30 x 30 inches | oil finger painting on canvas
A mess of tentacles plays in a sunspot on the bottom of the ocean floor. It’s a rare moment of relaxation for this octopus—his suckers turn peach, ochre, magenta, fuchsia in the brightness and lavender, mint, turquoise, ice green in the shadows. It could be a trick of the light or a game of illusion played by a master of mirage looking on with his meaningful, half-closed eye.
This is my first deep underwater painting. I was inspired by an incredible scene in Life Story, a nature documentary where a brilliantly elusive octopus is being chased by a shark. He feints, dodges, and then grabs two coconut shell halves to completely disappear into. The shark is dazed and confused to see nothing except undersea scraps but no octopus.
This level of visual mimicry is both astounding and highly sophisticated. But the hyper-colored iridescent morphings of octopus skin serve as more than a defense mechanism. Much like peacocks, cephalopods flaunt their beauty in hypnotic, undulating shows of light and color to attract love.
In making this painting, I realized that sea life is particularly well captured with the thick strokes of finger painting. My plan for the future is to make several diving expeditions in order to visit these creatures in the freedom of their natural environment, learn their secrets of pigment and texture, and create a new kind of mesmerizing art.