Appreciated being a part of the KPARK/Current:LA events happening in San Pedro's Point Fermin Park. Point Fermin is a former military installation and home to a disused Nike missle facility near 'the Sunken City,' and Terminal Island.
My proposed project for the event was entitled 'Plein Air Sans Eau.' I wanted to paint the landscape without water, so, during the weeks leading up to the event, I had to consider what was meant by painting the surroundings without water. At first it was a literal interpretation, painting the ocean as if it weren't there, brown and beige landscapes of the ocean floor. Then I learned the Earth is a closed system and the ocean water evaporating would hang like thick mist in the air. In my studio I made 12 sketches of a world full of fog in order to get some bearings on what that would be like. These sketches didn't seem too aesthetically appealing while at the same time they left no room for flora. Finally, I came to the conclusion that the 'sans eau' (without water) aspect of the plein air would not be from not using water to paint, or, by painting a landscape without water, rather, it meant painting a landscape without irrigation, without human-made landscaping and horticulture.
I decided to take in the surrounding geography and document several points of view of Point Fermin. While inserting native plants among empty swathes of landscape, I filled in weather patterns, seasonal light along with the specific flora.
A note on Flora:
Adding in choice flora rather than in situ flora created a fiction complicated by the irony of choice flora being native species. I learned from those I spoke to that the city and surrounding neighborhoods are introducing native plants to garden landscapes as a means to abate water use during the drought. They are finding that native flora thrive as well as attract native fauna—most notably native pollinators.
The resulting images come from painting Saturday(Jul232016) from 11am to 6pm and Sunday(Jul242016) from 11am to 3pm. The paintings are featured at the level of completeness achieved in the time present at the location. During my time there, I was able to discuss water issues, landscaping techniques, drought resistant plants, and I was able to stare at the landscape/paper. I set out painting 5 simultaneous paintings on Saturday then added two more on Sunday with a simple sketch towards the end. I took my attention from one painting to the next while waiting for one to dry. I chose watercolor and ink as my medium because of their use as traditional Plein air media. I noted a conflict between the urges to stick to the proposed concept and urges to initiate 'investigations of gesture' from the 'Worlds' series. You can see in the piece I gave away to young Oseino, that there were 'Worlds' series elements in the painting. I appreciate the fact Oseino chose that piece as his favorite. Shortly thereafter, he was seen with it grasped in his two hands as he skateboarded through the park.
I deem the endeavor a success because I did have a dialogue with those present about current water issues while conducting plein air paintings of the surrounding geography in a way that took water out of the equation—that water being that introduced by unnatural or resource depleting means. Through my work I found that a landscape left to its own devices with native, 'naturally watered' flora allows for a reduction of resource depletion and utility usage. Large scale decrease in unnatural landscaping is key to maintaining resources at all times, especially during those of drought.