Saturday, November 1, 2008

Jennifer Ewing: Spirit Boats

Jennifer Ewing is a well known Bay Area muralist, as part of Ewing & Germano, with installations in many food and wine businesses as well as private homes. Every few years, Ewing also creates a series of paintings, sculptures and other works of art.

Ewing started the Spirit Boats series of mixed media paintings in January 2005, after her father passed away. Creating the paintings made her feel closer to her father, and helped her grieve over losing him.

The single boat in each painting represents a vision of our life journey now and when we leave this world and move into the afterlife, heaven, the unknown. The light source in each painting guides the boat. The several dozen paintings in the series vary in color, radiance, intensity, and focus. The Spirit Boats inspire the viewer to translate the vision of Ewing’s soulful work.

Some boats are clearly seen; others appear to be an apparition. One boat appears to be traveling slowly through a bayou, while another is floating on a starlit night through space, drifting toward the moon. In a similar painting, the background is not so clear, and the boat is dreaming, on a dark journey, in swirling confusion. Another floats suspended, as the earth moves below it, like Russell Crowe being carried, near death and envisioning his family, in the movie Gladiator.

A few of the paintings seem to directly represent the passing to another world. A warm sun glow, like a bright sunset, reflects off the water and surrounds the boat. Another portrays a boat disintegrating into particles and transported or beamed upward.

Some of the paintings are whimsical, as Ewing brought her father’s lighthearted nature into the work. One looks like a coconut shell floating in the ocean, in search of an island. Another seems to be half an avocado, dreaming of reuniting with its pit.

The waves and ripples generated from the bow of a slow moving boat, shimmering outward, like the effect of our lives and our actions, reminding us we do not know where or how far or what effect our lives and actions create.

Jennifer Ewing’s Spirit Boat paintings are on display now through the end of November at The Depot Bookstore & CafĂ©, 77 Throckmorton in downtown Mill Valley on the Plaza. Phone 415-383-2665. Open 7AM-7PM daily. Opening Reception is Tuesday Nov 4, 6PM-7pm.

by Phil Gravitt


Nancy Ewart said...

I've seen her work elsewhere - it's beautiful. She's another one of the Bay Area's far-too-little-known artists. Thanks for sharing this with us.

Lynne Rutter said...

so beautiful. these are really special paintings!