Each quarter we feature an artist in our Pinellas office on the Local Art Wall. Below is some information on our First Quarter 2021 artist – Diane V. Radel. A very special thank you to The Morean Arts Center for managing the selection and installation.
MY TURTLE TRACKS ART SERIES
It took a primordial experience on Melbourne Beach in 2017 to deepen my sense of interconnectedness with the universe. I had an epiphany while witnessing a mama sea turtle return to her birthplace to nest. So began my connection with these creatures and their incredible, primordial journey. It’s a story I’ve expressed through a series of acrylic abstracts titled Turtle Tracks Art.
I often visit my daughter and her family on the Atlantic Coast of Florida. We take midnight strolls along the sands of Melbourne Beach, which are marked by sea turtle nests. In 2017, more than 25,000 nests lay within the 20-mile stretch between Melbourne Beach and the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge. The night of my transcendence began quietly, blanked by inky darkness. Slowly, a mama loggerhead turtle began her ascent from the water. We stood motionless—three generations—as she propelled her flippers forward. Lumbering, then stopping to rest every few feet, the mama answered the call to lay her eggs exactly where she was born. Just as generations of sea turtles have done for more than one hundred million years. In those moments I felt the most profound connection to this mama turtle and every living thing throughout time. The miracle of creating life, and the energy that cascades from nature, has left me deeply and profoundly moved.
The next morning, we found the perfect, sandy swirls of her journey. I was overwhelmed by the need to document she was there. The tracks would be gone in a few hours, buffeted by wind, water and man. I photographed the unique patterns and decided I would learn to paint to capture the fragility of life and its resilient interconnectedness.
Art and music seem to strike a chord with many people, connecting the viewer to something bigger than themselves. I decided that painting these tracks on canvas would be a lasting tribute to this mama. By following and filling in the flipper patterns with abstract colors and textures-and noting the day and time of each track-I want to capture the sea turtle’s struggle to survive to adulthood and perpetuate her ancient species.
FERNWEH is an original acrylic painting on 60x48x1.5″ premium gallery wrapped canvas, and it is number 41 in my Turtle Tracks Art series.
FERNWEH giclée is printed with archival ink on cotton museum-grade, neutral PH, acid-free paper. The 8×10″ giclée is matted to 11×14″, and the 11×14″ giclée is matted to 16×20″ to fit standard size frames.
FERNWEH, a German word meaning a longing for a distant place, was inspired by the Green sea turtle tracks pictured in the second photo found on Melbourne Beach, Florida, USA on 7/28/19 at 6:52 a.m. I chose to only paint layers of acrylic paint directly on the canvas without adding molding compound in this painting, to make it less about terrain. The winding path depicted here draws the eye inward and upward to a place each viewer is free to imagine. What place are you longing to visit when we are free to travel? Is it a location you long to return to, or a city you have never visited? Is it even a physical place or a “place in your life” you hope to arrive at someday?
American novelist and playwright Cormac McCarthy once wrote, “Between the wish and the thing, the world lies waiting.”
NASCENCE is an original acrylic painting on 48x60x1.5″ premium gallery wrapped canvas, and it is number 37 in my Turtle Tracks Art series.
NASCENCE giclée is printed with archival ink on cotton museum-grade, neutral PH, acid-free paper. The 10×8″ giclée is matted to 14×11″, and the 14×11″ giclée is matted to 20×16″ to fit standard size frames.
In the book BRAIDING SWEETGRASS, brilliantly written and narrated by Native American Robin Wall Kimmerer, she recounts the story of Sky Woman who fell through a hole in the clouds into the dark waters below. As she fell, she saw many eyes gazing up at her, and was rescued by geese who rose together to break her fall. Knowing the geese would not be able to hold her for long, a great turtle who was floating in the mist, offered her his back to rest upon. A tiny muskrat gave his life to bring up a handful of mud from the ocean floor, which was spread upon the turtle’s back. Sky Woman sang and danced her thanks. The mud spread under her feet, and “the earth was formed by the alchemy of all the animals’ gifts, coupled with her deep gratitude.”
If NASCENCE, which means being born or coming into existence for the first time, would touch even one person who viewed it as much as this beautiful story has touched me, it has done its job. The Loggerhead sea turtle tracks in the second photo, found on Melbourne Beach, Florida, USA on 8/9/18 at 6:25 a.m., were the inspiration for this painting.
SOLIVAGANT is an original acrylic painting on 60x48x1.5″ premium gallery wrapped canvas, and it is number 34 in my Turtle Tracks Art series. It was inspired by these sea turtle tracks found in the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge on 8/8/17 at 8:14 a.m.
SOLIVAGANT giclée is printed with archival ink on cotton museum-grade, neutral PH, acid-free paper. The 10×8″ giclée is matted to 14×11″, and the 14×11″ giclée is matted to 20×16″ to fit standard size frames.
The title of this work, SOLIVAGANT, means to wander alone. I am reminded of the Scottish American John Muir, who was instrumental in establishing Yosemite, Grand Canyon and Sequoia National Parks. His made his first solo hike to Yosemite’s Cathedral Peak at age 30. Describing the epiphany he had that day, he writes: When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe. One fancies a heart like our own must be beating in every crystal and cell, and we feel like stopping to speak to the plants and animals as friendly fellow mountaineers. Nature as a poet, an enthusiastic workingman, becomes more and more visible the farther and higher we go; for the mountains are fountains-beginning places, however related to sources beyond mortal ken.