Whales' Waters

          mt. Baker & Whales' Waters

         mt. Baker & Whales' Waters

You may have guessed that I’m writing these blogposts to explore how humans and whales are getting along. There’s the good news and the not so good.

Good for Whales

The good news is in the view above of how heart-wrenchingly beautiful our world can be. As I was enjoying this local beach on New Year’s Day, it made me hopeful to know that many whales are in these waters.

Not so Good for Whales

As an artist I sometimes follow a murky impulse and out comes a piece about the threats faced by our whales and the planet. Net, below, is one piece like that. I spontaneously created it out of the happy chaos of my studio when a stray scrap of netlike fabric caught my eye. It may be that I spend too much time learning about how our trash, including fishing nets, is killing marine mammals. You can see Net live in a current exhibit at the LaConner Quilt & Textile Museum (see sidebar below).

    Reardon  ©  2013. Net.  10" x 10"

    Reardon © 2013. Net.  10" x 10"

Environmental Art - Visual

Some say the purpose of art is to make the invisible visible. Many photos on the web show the marine debris collected by people of all ages from our beaches. Hopefully, art shows the same thing in a more subtle visible way. Maybe Net invites us to face our actions that cause the whales a lot of trouble in a way that’s easier on the eyes.

Environmental Art - Audible

Music transforms the invisible so we can hear it. And with beautiful sounds instead of reminders about recycling that we can reflexively tune out. Messages that make us feel bad, sometimes even feel yelled at, just set off our habits of self-defense. A choral piece, The Angry Planet: An Environmental Cantata, might be more helpful. Bob Chilcott, composer, and Charles Bennett, poet, might be yelling at heart, but their sounds, are engaging. You can sample it below and have your own copy from Hyperion.


It’s not easy to remind ourselves of changes we “should” make without setting of the alarm bells of our defensive habits. One of my resolutions for 2016 is to share more art that inspires help for oceans and whales in inviting ways.