Don't I look thrilled?
Being a land mammal, now and when I started this project, I had no interest in the ocean aside from its warm blooded creatures, mainly whales. I made a whale painting for Pops with a lots of red, a color that may have subconsciously and simultaneously represented my fear of the ocean and a love for the whale. I've only been partially submerged in ocean waters a few times, not too deep and never without worry. My toes usually dig nervously in the sand, clinging to every grain of the earth as it slips out from beneath my feet. Honestly, I didn't even like looking at a fish tank, as water breathing aliens made me uncomfortable. After the whale came a dolphin painting and a few more small fish pictures and I was sure of his gift every time I needed one. Then one day I answered to that first fish phone call, "Dad, if you want to give me money, then just say so, but if you really want these paintings..."
When this obsession was only a twinkle in his eye, gift giving was a difficult part of my year. Eleven days apart, Xmas and Dad's birthday got increasingly challenging as I lost access to Santa's Secret Workshop. "World Peace" was the only thing he wanted and I certainly could not fit that in a box. Right when I was losing hope and buying gift cards, Dad started scuba diving and now I'm swimming in ideas.
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Thank you for reading!
Jessie Meehan Art
Sudoku Room Picture 1 by Pops Meehan
Dad's whale of an idea...
Like an addict he replied "Jess, I really want these paintings." He requested 20 paintings, all the same size and for me to take my time. They would be divided up on each wall in the Sudoku room, with a requirement that they'd be swimming in the same direction. "Just make them however you think looks best." I checked for doorbuster sales at the local craft stores, buying up all the 4" x 12" canvas any time there was a good sale. I felt anxious about accepting this mission but I really believed how happy it would make him. The first painting made was a whale shark. A shark that looks like a warm blooded creature would be a good start. For me it began as a difficult painting style and it was time consuming, but I soon enjoyed the new challenge. Stream of consciousness painting is my usual approach. This was a nice change so I decided to really dive in.
Every Day Note Card Sets
There is a very good reason why we have legs.
Maybe a year later, Dad called again. "You know, all of these paintings are very nice, but the sharks you painted are all 'nice sharks' and I want some 'mean sharks'. After measuring, it seems I can fit ten more and I want these before I paint the room a new blue. It would be so cool. Do you think you have time to do that?"
The Final Dive
The task was completed in April this year. I thought it would only be appropriate to celebrate by taking Dad to Virginia Beach for his first time. At the aquarium I could identify fish and was so moved by the sights that I had tears in my eyes much of the time. I watched dolphins at sun rise and would decidedly like to move to the beach one day. I've read scuba stories and viewed their pics so often that I actually feel like I've done it, like I'm part of that community. Thank you Pops for this fun project. I'll always think of you when I see fish...fish anything and I'll always know that there is so much more to explore.
"Ok, I can get into this fish thing..."
I began listening to books on tape about fish while painting. I watched episodes of anything filmed underwater, went to aquariums and subscribed to articles about sea life. I even shopped around for my own fish tank. I began getting requests for more fish from friends who saw the works in progress. The collection was growing and it was taking longer than I had planned to complete my Father's 20 count. Then one day in March, 2018, they were done, or so I thought. I thanked my Pops for pushing me on a journey I would have never taken on my own. He came for a visit, we celebrated, he packed them up and they were up on the wall the day he got back home. I was glad it was completed, could go back to my abstract world of trees and smear green all over something.
The Sudoku Fish Project
and Note Card Sets
Click on the image above to view these
note cards on Etsy.
Sudoku Room Picture 2 by Pops Meehan
It has been some time since I have put together an art update and would like to start by thanking you all for your love support. These last two years I have worked primarily as a server and have truly enjoyed my first exposure to a curious world that combines lessons in cuisine, anthropology, psychology, business and fitness...some of my favorite things. I've decided to go full timeart again, for a few months or longer and am very happy about that. With all of the busy parts and life changes, I gladly spent some of it creating a series of underwater sea creatures, thanks to my Pops. I'd like to share these with you and the story of how the project hatched.
The Sudoku Fish Project
Scuba Diver - Acrylic on Canvas - 2019
This year, I began painting and designing book covers for
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The Sudoku Room
Pops is a man with a blue car, a blue couch, blue dishes, blue walls and a love for scuba diving. He has a room devoted to daily meditation. The ritual starts feet up with some hot tea, an iPod shuffle plugged into a stereo and Sudoku. This all happens in a room hung wall to wall with fish décor that has been organized as neatly and orderly as those pretty little numbers in his Sudoku workbook. In between sips, he looks around at the memories swimming around his space, a shrine to the sea and his history with it. There are photos of fishing trips with my brother and they are grouped so you can see clearly that as my little brother grew, so did his catch. There are photos of fish, taken during scuba trips and of blue horizons, from some of his favorite places around the world. On a shelf sits a brass dolphin sculpture. This was once part of his Father in law's awesomely cheesy sunroom collection. One of my favorite pieces in this room is a fish lamp, purchased at a yard sale with a break in the base. It was "so cool" that he had to have it and then glued plastic aquarium seaweed to broken areas. I don't think he realizes how much he may have in common with the ladies at the Purple Hat Society.