Where the Land and Water Meet

losing himself

Losing Himself -- 2011

The land and sea meet gently along Siesta Key on Florida’s Gulf coast. A wide expanse of white sand tapers gradually toward the water, and the water subtly deepens as one walks away from shore. And sometimes, land and sea intermix when heavy rain, or waves during a falling tide, leave channels in the sand where shallow pools linger until filled in by the tide once again.

These are two portraits of that shifting spot between land and sea, the first in the white heat of a summer afternoon, and the second in the quiet coolness of an early morning with the slanting sunlight illuminating a lone bird and the city in the distance.

feeding in the shallows

Feeding in the Shallows -- 2011


beauty where you find it

Cluster of Snails - 2011

A circle of tightly clustered snails near the water’s surface seems to overlap the circle of rock polished by the action of the sea. Below, an arc highlights a cluster of red globules on the beach next to the round seagrape leaf. While the circle is not always an easy design element to work with, it has always been a powerful symbol and metaphor. These images allude to that power.

beauty where you find it

Arc - 2011

Pointers in Red and Green

Pointing to the Red

Pointing to the Red - 2010

If there were such a thing as compass points within the picture frame, both of these images would be pointing off to the north-northeast. But they seem to be pointing to something else, too.

green coconut

Immature Coconut - 2010

A Blood-Red Sea

blood red sea

A Blood-Red Sea

Living so close to and surrounded by the sea, one develops a relationship with it — probably not unlike the relationship desert dwellers have with the desert, or forest dwellers with the forest.

This awareness of place can help us be more attuned to messages from the world around us, and sometimes even feel its joys and pains.

Shoreline moods

the calm

The Calm - 2009

“The Calm” looks west in the protected lee of a point during the calm following a squall. The sun had just broken through, illuminating a single cloud and the shallow water at my feet.

“Ocean Energy” looks east into a brisk prevailing wind on a sunny afternoon, with only the rocky outcrop to protect the shallow pool from the brunt of the ocean waves.

Even when the shoreline palette is so similar as in these two images, the ocean’s moods can be very different.

ocean energy

Ocean Energy - 2010




The two old Danish forts on St. Croix — one in Christiansted and the other in Frederiksted — were defended by cannons aimed seaward. The irony is that the real threat to the planter’s culture of that era came from the land in the form of the changing economics of the sugar trade, the end of slavery, and rebellions by workers against the oppressive conditions they endured.

I’m not sure if the cannons were ever fired, but many of them have now found their way to emplacements around the island where they are mounted barrel down on street corners and elsewhere to act as guardrails or barriers. This one, however, was placed into the rock at the ocean’s edge where the salt water and air is taking its toll on the old iron. It’s purpose is a mystery.

Just a few feet away from this relic of the past is a much larger relic of the future, the new clock tower built in the renovated plaza that greets cruise ship passengers as they disembark. On the rocks below the plaza were a pair of jeans and shirt with no owner visible in the water or elsewhere nearby. Perhaps he simply melted away, or even scampered away nude.

Where'd he go?

Where'd he go?

Carbon Seam and Palm Lights

Carbon Seam - 2009

Carbon Seam - 2009

The dead trunk of a palm plant washed up on the shore. At one end was the tangle of roots joined to the base of the trunk. At the other, the spiraled remains of where the living palm fronds had been attached subtly tailed off into fibrous strands. These two semi-abstracts are interpretations of each end of this single object that had washed ashore.

Palm Lights  - 2009

Palm Lights - 2009


Contact -- 2009

Contact -- 2009

Two large rocks along the shore just barely touched, bridged by a few small stones and had a thin channel of seawater running between them. The shadows and colors reminded me of a bruise radiating out from where the rocks made contact.

For contact of a different sort, I had an opening reception for a show of my work last Saturday night at a small gallery in Christiansted . Even though this is the off-season here on St. Croix, we had nearly 100 guests and over 20 sales. I was thrilled with such a positive response. I guess I’ll keep working!

Upheaval at the shore

Upheaval at the shore - 2009

Upheaval at the shore - 2009

While walking along the beach, the blue waves of the Caribbean Sea were in sharp contrast to the sunlit golden sand, coral stone and little black sea urchins at my feet. Suddenly, the warm tones of the sand and stone just under the water’s edge burst out, threatening to tear the very fabric of the sea… I wonder if that happens every day.

The Baths at Wills Bay

The Baths at Wills Bay - 2009

The Baths at Wills Bay - 2009

The “baths” at remote Wills Bay on the northwest shore of St. Croix is essentially a large tidepool set among sharp jagged rocks. The water is clear and green and is refreshed periodically when a large ocean swell crashes into the rock barrier and splashes over into the pool. It’s a bit of a struggle to get there (unless you hire a jeep and guide), but is one of the magical spots on the island.

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