The Pacific Ocean is so large, it is bigger than all the land masses on the planet combined. Thirty percent of Earth is covered by the Pacific Ocean.
I grew up very near it in Northern California. For me, the Pacific is an ocean’s ocean. It is what oceans “should” be, because that was my first exposure. I am certain that someone who grew up next to the Indian Ocean would feel the same way about their ocean. It’s my deep, dark blue neighbor. Actually, I always have thought of it more as a family member than a neighbor because it was always there for me. Always fun. Always interesting. Special occasions were often celebrated with the Pacific Ocean.
It was the first body of water I ever considered drawing. I distinctly remember a time when I was sitting on the beach with my mom and dad when I was about 12 years old, staring at the Pacific. The water was moving, crashing, and creating incomprehensible shapes around the rocks. I remember thinking, “How will I ever draw that?”
Santa Monica [right] is about the peaceful quality of the Pacific Ocean. It was named “Mar Pacifico” by the explorer Ferdinand Magellan which means, “the peaceful sea.” Santa Monica, Oil on linen, 44x28 inches, 2010.
In a formal sense, San Pedro is about the block of shapes at the top of the canvas juxtaposed with the more organic shapes in red, lending themselves to the fine, delicate lines in the most intimate part of the canvas, the bottom center. Conceptually, it is about the exchange of goods, people, and ideas that have been coming in and out of the Port of Los Angeles for centuries, thus the “script” in red. Twenty percent of all cargo that comes into the United States comes through this port.
Channel Islands Harbor V
I like to explore the relationship between realism and abstraction. Channel Islands Harbor V is a good example of my more “realistic” style. There is no narrative here. The painting is about the blues and golds, cut by the stripe of turquoise one third of the way down from the top.
Part of a Complete Breakfast
Using ubiquitous pieces of plastic like bottle caps and straws found on the roadside, along the beach, or in my own house, I created Part of a Complete Breakfast to make a statement about the ever-present nature of plastic. In the ocean, some of the plastic sinks, and some of it gets broken down by the sun and waves, but never completely disappears and thus gets eaten by fish, turtles, and mammals. It threatens the marine life, the ocean’s ecosystem and, ultimately, us.
Channel Islands Harbor
Channel Islands Harbor is all about the turquoise color at the top. There is a sweetness to the boat and the cool sunlight. It feels mid-century California to me.
Holiday on the Marina III
Holiday on the Marina III is about the pleasure the Pacific Ocean has always given me. I’ve taken the lights reflected from a boat in Oxnard and made them dance the way I feel when I’m on the water.
Santa Monica Pier
Probably my most “realistic” water painting is Santa Monica Pier. I have always been interested in the shapes made by voids in sea foam around piers and other structures. I like to look at them.
In Puget Sound I’m working on the formal landscape, specifically the three stripes of sky, land and sea, as well as the color of light found in north Seattle, Washington. I used a rough texture to evoke the natural rawness of the beach in this part of the world.
Credits, clockwise from top: Channel Islands Harbor III, oil on paper painting by Danielle Eubank; All photos of paintings by Danielle Eubank. Map © d-maps.com