My mixed media drawing on paper Hermit Crab Horse will be on display at the Waterman & Katz building in downtown Port Townsend until the end of October. It's the largest framed piece (48" X 36") from my series Poseidon's Horses. I've made this work available for sale as part of a Benefit for the re-location of the arts center to its new location in the heart of Port Townsend.
Hermit Crab Horse is part of a series of drawings, Poseidon's Horses, that I began to create during the summer of 2004. The central theme of this body of work is the natural world and mythology.
Nature has fascinated me since I was a child and when I was a teenager I enjoyed spending a lot of time hiking in the mountains or snorkeling in the sea. I was an amateur naturalist who used to collect plants,shells and rocks. In particular, water is an element that truly brings me inclose contact with nature alike any other. It evokes my most exciting and serene childhood memories of summer holidays spent along the shores of the Mediterranean Sea or the banks of mountain creeks.
In order to create the Poseidon's Horses series I spent entire days on the beaches of Whidbey Island beachcombing and observing the passage of time with its changes of light and wildlife moods. I took notes and sketched what attracted my attention around me: a shell, a marine animal washed out on the beach or the relationship between the sea and sky. This contact with nature fulfilled my longing for peace and harmony.
In this way I gradually established a 'meditative' relationship with my surroundings with reverie and wonder, as if I were a 19th century Romantic landscape artist. Then I prepared the paper by laying a light watercolor wash, rubbing it with sand or seaweed and sprinkling it with the salty water of the ocean. The sheet of paper became my personal empty ocean that I gradually filled with marks, shapes and lines using oil and soft pastels, charcoal, clear oil bar and pencil. A semiabstract seascape emerged.Here I created a fragmented world in which disparate elements were linked by my graphic language. In them I expressed my personal interaction with nature with the intention to suggest an ‘open-ended’ narrative.
My interest in the horse is deeply rooted in my difficult childhood. The death of my youngest brother at the age of seven marked the beginning of a compulsive horse drawing obsession that lasted for ten years. The image of the horse became a soothing and healing element that helped me, in part, to deal with this painful loss.
Although I do sketch horses from life, looking closely to their anatomy, my representation of them in these drawings is not strictly 'anatomical' but suggestive and at times elusive. In this body of work I associated the forms of the horse with both negative and positive aspects of the psychological struggle I have been engaged with for so many years. I translated these forms into shapes, which express a search for beauty in simplicity and clarity. I juxtaposed colors that strive to create both tension and serenity. Ultimately these shapes and their relationships with the other pictorial elements of each drawing turn the horse into a symbol o psychological freedom, personal renewal and growth.
My Italian cultural background has its foundations on Ancient Greek and Roman culture. Poseidon was the Greek god of the sea. The ancient Romans called him Nettuno. He was also the god of horses. Horses were associated with water and the moon because the shape of their hooves' prints resembles the moon crescent.
In these drawings I convey my interest in mythological narrative where the boundaries of the physical and human worlds are not restricted by the conventions of scale,proportions and perspective.
More info about this work : http://www.rawbubbles.blogspot.com/2013/12/hermit-crab-horse-nativity_23.html
"The BENEFIT ART SALE & RAFFLE in the Waterman & Katz Building will definitely be THE PLACE TO BE SATURDAY NIGHT AT 7:30 pm. See art hanging throughout the first floor of Waterman & Katz for the first time--and buy some to help Northwind move to this wonderful space. Admission is $25, which includes one raffle ticket (up to 200 raffle tickets available), beverages, and desserts. Festive attire optional. The donating artists are too numerous to mention here. They and their work are wonderful. See you there!!!"
© E. Betty Bastai/Northwind Arts Center