When my friend Nina Teider-Kerr worked as a marine biologist in Mancora, Peru, I was exposed to the overfishing plight of manta rays and reacted with this painting. Mantas have since been given protection in Peru, with sustainable regulations prohibiting manta fishing in one of the world's richest fishing grounds.
“How to Fly Straightforward” is a wildlife painting of Manta Rays swimming in blue abstract brush strokes. These fish have unique shapes that are easily identified, so I wanted to paint them from a different angle viewers may not be familiar with.
Giant oceanic manta rays swim towards the viewer amidst a wave like swooping brush strokes of blue paint.
A big swopping blue brush stroke abruptly ended to leave dripping fingers of paint, reminiscent of water and waves Japanese woodblock print artists. I sketched in manta rays with a white china marker and a few green and red oxide painted lines, similar to a stencil.
I was very proud to have my manta ray painting on display in the centre of the centre of town, Plaza San Roque! Sachaqa Centro de Arte, a centre for artists in San Roque de Cumbaza (the Peruvian Amazon). Artists, fashion designers and local townsfolk were brought together for a grand finale installation at the end of artist's residencies that occupied the town.
Have paintings will travel; this Manta Ray painting was rolled up with all the others made during my stay at Sachaqa Centro de Arte, and packed into a travel tube with my backpack. A couple friends are helping me here to layer the canvases with plastic, so they don't stick together.