Digital DNA for Belissima Blue

If amino acids are the building blocks of life, single images or fragments of them are the DNA of composite images.  These are the building blocks of Belissima Blue, my contribution to the 2015 Art Drive School of Bodacious Bonito.


This project begins in January when our local boatyard cuts 36 fish from marine plywood. The fish are approximately 4 feet x 2.5 feet, and this year it is a bonito, a member of the tuna family.  Each of the participating Art Drive artists starts with the same wooden form and each gives their fish a truly unique, artful and often fanciful interpretation.

During this long snowy winter, my naked fish sat patiently waiting while I worked on a fine art portfolio project.  In refining a body of work, there are always good pieces that just don’t make the final cut. Some of these "rejects" became Bellisima Blue. I imagined the luscious peachy opalescent tones from my moribund nautilus project as translucent fins. I knew that close-up shell curves could be re-purposed as the dividing line between head and body,  with hosta vein patterns for sinuous scales….

For me, creating a composite image like Belissima Blue is a process of love, learning and letting-go. To get from my vague starting notions of color, shape and texture to the final product requires hours of practice, reading, and watching tutorials. Often I learn a new technique and then have to abandon that element when it doesn’t fit with the evolving “canvas.”  Those opalescent tones that so attracted me had to become more blue and less peachy for visual unity.


But here she is! – happily swimming in my garden until she starts her summer rounds visiting the Rhode Island Botanic Center and Westport River Winery.  All the details about the 2015 Bodacious Bonitos will be posted on the Art Drive website in June, including where they will be and how you can have one of your very own!