basin

  basin 
  oil on canvas l 44"x84" l february 2010  l  SOLD   
   (click image to return to gallery)   
 
  basin 
   (click image to return to gallery)   
   
  

This work represents an island (with ocean just beyond the cliff face in the center and the peaks to the right), focused on a large interior depression that takes up perhaps half of the island's area. 

I think of this basin as a volcanic crater, but although the center image is the same as the one representing the crater in Interior, I imagine this one as eroded and irregular.  Also unlike Interior, this crater is defined primarily by its physical form as opposed to its ecology. The crater floor would be much wetter than anywhere else on the island, supporting some unique plant life (like the cordyline, or ti, plants in the image), but not dramatically different from the rest of the island.

El Yunque National Forest, Puerto Rico (my photo)

El Yunque National Forest, Puerto Rico (my photo)

I imagine half of this island to be ringed by a series of peaks like those on the left - at their highest in the distance, but curving around behind the viewer as they step down to meet the cliffs on the left side.  I picture the coastline at the base of the peaks to rise less abruptly than those cliffs, instead backed by a narrow strip of lowland rainforest with steep slopes behind. 

The image on the left side of the work is the same as in Windward Coast, taken along the Na Pali Coast on Kauai, Hawaii; the central image is from nearby, in the Hanakapiai Valley, near the base of a frequently-visited waterfall. The forested peaks at right were photographed in El Yunque National Forest on Puerto Rico - the only rainforest in the US Forest Service.  The park comprises lowland rainforest as well as cloud forest and, at the highest elevations including the part pictured here, dwarf/elfin forest. 

As is typical for me in these situations, when I reached the highest point in the park I wished that I were instead on a much smaller island, with the ocean visible on all sides. The quintessential South Pacific atoll is what I had in mind, both on-site and when I set out to create Basin.  The work, of course, evolved into something other than a small island rising to a peak in the center, partly because an island largely taken up by a giant crater is more unusual.  (The ones I'm aware of are very low, desert islands with equally barren craters - an idea I'd also like to explore.) 

Darren