Here is a great project I am blessed to be part of and contibute to: Amanda Joy Sisk is artist in residence for Padre Island National Seashore. Padre Island, off Corpus Christi Texas, is the longest barrier island on earth, being 113 miles long but only about 1 mile wide.
At the end of last year Amanda spent a number of months living on the island, observing its rhythms and patterns and creatures. I was able to spend one month there as her assistant.
Being a barrier island in the gulf of Mexico, many pieces of trash wash up on the shore, especially during storms. Plastic bottle caps dot the sand and settle into the vines that weave through and support the island structure. These pieces of trash will be transformed into containers for hundreds of frescoes and cast impressions depicting the life of the island.
Having learned and executed some works in fresco, I was employed to share my experience of this technique. Fresco is one of the most ancient painting techniques, in which sand is mixed with pit lime to make a plaster. Pigments made from natural earth colors are applied to the wet plaster, or mixed with egg yolk and applied to the dried plaster. For these island frescoes we are using the sand from the shore of Padre Island.
We are in the process of filling and painting the washed-ashore plastic bottle caps with paintings of plant life, turtles, deer and other creatures of the island with this ancient art of fresco.
Storms and currents also bring to the shore beautiful shells and ‘sea-beans’. Sea beans are seeds carried from other lands, sometimes thousands of miles. Sea beans, such as the magical ‘sea heart’ will be featured in the final piece.
Besides sharing my experience of fresco, I have contributed to this project by designing the motif based on a flowering plant of the island called a Firewheel.
While staying on the island, hundreds of sea turtles, which are included in the fresco motifs, suffered cold shock and were cared for and then returned to the ocean.
In November I will return with Amanda to Padre Island National Seashore to help complete and install the finished multi-media art project.
Individual frescoes, made in bottle caps, can be purchased, as collectible works, gifts, and to assist in funding this project.
Please visit the website of Atelier Sisk for more images, information, or to purchase frescoes.
*This artwork was produced under the Artist-in-Residence Program at Padre Island National Seashore.*