The 2012 Our World-Underwater Artists
Bonnielynn Brankey: Painting colorful
underwater subjects is an expression of her love for the oceans. After getting scuba certified in 1991, she
found that the world wears a different face below the surface of the sea. She finds that transferring these
subjects she sees when she is underwater into brightly colored oil or
watercolor paintings releases these emotions. She likes to think of her marine paintings as
"celebrating life in the sea."
A delicate balance exists between our lives with that of the oceans.
Educating and increasing public awareness through her art is her mission to get
people to think about the health and survival of our oceans for future
generations to enjoy.
Cal Kothrade is a Milwaukee based artist, underwater photographer, and published dive travel author, specializing in wreck mosaic photography, digital renderings, traditional paintings and shipwreck sculptures. He is a member of the Wisconsin Marine Historical Society, and Wisconsin Underwater Archaeology Association. Learn more about his maritime artwork and photography at: www.calsworld.net or www.MilwaukeeDiveApparel.com
Greg Lashbrook has spent the last 43 years viewing the
underwater realm through the glass of his mask. His glass paintings are the direct reflections of those
observations. He only paint
what he has seen or experienced firsthand. Luckily his life has given him
a wide range of images to choose from. Whether it was sea kayaking with
Orcas off the northern tip of Vancouver Island, scuba diving the reefs of the
Caribbean or with 6 foot lake sturgeon in the fast currents of the St. Clair
River; he has hundreds of mental images burning into my soul begging to be
released. Over the past twenty years, he has been fortunate enough to be
able to share these experiences with others through my painting, sculptures,
photography and film making.
Margaret Ross Tolbert is an artist based in
Gainesville, Florida. Over the last twenty years she has executed series of
paintings, drawings and lithographs from studios in the U.S., France and Turkey. A continuing focus of Margaret is the Springs of North
Florida, whose paradisiacal presence provide a sense of ideal destination and
the exotic in the here- and-now that counterpoints the sense of passage, time
and journey. Recently the book AQUIFERious
has been released, with art and writing by Tolbert and with thirteen
contributors. This amalgam of insights and talents documents some of the many
features, and urgent need for the preservation of Florida’s freshwater springs
and the Floridian Aquifer. AQUIFERious won the gold medal for non-fiction and
the silver medal for fine arts in the Florida book awards competition.
Michael Angelo Gagliardi sold his first
painting in the St. Marks bar in NYC’s Greenwich Village at the age of 17. Had they checked his ID he may have
chosen a different career. At the
age of 35 he began scuba diving.
Now at 50, he holds over 22 certifications, and paints a wet world. He has been expedition artist on the
USS Monitor 2002 Gun Turret Expedition; He led the 2009 Cow Springs Restoration
Project, is Expedition Artist for the Cozumel Cenote Mapping and Exploration
Expeditions 2011, been a volunteer diver for the North
Florida Springs Bio-diversity Project as well as various Great Lake Shipwreck
surveys. He has received the Abe Davis Award, Wakulla Award, 2007 NACD
Conservation Award, 2009 NSSCDS Conservation Award, Diver of the Year –ICSSD
2009 and various NSS Speloart awards.
He has shown across the USA and is collected worldwide.
Michael Burton believes art can change the world because it has changed my life. It is
also a crucial reason why he am alive today. After being diagnosed with
Hodgkin’s disease, art turned out to be the perfect remedy. It helped aid his
full recovery and remission. The experience has influenced his art, drive and
approach to creating vibrant, eye catching, colorful, and lively images. He loves
to capture the beauty of nature, landscapes, illustrating the human figure in beautiful
environments that tell stories, and thought provoking. As a growing artist he
am very enthusiastic about constantly learning new and challenging creations.
Ahmed ”Mujey”Mujthaba is a self-taught artist born in 1971 on the island
of Kaafu Guraidhoo within the South Male' Atoll in the Maldives. His love
of nature began while free diving and later as a trained scuba diver. As
a young child, Mujey would free dive with friends to grab a lobster for dinner only
later to replicate a painting of the lobster on pieces of pottery.
Tourists in the Maldives would purchase Mujey's pottery paintings from his
parents' island shop. As an adult,
Mujey owned and worked on various scuba diving liveaboards where his artistic
talents continued to flourish. While scuba diving for fun as well as
professionally, Mujey turned to underwater photography and then videography
to make permanent his memories of the ocean. From his photo and video stills, Mujey
creates charcoal pastels and oil paintings.
Stephen Belth divides his time among his
work as commercial designer, illustrator, scuba diving instructor, and
marketing consultant for performing and fine arts organizations. He has always been fascinated by the
intense optical impact that sea creatures have on us. He believes the unique
relationship of light, color, and unending motion that divers see are what
attracts us to the underwater experience.
His work is based on digitally combining these elements
from different photos he personally take and reimagining them in the studio
with pencil, watercolor, acrylic, and pen and ink. He tries to reach the same visual
and visceral sensations he feels when he is hovering over the coral reef and to
relay the story of his encounters in a painterly way.