antarctica

The making of a collection

In the fall of 2018, my husband and I were gifted with the opportunity to run a marathon on the continent of Antarctica. We were elated! We found ourselves in the company of the most extraordinary inspiring humans. 


Our trip was filled with more adventure than we prepared for. We discovered not only the beauty and serenity of this awe-inspiring landscape, but that in the souls of others. Athletes with seemingly limitless dreams for themselves; each an inspiration, each generous, welcoming and encouraging.


My mind’s eye overloaded me with explosive visual images and I just knew I had to paint them out. I wanted others to see what I saw, to be blessed by the tenacious spirit,  drive and determination of this collective talent.


With permission, I am sharing the works inspired by either their words or my memory of our interaction with one another.


I have many stories painted, many in the works and a few more stories to collect. It is my hope you will be equally as inspired as I.


(for the record: I am proud of myself and the 6.2 miles I ran of the 26.2 mile marathon course. It is not always in the crossing of a finish line do I find where my strength lies, but in giving my everything to something I fear.)

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White Darkness Laughs at the Parade of Marathon Fools

Collection Developing: antARcTica

Words to truly describe what it was like to be on this continent with all these incredible and amazing persons escape me...so I do what I always do, I paint!


I wanted to give something back, a thank you of sorts to those who gave generously to me.


I wanted to encompass as best I could how the experience translated in my head, my imagination.


This image that kept visiting my mind was the huge ginormous mountains that surrounded us as we ran on the snow packed surface. My husband, Ray described to me all the bright and colorful running outfits everyone wore. As time and distance increased, so did the spacing of the runners. 


To help viewers feel the enormity of the landscape, I opted to combine two canvases to create this image which measures an impending 72” w x 60” h.


The name was partly inspired by a book written by David Grann titled: The White Darkness. It is a true adventure story of Henry Worsley‘s attempt to trek on foot across Antarctica...a journey once attempted by his idol Ernest Shackleton. He describes himself as ‘a speck in the white darkness.’



No Plane No fly

Talented Friends

To best occupy their time during an unexpected weather delay; one which interfered with our return from Antarctica, runners Pete and Jimmy decided to write a song. They chose to change the lyrics to Bob Marley’s ‘No Woman No Cry’.   

Music Video

Taking things one step further and with the help of Chicco Mattos, they recruited a number of us to be in their ‘music video’.


Here is a link to the YouTube video: No Plane No Fly


And the lyrics are as follows:

  

No Plane, No Fly - (Sung to Bob Marley - No Woman, No Cry) -  By Pete & Jimmy

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No plane, no fly x4

I remember before we landed here

We took everything for granted

Restaurants, warm weather, unlimited beer

But then we ended up stranded


Getting ready for the marathon on ice

We did not even know each other

Realizing we are all in this together

Now we are all sisters and brothers

No plane, no fly x4


Going across the finish line one by one

Representing so many nations

Arm in arm we are having so much fun

Every moment shared is a celebration


Not knowing when we are going home

But we cannot control the weather

So enjoy the trip and not the destination

We are much stronger together


Everything's gonna be alright

Everything's gonna be alright

We are all gonna catch our flight

Everything's gonna be alright

Everything's gonna be alright

Everything's gonna be alright

Look out the window everything is white

Everything's gonna be alright

No plane, no fly

No plane, no fly

When you are stuck here, do not have no fear

No plane, no fly

no fly

No plane no fly


I remember before we landed here

We took everything for granted

Resterants warm weather

Unlimited beer

But then we ended up stranded

Getting ready for the marathon on ice

We did not even know each other

Realizing we are all in this together

Now we are all sisters and brothers


No plane no fly

No plane no fly

No plane no fly

No plane no fly


Going across the finish line 

One by one

Representing so many nations

Arm and arm we having so much fun

Every moment shared is a celebration


Not knowing when we are going home

But We cannot control the weather

So enjoy the time

Not the destination

We are stronger together

So we sing


Everythings’ gonna be alright

Everythings gonna to be alright

We are all going to catch our flight

Everythings going to be alright

Everythings gonna be alright 

Look out the window

Everything is white

Everythings is gonna be alright

Every thing will be alright

No plane no fly

No plane no fly

When you’re stuck here

Do not have no fear

No plane no fly

Painted Story

An image of a guitar painted in steel grey (to represent the ‘grounded’ plane) highlighted in silver and white to give the impression of frost. I used the lyrics to provide an outline for the instrument body.  The colorful background is reminiscent of a blanket I got as a gift from a friend who vacationed in Jamaica.   


I  will  post  a  better  photo  when  it  is  available.  I  LOVE  LOVE  LOVE  this  piece!!!  

Painted Stories of antARcTica

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You Will Never See Me Quit

Living with MS

On our way home, Roma shared with us her ‘after thoughts’ about the race. I was surprised to learn that she lives with MS. This woman just won the Antarctic Ice Marathon! (It is considered one of the toughest marathon races in the world...say what?!)


I painted this image over 2 canvases because it speaks to her life before and after the diagnosis (good days/not so good days)


The circular motion of color represents: 365 days around the sun, the fact that Roma takes life one day at a time...she intentionally stays positive.

(the surface under the yellow paint moves from smooth to rough. These surface changes can’t be seen, but they can be felt. Pain that Roma experiences, but others don’t necessarily realize.


Orange and pink is symbolic of her unbreakable choice to be positive and joy-filled.

Learn More

To read more of Roma’s story, check out this article she wrote for Overcoming MS: https://overcomingms.org/latest/winning-antartica-marathon/

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What Fuels His Soul

Post Open Heart Bypass Surgery

DJay  is  another  remarkable  human  in  more  ways  than  I  am  able  to  count!  What  surprised  me  most  as  I  got  to  know  him  was  his  determination  to  prove  just  how  much  he  could  ‘push’  the  limitations  of  his  body  and  health.  


The  name  of  this  piece  was  inspired  by  a  person having  been  challenged  by  something  almost  insurmountable  in  their  life,  but  by  coming  thru  it  found  it  actually  made  them  stronger.  And  as  they  continue  on  their  life  journey  it  is  what  ‘fuels’  them  and  provides  to  them  whatever  they  need  to  do  the  challenge  in  front  of  them.


Very  proud  of  his  country,  I  used  the  colors  of  the  Indian  flag   as  the  backdrop with the  heart  obviously  representing  his  inspiration.  I  outlined  the  continent  of  Antarctica  with  painted  ‘stitches’  to  represent  the  aftermath  of  his  heart  surgery.  


I  also  used  a  deep  red  paint  to  provide  a  shadowing  shape  of  Mt.  Vincent  in  the  background  (the  mountainous  range  we  slept  in  front  of)  and  sprayed  white  flecks  over  the  entirety  of  the  image  to  represent  the  blizzard.  

Learn More

To  learn  more  about  his  journey  check  out  this  article  DJay  wrote  for  LinkedIn:  https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/fuel-my-journey-how-running-long-distance-became-post-yellurkar-1d

Echoes of His Spirit

Center rectangle of brilliant yellow surrounded by rectangles of orange red pink teal blue green

I rarely paint out with such efficiency any image that visits my mind’s eye, but the impression Arun  and his voice made on me was inescapable! The energy and vibrancy was boggling!  


Here is the message I shared with him and his wife Gurmeet explaining the painting inspired by him:


“The color yellow represents: positivity, enlightenment, intellect and honor. It is surrounded by shades of red orange, red and pinks. Red represents adventure and pink represents playfulness..the transitioning orange represents determination, success and encouragement. Teal is the next color and it speaks to sophistication, wisdom, friendship and loyalty. It also represents water...and Antarctica, though covered in snow, is just another form of water...

Next I used blue (magnesium) it is often referred to as the ‘hue of the future’. It is also know to gift us with a sense of calm and serenity...to many a sense of confidence. So you! And I decided to frame out the last echo with the color green. This color is largely thought to represent harmony, renewal...as well as, ambition.  Together these colors were painted in a square shape to represent a ‘tunnel’ for this echo effect that I thought of when you spoke/laughed Arun! I just loved the image that popped into my mind’s eye when I heard your voice (I could recognize it from anywhere in the room!) it was so colorful and fully of happy.”


Below are additional images to represent what the dinning room sounded like to me. 

The Voice

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I could ALWAYS find where Arun 

was sitting in the dining tent...

I could see these bold colors and their echoic vibrations navigate from across the room  .

Whirlwind Runny/Her Invoice Voice

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The square painting in the lower left corner was my initial painting of Arun’s wife Gurmeet. I called it: Her Inner Voice; It is All Happiness. She seemed so quiet and lovely and attentive to those sitting around her. After we returned home I learned she was quite accomplished, funny and kept a crazy life schedule which included waking up very early in the morning so she could start her day with a run. I painted a new image I titled: Whirlwind Runny. 

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a Renewed Breath

Shawn  had  shared  with  me  that  he  was  once  a  serious  smoker  and  gave  it  up  as  he  found   greater  joy  in  running.


I  decided  to  paint  a  set  of  lungs  that  included  an  impression  of  what  a  set  of  smoker’s  lungs  may  look  like  with  the  dark ‘spots’.  These  are  surrounded  by hues  of  blue  and  puffy  white  to  represent  the  beautiful  skies  overhead  which  were  described  to  me  as  we  stood  outside  at  the  camp upon  our  arrival.  The  topographic  landscape  of  the  lungs  also  represents  the  Elsworth  Mountain  Range.


The  running  shoes  at  the  end  of  the  chain uniting  the  lungs replaces  an  old  smoking  habit.  These  are  actually  Shawn’s  well  worn  running  shoes  (2017 NYC  Marathon  and  2018  Mumbai  Marathon  in  addition  to  his  2018  training  runs) 

Flutter Joy

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Within minutes of meeting Natalie, I immediately thought of her as a ‘social butterfly’. She was thoughtfully inquisitive and engaging. And just as quickly an image came to my mind's eye what I image I would paint inspired by Natalie.

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It took me a few months to paint out what visited my imagination. When I finished I was anxious to share with Natalie! 

I texted her the image as soon as I could. Given the time difference, Natalie didn't actually see it until the following day. When she called me to let me know she viewed the painting she also informed me that when she woke she had chose to wear a shirt that (coincidentally) had butterflies on it.

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She also excitedly shared that her and her husband had just learned they were expecting! It was too early to know if it was going to be a boy or a girl. I was curious, really curious because I wondered if there was going to be some 'divine' reason I painted the far left butterfly blue.

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Weeks flew by and Natalie shared they would be welcoming a bundle of boy!

I was tickled blue!

I  just love  it  when  the  universe  works  thru  us...the  colors of  the  butterflies  were  determined  long  before  the  news  of  her pregnancy or the fact she would be having a boy!  

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Viewing from right to left (painted intentionally this way because Natalie lives in Australia and she had to travel west to get to Antarctica)

The yellow represents her bright and cheery self. The green represents the personal growth of her journey and the blue is a combination of both! Purely coincidental that we all later learned she was expecting a baby boy!

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Dream Chaser

Richard (trip organizer/amazing athlete/chef extraordinary) once  shared  with  us  that  we  would  most  likely  start  to  see  our  life  divided  into  ‘pre-Antarctica’  and  ‘post-Antarctica’...most  likely  with  the  knowing  the  experience  changes  a  person.  


It  certainly  did  my  husband,  Ray.  He  returned  to  dreaming  even  bigger  dreams  for  himself,  dreams  inspired  by  the  accomplishments  of  those we  met  on  our  trip.


He  returned  home  and  started  pouring  over possible  destination  marathon  opportunities.  He  talked  about  the  possibility  of  running  a  marathon  on  each  of the 7 continents  or  all  the  50  states in America...he  is  now  doing  both!


Ray,  a  proud  Mexican,  living  and  working  in  America, is  my amazing  dream  chaser.  With  the  knowing  this  challenge  presents,  his  strength,  strong  will  and   perseverance  give  him  all  that  he  needs  to  get  to  the  finish  line(s).

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visiting vincent

The  Dragonfly  Story

by  Walter  Dudley  Cavert


”In  the  bottom  of  an  old  pond  lived  some  grubs  who  could  not  understand  why  none  of  their  group  ever  came  back  after  crawling up  the  lily  stems  to  the  top  of  the  water.  They  promised  each  other  that  the next  one  who  was  called  to  make  the  upward  climb  would  return  and  tell  what  had  happened  to  him.  


Soon  one  of  them  felt  an  urgent  impulse  to  seek  the  surface;  he  rested  himself  on  the  top  of  a  lily  pad  and  went  through  a  glorious  transformation  which  made  him  a  dragonfly  with  beautiful  wings.


In  vain  he  tried  to  keep  his  promise.  Flying  back  and  forth  over  the  pond,  he  peered  down  at  his  friends  below.  Then  he  realized  that  even  if  they  could  see  him  they  would  not  recognize  such  a  radiant  creature  as  one  of  their  number.


The  fact  that  we  cannot  see  our  friends  or  communicate  with  them  after  the  transformation which  we  call death  is  no  proof  that  thye  cease  to  exist.”  


This  particular  painting  was  inspired  from  David  sharing  with me  about  the  death  of  his  son,  Vincent.  He  hadn’t  quite  yet realized  that  we  would be  camped  at  the  base  of  Mt.  Vincent.  


I  remember  feeling  a  heaviness  in  my  heart  when  hearing  about  his loss.  Later  that  day,  after  our  group  run, I  was  further  moved  when David  shared  more  details.  David  would often  think of  his  son,  Vincent  when  running  a  marathon   and  this  race  was  no  different.   


How  beautiful  and  significant  was  that  Mt.  Vincent  was  watching  over us  (him)  as  he  to  was  soon  to  achieve  his  personal  goal  of  running  a  marathon  on  all  7  continents.  

Dropping Trout

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This painting above is a work in progress. It was inspired by the antics of 4 ‘tenacious’ athletes from Australia who dropped their drawers and braved the cold buck naked!

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I  am  leaving  you  to  your own   imagination  ...