Conservation and Art: The Aesthetics of FreshWater Ecology

Myriophyllum tenellum, Watermilfoil by Diane Lundegaard

Myriophyllum tenellum, Watermilfoil by Diane Lundegaard

Homage to Winslow Homer by Diane Lundegaard
Homage to Winslow Homer’s “Mink Pond” by Diane Lundegaard

Recent reports have indicated the increasing need for the conservation and preservation of our freshwater resources. Due to the discovery of the VHS virus in several NY State waterways, including the Great Lakes, several trout hatcheries have had to shut down operations. Others, that have not tested positive for the virus must continue to submit to yearly disease testing at their own expense. Although marine waters also have conservation issues, they have benefited from the work of those who champion the cause to protect marine resources. Artists, writers, film makers have eloquently described and documented, as has done Jacques Cousteau, the particular wonders of this natural resource thus underscoring the need for its protection and conservation. Unfortunately, freshwater biology and aquatic life has not benefited from a similar treatment from the artistic community. Yet, human life, and along with all other species of life depend on freshwater for survival. In addition to its life-sustaining force,  in the waters of the pond, river, creek and stream is a multitude of beauty, a world waiting for its reveal.  As an artist, in this particular arena, I have found suitable material to challenge the aesthetics of the painter: spatial relationships, sense of depth, movement, all to be contained on a two-dimensional surface, yet given the ability, as if it were, to jump from the plane and  into the viewer’s mind and stretching it with philosophical and spiritual dimensions that have the power to awaken the viewers sympathy and public-spirited reaction.

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