Sunday, June 06, 2010

Dear BP. You Suck.

Brown Pelican

There is nothing in which the birds differ more from man than the way in which they can build and yet leave a landscape as it was before.

Robert LyndThe Blue Lion and Other Essays
Irish essayist and nationalist (1879 - 1949)

I painted this pelican as part of The Spirit of the Gulf Challenge, to which I was invited by Dan. (Thanks, Dan!) Suzanne McDermott began the challenge as a way to channel our creativity into a giant outpouring of love onto the Gulf of Mexico and the inhabitants, environments and livelihoods that are threatened by the never-ending stream of crude oil pouring from BPs Deepwater Horizon oil well.

It's been so frustrating to watch this slow-motion disaster take place over the last six weeks. The Gulf has always been my beach, up until I got married and we moved far away from it. I grew up taking trips there as a child. When I was in college, it was a three hour drive away - close enough to go and stay for a day, if I got up early enough and was willing to drive back, sunburned and exhausted.

And I was always willing enough.

My favorite sight to see is the brown pelicans gliding across the water, searching for a meal. On land, they look so awkward and silly, but when they spread those glorious wings out and soar across the whitecaps...when they spot the perfect fish and dive under the emerald green waters...they are majestic and perfect.

Other birds are threatened by this massive spill, as well. These beautiful animals have no control over the situation - all they can do is sit back and wait and watch.

Just like the fishermen. And hotel owners. And restaurant owners. And the lives of every single person who lives in the states where the oil will wash ashore.

And the lives of every single person who eats seafood.

It is so far-reaching that we cannot even begin to understand how far-reaching it is.

I love the idea behind this challenge - to call attention to the beauty that exists on the Gulf Coast, and I would like to invite any of you visual artists to participate as well, but I would like for you to take it a step further...for instance, wordsmiths - paint us a picture with your keyboard.

There's a whole list of charity organizations that are helping clean up birds and beaches, helping defray costs for families directly financially affected by the spill, helping boost the spirits of people living in the nightmare of watching their way of life disappear, and keeping the disaster on the top of their senators and congressmen's to-do list.

Let's don't sit this one out, peeps. We have an incredible voice.

It's time to shout.