exercise; I enjoy watching the colorful fish and kelp moving below me in their rhythmic dances. The fluidity of this movement is a common thread through my art. Growing up on the beach has left an indelible mark. As an artist, it’s what powers my inspirational energy. This well of energy has allowed me to create even when I’m a landlocked visitor.
Jeremy Sicile-Kira: I love the sound of the waves crashing on the shore and the light of the sun rays hitting the water creating sparkles.
Greatly I frankly described in the dream descriptions the feelings I have when I am at the beach. I have synesthesia: I see emotions as color. Truly I used different colors that represent what I feel and experience about the ocean: the great calm I feel when I am walking on the beach or when I am in the water is represented by green; the love I have for the water and the love I have of always being geographically near the water is represented by pink; the hope I feel at the beach for my justly nice life and believing I can do anything is represented by white; the happiness I feel when I am surrounded by the beautiful ocean is represented by yellow.
I have been greatly influenced by the city I love and live in. Truly all of my painting are nicely touched by colors from my city. The beautiful blue of the ocean and of the sky move through my paintings in many ways. Truly I see a lot of different people from different places who chose to make this their home, and kindly I love that my community and city includes everyone.
Paul Strahm: I am a plein air painter and for obvious reasons I chose San Diego in which to practice my talent. The ocean with its coastline gives me a subject unique to any other.
Why do people sit and look out upon this vast scape? Many reasons, I am sure. I like to sit, look and paint… paint what I see. The particular painting exhibiting in Edge of the Ocean is a small study that really is an example of simplicity. I just stood there and painted what I was seeing without any regard to mood or experience… except the experience of painting.
Anna Stump: My beach is Silver Strand. I grew up there and still live close by. It’s the most lovely, wonderful place, but it’s also full of tension for both wildlife and people. Living so close to the International Border, and to the edge of the Pacific, has had a profound impact on my work. I find myself defining edges, where I will go and where I won’t go.