Art in the Littoral Zone

From lowest low tide, to highest high tide, the littoral zone is the place where the tide ebbs and flows, storms shift the landscape, and fascinating creatures flourish.

But more than tide and weather, the shoreline is a liminal space, a shifting boundary between the mystery of the sea, and the solid earth where we live. The shore is the in-between zone, where we go to wonder and wander, to gather clues and gifts offered by the waves, to mourn, to think and to dream.

My work shifts with the cycles of the weather. I love to wander the beaches of the San Juan Islands with my camera, finding and framing the abundance of color and changing light, diverse geology and biomorphic forms. Then I draw and paint with charcoal, graphite, ink, oils, and acrylic to capture their magic.

The shoreline is especially dynamic after storms, when huge trees wash in, or even after a holiday weekend, when families and friends are driven for some mysterious reason, to build driftwood huts from sizeable beached logs. Are these structures are meant to be shrines to memory? Cairns in honor of the dead, shelters from which to watch a storm? To me, most of all, they seem like thresholds and invitations to imagined landscapes.

 

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