I created this painting for the show "California Current," sponsored by Gallery Route One, in summer 2005.  As I began thinking about the subject, I was at first struck by the immensity, and the dark mystery, of the ocean, and decided to make my piece both large and mysterious.  Then, as I read more about the ocean, and especially the California current, I became fascinated with the process of upwelling.

The great diversity of marine life along the Pacific coast of North America is due in large part to the process of upwelling.  During the spring and early summer, the combination of the prevailing winds, the direction of the ocean currents, and the rotation of the earth drives the surface water away from the coast.  This surface water is replaced by the upwelling of cold water from the ocean depths, carrying up the nutrient-rich detritus, the decomposing organic matter from plant and animal life, which has sunk to the ocean floor.  These nutrients, in combination with sunlight, are used by the phytoplankton, which in turn provide food for tiny zooplankton and other herbivores, which then feed larger marine animals, and so on up the food chain. 

The process of upwelling can at times also be a metaphor for the creative process.  When there is movement at the surface levels of consciousness, the detritus of one’s life can rise up and provide the nutrients that feed the process of artistic creation.



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