Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Red Sea

The Red Sea
60" x 60" - acrylic on canvas
I started this large painting in 2011, but wasn't quite sure how I wanted to finish it until I was tasked with painting a red-themed work for this year's The RED Show at Rail Walk Studios & Gallery. The show is a combination group exhibit and Red Cross fundraiser.

I had originally painted a dark, blue-green background over a gold-gesso ground (I love Daniel Smith's gold gesso). I wasn't sure how I wanted to finish the background once I had painted in all the fish, so I let it sit. When time rolled around again for Rail Walk's now-annual, group Red show, I thought, "That's it! I'll make it red." And so I did. I finished the painting late this month. I really like it.

Another interesting aspect of this painting is that I needed some good reference material for the fish. I found it in the fish illustrations by Norman Weaver in the book, "The Fresh & Salt Water Fishes of the World." I didn't want to risk copyright infringement, so I searched on the web for the illustrator so I could get his OK for my having used his illustrations for reference, but found that he had passed away. There was a web site, though, about his life and work, which is maintained by his daughter (NormanWeaver.com), so I contacted her by email. My finished piece is very different from Norman Weaver's illustrations in the book, but the fish were recognizable enough that I felt I needed permission. She graciously gave me permission and thanked me for contacting her. In the case of copyright, the old adage "it's better to ask forgiveness than permission" does NOT apply!

The RED Show, in which this painting will be displayed, and art donated by local artists for a Silent Auction fundraiser for the Red Cross runs from February 2 to March 31, 2012. There will be a closing event instead of an opening reception. The closing event on March 31st will be highlighted by a Silent Auction of the donated art. The event is from 6pm to 8pm. There will also be food, drink, entertainment, fun activities, and chances to win prizes. A $5 donation will be collected at the door, with 100% of it going to the Red Cross. All the proceeds of the Silent Auction will also be donated. In addition, the Rail Walk artists have pledged to donate 25% of sales during The RED Show to the Red Cross.

Rail Walk Studios & Gallery is located at 409 N Lee St., Salisbury, NC. Gallery hours are 11 a.m. - 4 p.m, Thursday - Saturday, and by appointment. Go to railwalkgallery.com for more information.l