Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Lake Champlain, Day 3

[entry drafted at Lake Champlain 6/10/18]

We visit Fisk Quarry and Goodsell Ridge on Isle la Motte, a few miles from our vacation cottage, where we see 480 million-year-old fossils. I still can't quite wrap my mind around the following information from a Lake Champlain Committee article (boldface mine):

Imagine sitting in a lounge chair with your feet in the water looking out over a tropical sea. The sun blazes away and the reefs around you teem with life. There was a time, nearly half a billion years ago, when the area we now call Lake Champlain hosted such an environment. This was before life existed on land, before the bedrock of the region had even formed.
At the time, the continental plate upon which Lake Champlain sits today was located in the lower latitudes of the Southern Hemisphere. Carbon dioxide levels exceeded today’s levels by 14 to 16 percent, and the earth was so warm that practically no ice existed.  As a result, sea levels were much higher and the continental shelf was covered by a shallow arm of the Iapetus Ocean. In this arm, some of the world’s earliest reefs developed.  
Today, most biotic reefs are formed by coral, but at the time of the original reefs, corals had not yet evolved. The first reef builders were instead small branching organisms called bryozoans. Later in time, large cabbage-like stromatoporoids (related to present-day sea sponges) dominated. Over time, other organisms came to occupy the reefs along with the stromatoporoids including the first corals, though corals never dominated these early reefs.  “These structures represent a pivotal moment in the evolution of life on earth, because they are the oldest known, multi-organism constructions on the planet.”
For three days I have been playing with collage, paint markers, acrylics, stencils, pencils, and more, enjoying what I think of as mark-making—until now when I realize I have been layering small branching bryozoans and large cabbage-like stromatoporoids, building an older-than-time reef right here on a piece of drawing paper on a picnic table in front of a cottage in Vermont near the border of Canada.
work in progress
18x24"; mixed media on drawing paper
detail
detail
detail

6 comments:

  1. Dotty, to me it feels as if your painting/collage-making is going into a whole new fase, a new stage.
    Those collages are downright marvellous!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Simone, thank you so much for your observations and encouragement. I just returned from a day of painting with a friend, and we had to stop while the pieces we were working on were in a stunningly laugh-out-loud ugly phase—I'm glad to be reminded here that I can create 'downright marvelous' collages :)

      Delete
  2. What ever they are they are working! Love those touches of red. I do envy your consistent work habits!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Carol, LOL at your saying 'whatever they are'!!! Thank you for sharing that 'they are working!' I love the touches of red too (actually burnt sienna, i think). Thanks, too, for your affirmation of my consistent work habits. I committed myself to daily (weekdays) painting three years ago and don't regret that decision for a moment.

      Delete
  3. Love these Dotty, and a science lesson/story to boot. having fun catching up ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Sheila—I'm having fun having you catch up; lovely to revisit through your eyes.

      Delete