Welcome to my blog. I hope you enjoy reading about my artwork and things that are important to me. Please check out my website at www.maryloudauray.com.

Monday, February 1, 2016

NINE MILLION PLASTIC BAGS AND COUNTING #2

"NINE MILLION BAGS AND COUNTING #2" 
 Acrylic on canvas 24" x 24"
by Mary Lou Dauray  

This picture, “Nine Million Bags and Counting #2,” is my second in a series about nuclear energy.  I am deeply concerned about the dangers posed by past, current and future nuclear power development and the dilemma posed by nuclear waste disposal.   This is a critical and ominous issue that can threaten a healthy existence of all life on this planet.  Admittedly, before I decided to tackle this topic of nuclear energy as my current artwork direction, I realized early on that I was not a scientist—just an artist trying to use my voice about climate destruction.  As a result, I plunged into the world of online information about the topic nuclear. When I came upon the incredible photos of nine million plastic bags of stored waste from the Fukushima Daiichi meltdown in Japan, I realized I had my subject.  These bags, with a lifespan of three years,  are neatly piled above ground or even in some backyards.  Alarmingly, after a serious flooding from an intense rainstorm in the Fukushima area last September, 2015, I found out that scores of these 264-gallon plastic bags just floated away and some even broke open.  I even saw a photo of a person scooping up the radioactive debris with bare hands!  Keep in mind that the Olympics are scheduled to occur in Japan in 2020…an issue that the government is keenly aware of. 
My second artwork, as you can see, is definitely going in the more abstract direction than my first effort.   

Monday, January 18, 2016

NINE MILLION BAGS AND COUNTING!

                             "Black Plastic Bags with Red Cone" by Mary Lou Dauray  Pen and Ink  5 ¾ x 4 3/4

In the Japanese Fukushima Prefecture you cannot help but glance around and see at least 54,000 very organized stacks holding more than 9 million neatly packed plastic storage bags.  These enormous black sealed bags are filled with radioactive soil and all kinds of sizzling waste collected since the Fukushima Daiishi triple nuclear meltdown on March 11, 2011. All this waste is stuffed into these monstrous bags that have a predicted life of only 3 years. The filled bags are then deposited throughout the areas surrounding Fukushima including even in the backyards of homes, parking lots and parks.  
Since 2009 I had been creating artwork reflecting my concern about man-made climate destruction.  I did series of paintings about plastic pollution in the oceans; the melting of glacial ice; and the mining, transporting and burning of coal. I felt that after the December Paris Climate agreement, I wanted to focus my work on another environmental problem—the continuing future development of nuclear power plants by international corporate interests.  The argument they use is that nuclear power should be considered a strong contender for alternative energy sources—one that will reduce greenhouse gases in the environment.
During these last months I have done quite a bit of research about nuclear energy.  It was shocking to learn about the very serious ongoing radioactive emissions from the Fukushima Daiichi power plant accident in 2011.  Thyroid cancers are already appearing in the children; radioactive water is being pumped into the ocean at an alarming rate. TEPCO (Tokyo Electric Power Company) is finally starting to come clean about the severity of the Fukushima disaster in other respects as well. A new declassified report from the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, written about a week after the disaster occurred, revealed that 100 percent of the total nuclear fuel spent at reactor number four was released into the atmosphere. According to nuclear expert Arnie Gundersen, of fairwinds.org, “unit four harbored more cesium than in all 800 nuclear bombs exploded above ground”.
Approximately 20,000 workers are being employed to thoroughly cleanse the radioactive soil, streets, and gutters.  Workers go house by house to scrub rooftops and walls by hand—some even using a toothbrush.  In short, these decontamination efforts are not getting "rid" of the radioactive problem – they are simply moving it, and sometimes not very far.  The ultimate cost of this cleanup campaign is estimated to possibly be as high as 2 billion US dollars.

Nuclear waste disposal really has no solution.  I am planning to continue my research and related artwork about this topic. Please stay posted.


www.maryloudauray.com




Wednesday, January 6, 2016

THERAPEUTIC ART

"Surrounding", Mixed Media, 9" x 6"

On a cold winter’s night in December,
In a place right in my home,
I slipped quickly on a pool of plain water,
And…… In that split second I fractured the longest bone in my body—my femur! 
I certainly did myself in!

Now, after surgery, and with a new titanium plate inserted into my leg (airport security is going to love this!), I find myself sitting almost all day because I cannot put any weight on my healing leg!  This situation is affording me lots of time to be quiet; to practice patience; to help me become fully aware that I cannot control everything; to read; rest and yes, even to think about and create art!
As a result,  I decided to paint my feelings about the accident.  I can tell you that it was definitely therapeutic to create even this small watercolor.  The act of putting brush to paper, and letting the paint flow, helped me to replay, and then mentally clear out, some of the trauma.  I did the painting over many days by layering yellow, a touch of blue and red,  and then drawing with black ink.  The picture seems to reflect aspects of the hospital stay and resultant confusion.
I am also extremely thankful and appreciative for the enormous amount of healing support given to me by my family and friends.  A thank you to them is not even enough.
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On another note, and since I now have the time, I have been reading some fascinating books.
I highly recommend  Daily Rituals” (How Artists Work), by Mason Curry. What I find as a recurring theme in the book is the fact that a large number of the various artists, poets, philosophers, suffer from insomnia and that almost all of them take daily walks to clear their minds.
A book I have just finished is Thomas Cahill’s “Mysteries of the Middle Ages."  I cannot endorse this book highly enough.   Cahill deftly and brilliantly retells in a gripping way the significant stories surrounding lives of people whose contributions continue to influence our modern age.
I am also inspired by Zentangles”, a how-to design coloring book,  that was given to me by a very thoughtful friend.  You can see evidence of the zentangle inspiration in the black ink lines drawn on my watercolor!
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Please read my latest article about eco-artist, Alexandre Dang, at the following link:

Happy New Year!!!

www.maryloudauray.com



Sunday, November 29, 2015

THE ICE IS MELTING

MELTING ICE ON GREENLAND GLACIER
MORE MELTING ICE ON GREENLAND GLACIER


Sometimes one is lucky to be able to catch a glimpse of nature in its raw beauty and changing face.  Two years ago, while flying over Greenland, I glanced out the plane’s window and saw, through a brief opening in the cloud cover, azure-colored lakes on top of the Greenland glaciers.  I grabbed my camera and snapped a few photos.  At the time I did not think much about the pictures, but now I know I captured examples of melting ice—a consequence of man’s contribution to our warming planet.
The scientists are learning that the melting of Greenland is accelerating.  As the temperature rises, large lakes form on the surface of the ice.   I was not aware until reading some scientific journals that the snow on the glaciers of Greenland is no longer blinding white!  It is darkening because of  a variety of causes such as the massive pollution residue from the burning of fossil fuels including coal; an increased amount of soot from enormous wildfires; and dust from drought stricken areas. This situation of polluted particles on the ice has serious implications for global warming because it drops the reflectiveness of the Greenland glacial ice.  I also learned over the weekend even the dust stirred up by the bombing of Syria is causing serious air pollution in that area.  Ultimately that dust has to settle somewhere?  Regarding this topic,  please take a moment to read www.theweathernetwork.com’s article on dark snow.  Many other studies have been published about the ice melt in Greenland and below you can find links to just a few that I have read about the topic of global warming.   
NASA has been doing intensive research in the attempt to try to understand the changes that will be forthcoming because of climate change.  As is known by now, some Republicans who lead in Congress are questioning this research.  They continue to deny scientific consensus that humans are causing a warming of the planet. 

I found the following information unsettling--“Interesting to note that our civilization developed and constructed a very extensive infrastructure during a period of unusual climate stability—the Holocene—which was almost 12,000 years in duration.  The question is raised:  IS THAT PERIOD ABOUT TO END?  in the important following study: “Climate Change and Trace Gases”  Phil. Trans. R. Soc. A (2007) 365, 1925–1954 doi:10.1098/rsta.2007.2052 Published online 18 May 2007 (pubs.giss. nasa.gov)

Other articles and videos that I have read:
“Greenland Is Melting Away”  New York Times by CORAL DAVENPORT, JOSH HANER, LARRY BUCHANAN and DEREK WATKINS

http://www.vice.com/video/greenland-is-melting-bonded-labor-000

ipcc.ch  (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (UNFCC)

“Short Answers to Hard Questions About Climate Change”:  New York Times by Justin Gillis  Nov. 28, 2015

www.livescience.com  “Holocene Epoch:  The Age of Man”  March 27, 2013

qz.com:  Bill Gates:  “Why I’m investing $1 billion of my own money into clean energy research”.  August 3, 2015

Artist website: www.maryloudauray.com


Monday, November 23, 2015

PHOTOSHOPPING A PHOTO OF THE SIERRA MOUNTAINS

Sunset over the Sierra Nevada Mountains (Photo taken with iPhone)
Photoshop versions
While flying over the beautiful Sierra Nevada mountains last week I quickly took a photo out the window with my trusty iPhone.  The stunning beauty of the sun casting pink color on the snowy mountain peaks captivated me and I was lucky to capture the view. 
Today, I had a Photoshop lesson and began to digitally adjust the photo.  I do realize that the mountains cannot be made any more beautiful, but I wanted to learn how to do some artistic digital photo techniques!  I am very much enjoying  some of the many ways Photoshop can enhance, change, alter and encourage my creativity. If any of you want to share some ideas on this subject, I would love to hear from you.
www.maryloudauray.com



Wednesday, November 11, 2015

HERSTORY

The Symbol
A Mother
The March

Usually in my blog I talk about art I am either working on or have finished.  Today, however, I am relating a different kind of story—a saga that has been ongoing for 38 years and to which a symbol or logo has been ascribed:  a white headscarf.
Every single Thursday a group of mothers, sisters, and relatives, wearing white headscarves, and called the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo, march around the Plaza de Mayo in Buenos Aires, Argentina.  They march for justice and to remind the world about the disappearance of their sons and daughters during political violence in the country between the 1970’s and 1980’s.   More than 30,000 people were kidnapped and murdered by Argentinian extremist right-wing groups, or the military government, that seized power in a coup in 1976.
The mothers, in April of 1977, wanted to know what had happened to their children who had begun to disappear.  A group of them spontaneously grabbed each other’s arms and started walking around the plaza in front of the presidential palace.  It was the very first act of a courageous movement.  At the beginning, three of the founding mothers, along with two French nuns and several activists disappeared, were tortured and thrown alive from planes.  Nevertheless, and despite threats, other mothers continued to march. Many of the mothers have now died and some are in their 80’s.  Last Thursday, while visiting Buenos Aires, I happened upon this march and had the privilege of walking along with the mothers and other supporters.  Words cannot describe the overwhelming feeling of sadness I experienced for their losses and as well as profound admiration for their courage, strength and determination.