01 June 2010

Spirit of the Gulf Challenge

Laughing Gull
Suzanne McDermott
Watercolor, gouache and pencil, 9 x 12 inches
31 May 2010

What is happening in the Gulf of Mexico is unprecedented. Unthinkable. Unbearable.

As the oil continues to flow into the jewel-like water that laps upon some of the most glorious beaches on earth, that is home, food and birthplace to an array of magnificent fellow creatures, we move through the stages of grief. Denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance.

Meanwhile, the Gulf of Mexico, and every living thing that depends upon it is dying or threatened. My new subject matter has found me and I am now dedicating my work (for the most part) to life in the Gulf of Mexico. That's how I'm dealing with it.

In a post last week, I suggested spending a minute a day quietly sending thoughts of love to the Gulf of Mexico, envisioning pristine water and health for all her creatures — the dolphins, manatees, sea turtles, rays, fish, sea birds, migratory birds (including many song birds), and the marvelous beings down under the water. The humans who interact with the water, too. Thoughts and Love have power.

Now I am taking this suggestion one step further. I challenge every artist who receives this invitation to make one drawing, painting, collage — or to use whatever medium you work in — to create a piece of beauty with love and gratitude to honor some scene or living being in the Gulf. This is a consciousness raising opportunity.

  • Find a photo or other resource depicting some living aspect of the Gulf of Mexico before the oil disaster or
  • Tap into your spirit and use your imagination
  • Make a drawing, painting or other piece of creative work with love and gratitude for the beautiful life of whatever you're depicting.
  • Post what you make on your website, include a link to this post: Spirit of the Gulf Challenge (or the facebook group — (http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=127832103901693) and put the icon below in your sidebar with a link to this post (or the facebook group). Send me a link to your post and I'll add the link to bottom of this post.
  • Invite 5 of your friends or favorite artists to accept this challenge, include a link to this post, the facebook page, copy this description of the challenge and the icon below for their sidebar.

We can't alleviate the physical symptoms, but following the philosophy of hospice care, let's use our creative energy to do spiritual relief work for all sentient life in the Gulf of Mexico. It couldn't hurt.

My guess is that this challenge may help many of us transform our emotions in response to the oil disaster. My personal bond to the Gulf of Mexico is very strong. But believe me, wherever you live on earth, this situation will affect you in some way. Eventually. It's a small planet and it's all one sea.

Barbara Weeks, Elaine Magliacane, Dan Kent, Cathy Gatland, Diahn Ott, Sue Pownall, Mark Finucane, Rhonda Carpenter, Mineke Reinders, Mimi Torchia Boothby, Ann Thompson Nemcosky, Melinda Owens, Alex Tan, A. Troy Foster, Ann Buckner, Cathy Holtom, Marilyn Kilpin Feurstenberg, Cindy Louallen, Carol Carter, Marisa Moser Eddins, Catello Coda, Sandra Busby, Jamie Hansen, Liz Pearson, Tweedles, Padmaja Madhu, Beth Pollock, John W. Johnston,

Please forward a link to this post to every artist who you think may want to join the challenge. We're starting with invitations but you certainly don't need one to participate!

Visit —
Ranger Rick talks to kids about the Big Oil Spill
National Wildlife Federation
-(join me in a $20 pledge today)
US Fish and Wildlife Service

Thanks for joining me in this web of love.

Along the Gulf at St. Pete Beach, Florida. 2002

Thanks to Jack Wilburn for photo of Laughing Gull.

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