I haven’t painted in oils in twenty years, I gave it up when I had my first child as I felt the fumes might not be good for a developing fetus. But for this new series I wanted to purposely paint this piece in oils for these reasons; The series is about our use of oil—not oil paint, and existentially the use of oil paint as an artist facing a climate crises parallels that of our collective crises of climate change. And I can paint over an old canvas I wasn’t happy with—thus reusing and upcycling.
First of all I want to say how unbearably depressing the whole climate issue is but it’s the challenge of our time and we have to face it, just as all our ancestors faced their greatest challenges and overcame them. In some ways it’s really a crises of the way we think about our world, how we want to live in the world. In my journey to hearing again through the cochlear implants this is the first thing I heard, the loudest, clearest and most compelling challenge.
The best audio books I’ve listened to so far are Naomi Klein’s “The Changes Everything, Capitalism vs. the Climate” and George Marshall’s “Don’t Even Think About It Why Our Brains Are Wired to Ignore Climate Change”. I listened to them both twice. All I deep down know for sure is we can’t keep having these huge storms and droughts and if it’s a choice between that and my car, my lights and a lot of stuff, there’s really no choice.
I’m working on my own personal change. We got a big community garden plot for the family. I’m eating mostly vegan meals. I’m working on carpooling. A big Redwood tree overshadows our house thus making solar not a great option so I’m researching this. They have some great little electric cars coming out, that’s on my wish list. I’m going to sign my daughter and I up for sewing classes as there’s a great little place that upcycles clothes and has classes (the sweat shops are horrible and all the transport issues).
The zeros and ones in the painting are binary computer code, hope, hopeless, hopeful.
I hope it starts raining here in California soon.