Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Treasures of Mobile Bay and Delta Area

I can't believe it is already 2011! The new year is already presenting a flurry of activity in the arts community. Yesterday the Watercolor & Graphic Arts Society of Mobile took in artwork for our Mobile Bay and Delta area show, which will hang downtown at the Mobile Arts Council during the month of January. This is kind of a different type of exhibit for the WGAS organization, since there will be no jurying or judging of artwork, although the works will be offered for sale. This is an opportunity for our artists to share their love for the places and creatures that surround us in the Mobile Bay and Delta area, and spotlight why it is so important to conserve and protect these resources. Mobile is a watery wonderland of sorts, with lakes, rivers, bays, coastal beaches, marshes, swamps and maritime forests in abundance. All of this beauty and diversity was threatened this past spring by the horrendous BP Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Efforts are continuing to try to clean up from the spill and to study what we can do to try to recover and protect our coastal and watery habitats from this threat and future threats. This exhibit is a way for artists to remind our community of why it is so important to protect our coastal resources: habitats, wildlife and birds, and also the people whose livelihoods and ways of life are dependent on a clean and healthy aquatic system.

The exhibit will hang through January 28th, and the reception will be Friday, January 14th, 6 - 9 PM during the LoDa Art Walk. Here is a photo of my watercolor entry: "Bayou Resilience - Bayou LaBatre, Summer 2010". This painting is based on photos I took with my friend Kathy Friedline in June, when our plein air group (Plein Air South) visited the bayou to capture the shrimp boats. Kathy and I spoke to these 3 brothers on their fishing boat as they came in from searching the Gulf and Mississippi Sound for floating mats of oil (note the piles of absorbent boom material on the deck of the boat), as part of the Vessels of Opportunity program. Bayou LaBatre is the center of the local seafood economy. These brothers came from a family of 11 children, all of which along with their parents were employed in the seafood industry and greatly affected by the spill. Our hearts go out to those who were impacted by the spill and the economic tailspin it caused, especially in the seafood economy. We are impressed with the resilience they possess and have demonstrated, and wish them godspeed to get back on their feet again.

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