Mural installation created for Gumbo Limbo Nature Center, Boca Raton, Florida
exterior latex paint on wood, concrete, ceramic, plastic and metal ::: 9′ x 40′
The inspiration for “Neptune” was born from a variety of areas: the first, of course, being the extreme beauty of the subject. Snorkeling in coral reefs around the world, I have always been enamored with the euphoric, vibrant colors and organic shapes that exist underwater. Since discovering the truest colors are found in nature, I lean toward organic colors in all my work. This respect for nature made painting “Neptune” a natural fit.
As a part of my research, along with my many photos, I had the pleasure of learning about the educational ambassador, Neptune, whose name became the title of the work and whose (God of the Sea) mythological symbol can be found in the far left column of the painting. The “wash-back” sea turtles I observed at the nature center, along with the many extraordinary fish seen in the tanks, are a central theme of the mural and led to another inspiration for the work: the preservation of our environment.
I, like all of us, have a great regard for nature and I am grateful to be able to swim with endangered sea turtles and other creatures. I am thankful to have been given the opportunity to paint a mural that brings added attention to our increasingly fragile ecosystem. With this in mind, I chose only eco-friendly, custom-mixed pigmented paints and glazes by Benjamin Moore to create the scene.
About the process:
The challenge was to transform a space made of concrete and wood surfaces into a fun, educational environment that gives the illusion of sea life. A scaled drawing with the basic elements of the mural acted as a blueprint, although some design changes had to made on location, applying the paint with brushes, sea sponges and towels to effectively obscure the not-so-beautiful reality of pipes, hinges and wires. Using simple shapes and vibrant colors, Neptune came to life, highlighted by fun features like the big fish who swims at eye level, especially placed for children to enjoy.
While visitors of all ages are learning about the beauty and ecology of our oceans, I am extremely excited that they are also experiencing artwork in a new way, outside the traditional gallery setting; art as a universal language found everywhere.
I am inspired daily by the water, working from my studio in Boca Raton.