Sketches towards an ecological nightmare

Gyre 2 blog Gyre 1 blog

Gyre 1 and 2 (both 22.5cms x 30.5cms, mixed media, 2015)

I’m all for saving the whale, rainforests, and anything else that contributes to our environmental diversity. The thing that really bothers me, though, on a daily basis, is plastic.

Strangely enough, twenty years ago we all managed to walk around without bottles of water and very few people in the West suddenly keeled over suffering from dehydration. Similarly, no-one felt it was necessary to offer you a plastic bag if you bought a magazine or two chocolate bars, as happened to me recently. I was even offered a plastic bag when I’d already put my existing bag on the counter in order to pay. Much of this ends up in the oceans and in the bellies of seabirds, mammals and fish.

Some time ago I copied the following onto a blank page in my sketchbook without, unfortunately, noting where it came from:

It will be difficult to explain to future generations how and why we decided to use the planet’s oceans as a dustbin for plastic, a material known for its durability. Perhaps we thought that it magically evaporated. Trillions of pieces swirling around the planet’s great oceanic gyres. Scientists are drawn to the gyres, especially the so-called Eastern Garbage Patch in the North Pacific, the largest of the five major examples. Indeed the trend threatens to displace the destruction of the Amazon as the ecological cause célèbre. Isn’t that great? Just so we can forget to pack shopping bags and jog with bottles of Evian water. Thanks, Humanity.

I have an idea for a large painting representing a section of one of the Pacific gyres. Just a tear of blue and green water in a swirling riot of white foam and small squares of plastic. Probably in acrylic with smudges of charcoal and pastel, perhaps with collaged elements. At the moment I have problems transferring this image onto paper from the picture I see in my head, but in the meantime here are some sketches towards an ecological nightmare.

I’m going to try, just for one week, not to acquire any plastic. It’ll certainly be difficult – let’s hope not impossible.

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29 thoughts on “Sketches towards an ecological nightmare

  1. This is one of my great concerns about our environment as well. I try to avoid/reduce buying anything using plastic, but it is extremely difficult. The shopping bags and reusable water bottles are such an easy place to start, but it seems to be ubiquitous. I bought an external hard drive to back up my very old laptop and inside the cardboard box was a surprising amount of plastic packaging! I get milk in bottles, when possible, but the list goes on. I’m so glad you are joining me in this little ecological protest! I think I’m going to do a post/some art on it as well.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Yes, I live in NYC, and I always carry reusable bags with me. Even so, there seems to be plastic everywhere…very hard to escape it. Although lots of smaller stores will ask if you need a bag before giving you one, they at least seem to have an awareness of trying to use less. (K)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Maybe I will join this new movement you have started ;). It would be interesting to have all the paintings inspired by this in an artshow somewhere. When I do mine I will re-link it to this post, since you gave me the inspiration to do so.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: The art of the dealer | A Certain Line

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