Spunky Sealife

image by Veronica V. Jones

Lois Van Baarle

A woman is lit by the warm red glow of a floating jellyfish. A serene woman with green hair and a bikini top looks lovingly at a small group of floating green fish. A young woman with a bright green scarf holds a magenta octopus in her hands. A young woman with blond hair is carried by two robotic flying toasters.

If beauty can be found wherever you look for it, then Lois Van Baarle has certainly chosen the most unusual places to cast her gaze. She finds her greatest inspiration for joy and whimsy in one of the deepest, darkest places on earth: the ocean.

Though wrapped in warm, supersaturated colors and rich, murky shadows, the young women she depicts seem to be living relatively unextraordinary lives. They are, however, imbued with undeniable effervescence — a powerful core of spunky, mischievous energy that grant them unusual dominion over cephalopods, fish, other sea critters.  Ms Van Baarle offers no explanation for this aquatic affinity, but it is as mesmerizing as it is mysterious.

When not frolicking with sea life, Lois’ ladies occasionally cavort with land-based creatures or even unusual mechanical beasties run amusingly amok. Who- or whatever their companion, each portrait is a souvenir from unexpected depths or half-forgotten dreams. As the source of all life, it should surprise no one that we sometimes feel the urge to return to the waters of our origin.

Written by in October of 2012. Last edited April 2017.

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