SINUOUS (OCTOPUS COMMISSION) ACRYLICS ON CEDAR W/RED OAK FRAME SPRING 2022
Many of us can easily conclude that the octopus is an extremely intelligent marine creature, and they are definitely the most intelligent of invertebrate species. Complex eyes, large brains, and probing tentacles allow them to solve problems in ways surprisingly like humans, although not on as high a level. Having an up-close experience with an octopus can be a memorable lifetime experience. Commissioned by friend Steve, this painting reflects his strong attachment, both emotionally and spiritually to octopi. In Steve’s own words: “I became mesmerized by them when, starting in my 20s, I took up scuba diving and met them regularly on night dives. They seemed so shockingly sentient--often reaching out to touch my fingers and sometimes my face with the tips of their tentacles. Just to sense me more deeply. Gently. Tentatively. They seemed ever aware of human presence, but they also went about their business hunting for food, changing colors to match their environments or flushing strange colors in rapid waves. I also observed them changing the contours of their skin. All suggestive of profound behavioral adaptations to thrive in their environments…I can't shake how much more connected I felt when I was in the presence of an octopus. Connected, maybe, to the larger universe and all of its diversity and beauty and wonder and, even, hope.” The design for the octopus was strongly influenced by the Northwest Coast Native art tradition. I made the frame out of red oak using pegged, hand-joined, mortise-and-tenon construction methods. I used a blue water-based stain on the oak to finish the frame.