The southernmost continent of Antarctica is the coldest, driest, and windiest place on earth. Over 98% percent of the continent is covered by the Antarctic Icesheet which averages over 1 mile thick and encompasses 75% of the world’s fresh water. Ice further extends along the coast from glaciers and sea ice. The Antarctic Peninsula, the northernmost region of the continent reaching above the Antarctic Circle to 63 degrees south, is experiencing dramatic warming. Since records began in the 1950s, the mean annual air temperature has increased nearly 5 degrees F. This climate change has accelerated glacier flow and melt as well as contributed to the collapse of ice shelves such as the Larson B (size of Rhode Island) in 2002 and Wilkins (size of Vermont) in 2010. The specialized flora and fauna of the Peninsulas are impacted by the changing landscape, and on a global scale melting ice contributes to sea level rise.
I traveled twice to Antarctica as Theme Media sponsored artist-in-residence with adventure company Quark Expeditions. In 2006 I joined the Kapitan Khlebnikov Icebreaker to visit the Snow Hill Island Emperor Penguin colony and in 2008 I traveled from the southern tip of Argentina to the Falkland Islands, South Georgia, as well as along the Peninsula.
The scale and diversity of icebergs captivates me and I have developed a series of studio watercolors to contrast the warming Peninsula with the sculpted, frozen forms.