It was last spring that we, the neighbors in Bridal Veil, spotted California Sea Lions on Phoca Rock, named by Lewis and Clark for the seals they saw on this rock those many years ago. It was the first time in anyone's memory that sea lions had been seen here and the neighbor's collective memory goes back 30 years. We all got out telescopes, binoculars and cameras to watch with awe and delight. This spring, the sea lions reappeared, as did our viewing devices. They came just ahead of the salmon run, awaiting the salmon and sturgeon buffet just below the Bonneville Dam. The terrible irony, which we knew and they didn't, was that any sea lion caught gorging on salmon 3 times could be killed in an effort to save the salmon, whose numbers are much diminished as a result of our damming the river. A terrible irony it is.
This painting is the first in a series of the Columbia. And the first I have ever painted that is so closely related to the state of this particular dilemma, the state of disconnect between our human advancements and the toll that takes upon the natural world.