Sunday, April 1, 2012

Greater Everglades Conservation Atlas

"In the Mangroves," watercolor on paper. (Click to view larger)
The painting
You may recall a post I made last January about a project I was thrilled to be a part of, the Greater Everglades Conservation Atlas.  Well, my part is now complete!  The watercolor painting I created (above) was inspired by the poetry of the mangrove trees' intertwining roots at Rookery bay National Estuarine Research Reserve. 
Red mangrove seedling (click to view larger)

The trees
I love these trees for many reasons.  From an artistic standpoint, their roots create fascinating positive and negative shapes.  Red mangroves have trunks colored in lovely burnt sienna to a rich burnt umber.  The leaf patterns of mangroves are also beautiful to me, especially the star-shaped whorls of the red mangrove. 

Through the science lens, they are subtropical oddities.  Black mangroves have dark root fingers that poke out of the soil in a bizarre quest for more oxygen.  Red mangroves put out prop roots in arches that weave an almost impenetrable barrier.  Mangroves are also viviparous; they create live young rather than dormant seeds.  Common sights in Southwest Florida are the cigar-shaped propagules of the red mangrove bobbing along in the Gulf or a backwater bay, looking for a foothold in an oyster bed or a mudflat. 

The project
Ten artists throughout the state of Florida were chosen to create artwork for the Atlas, which was conceived by Carlton Ward, founder of the Legacy Institute for Nature & Culture (LINC), and generously funded by the Royal Bank of Canada’s (RBC) Blue Water Project.  The project partners with National Geographic’s “GeoStories,” which features an online interactive map of the world. 

The Everglades Atlas will feature ten works of original, place-based art, created in various locations throughout Florida, that reflect each artist’s unique viewpoint and connection to a location in nature within the Everglades watershed.  For the project, I painted an original watercolor titled “In the Mangroves,” to illustrate my connection to these trees and to the estuary system at Rookery Bay.  

The Greater Everglades Atlas interactive map can be accessed online at LINC’s web page here:  Please take a look at the artworks and artists involved, and click around on the map to get an idea of the wonders found in the Greater Everglades!    

Detail of "In the Mangroves"
Quick links:
My artist profile at LINC 

Stand-alone YouTube video of my interview, created by Joe Davenport of Manship Films

LINC ~ Greater Everglades Atlas Project

RBC Blue Water Project

National Geographic's GeoStories home page