Glacial Recession Paintings
In my current project called “Glacier Portraits” I am creating a series of paintings bringing to life the recession of local glaciers. The idea for the project originated in the North Cascades during an Inspiring Girls Expedition in 2010. While learning about the glaciers of Mount Baker through scientific research and art, climate change became personal. It was no longer an abstract concept happening somewhere else; it was impacting the landscape and ecosystemes right in front of me. My desire to share this understanding is at the heart of this project and my decision to crowd source reference imagery.
Each glacier is painted twice, showing its size at least fifty years ago compared to 2018. The historical images are sourced from records shared online like a National Park pamphlet or a book on Mount Rainier published in 1911. I create the contemporary glacier paintings by crowd sourcing imagery from large social media groups, which not only provides current imagery but also increases awareness of the changing landscape.
After my first post in the groups with a potential reach of over 100k dozens of people shared images and their observations of the landscape. Many commented that prior to seeing these paintings they had never thought of their photos as records of change, and now understand how rapidly the glaciers are receding. By sharing this series online and in public venues I hope to inspire awareness and an understanding of our role as both witnesses to change and agents in its cause.