The first part of this series is seventeen paintings in cel vinyl started in 2012 using a smaller format. The second part of this series is in a slightly different format consisting of one hundred and one paintings.
This series of paintings started as an exploration of the coastal environment and how urbanization and industrialization had contributed to the environmental degradation but as I slowly painted my way up and down the coast things changed. I discovered aspects that I had no idea about . It was eye-opening and terrifying at the same time. It was hard to not become pessimistic. The realization that no matter what we do the ocean will always have the last word. It hammers away daily at the entire coastline. Water is power at the most primal level. It will change our coastline regardless of our human desires. The natural world is the great equalizer. We have accelerated the process by hubris and greed.
Our culture of development at any price has turned much our our west coast into a de-naturalized coastal zone. I grew up by the ocean and have observed the changes with chagrin. In spite of it all the ocean still inspires wonder and people are drawn to its power and beauty. We forget that the coast is at the edge of the wilderness and the edge of our land. It is a place of dreams and danger. In some form it will outlive humanity.
I use intense color in my paintings to enhance the unease I feel about the future of the coast and our collective future as inhabitants. The power plants, telephone lines and other manifestations of our modern world are a fact of life but one cannot help but think things could have been done differently. Perhaps not turning the ocean into a garbage dump would have been a good idea.
Barbara A. Thomason
“One Hundred Not So Famous Views of LA”
This series began in late 2007 and was completed in early 2011. There are actually 107 paintings.
The mid-nineteenth century Japanese Ukiyo-e artist Hiroshige’s “One Hundred Famous Views of Edo” inspired this body of work. The compositions I chose incorporated the vertical oban format roughly 15” x 10” and the technique of bokashi or color gradations that are hallmarks of Ukiyo-e woodcuts.
I executed these works in cel vinyl. This paint resembles woodblock ink in texture and tone. The paintings are not of well-known views of Los Angeles but are more intimate and quirky. The pieces are informed by the color, compositions and tonal changes of Hiroshige’s works. My objective was to pay homage to both Los Angeles and Hiroshige’s wonderful prints.
Barbara A. Thomason
A book of my painting series with text, * “100 Not So Famous Views of L. A.” was published by Prospect Park Books on September 9, 2014. It is available at Amazon.com and bookstores.
The works are based upon a cabinet that I have in my house. It is an old library bookcase with four glass-fronted shelves.
Each of these shelves contains objects, scraps of paper, toys, junk, photos and mementos. Some of these are worthy of saving and some are not but I have been gathering them since I was a child. The shelves are arranged by theme: Cowboys and Indians (my heritage), the girls (my gender), war and religion (evil) and red and green (these fit nowhere else and are generally friendly). The objects on the shelves are deliberately arranged. I think of this case as my diary and I know where each object came from and its context.
I decided to use this cabinet and its contents in a series of drawings and paintings that I began in 2005. It was an interesting endeavor , it caused me to reexamine my life in a very intensive way: sometimes fondly other times painfully. These works may appear to be just a still life but my motives are much more personal.
Painting these was a complicated process because I was unable to paint them where they are. I make sketches to choose the composition then I took each object upstairs to my studio to paint or draw it.