Part of Holly McClellan’s process for Once Upon Water residency

Getting acquainted with my chosen source material:  seaweed.

Red Seaweed - low tide, Pico, Azores

Red Seaweed in low tide, Pico, Azores.  (snap shot with my phone)


The seaweed itself, and a few locations were explored before I was ready and able to create work for what became Shallow Views.  At this point I started to realize my original ideas, plans and experiments at home leading up to the residency were not going to work here.  The seaweed itself in Pico was too different from what I had been experimenting with at home.

Impressions of St. Lawrence Seaweed

St. Lawrence Seaweed Impressions.  Mixed Media.  Photographic Painting by Holly McClellan


Visually the pinkish seaweeds in Pico have a very fragile and delicate quality to them.  Compared to other shorelines, the Pico seaweeds have a different way of changing form and shape when submersed in the water.  In still, shallow water or while snorkelling, delicate details are visible and can be seen.


Small Study of Pink Seaweed.  Part of Holly McClellan’s creative process.

In deeper, turbulent water it clumps together resembling what you might find in an Ontario lake.  After rolling in the water and sometimes being tossed on land, the seaweeds become barely recognizable.  As it the clumps start to dry on land during the delicate details start to disappear as it dries.

The colour changes happen slowly throughout the day during the month of June.    Through Kim, another artist in the group, I learned ocean warming is changing the colour of many substances such as coral.  A seemingly casual chat with Kim made me realize the colour changes were simply reactions to temperature changes in the water and on the rocks throughout the day.  I would not be surprised if the colour changes are less dramatic during the winter.

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Changing temperature during the day.