18A: Chela Zabin

Painting Location: 7011 Empire Grade
"Macrocystis & Pebbles" - Chela Zabin

“Macrocystis & Pebbles” – Chela Zabin

As a marine biologist, scuba diver and surfer, I have long been inspired intellectually, artistically, and spiritually by the beauty of beachscapes and the life forms below the tide line. My art training began in 2004, when, while writing my dissertation at the University of Hawaii, I enrolled in a beginning drawing class at the Honolulu Academy of Arts. In 2006, I began studies with Bolinas watercolor artist Birgit O’Connor at Pt. Reyes Field Station and the Mendocino Art Center. My watercolor paintings are created from photographs I take while in the field at low tide in Central California, Hawaii and Micronesia. Making art helps me think more clearly about science and vice versa. I am currently exploring restoration methods for native oysters, painting the many colors and forms of the giant kelp Macrocystis, and learning how to play electric bass. Although I have been fortunate to travel and work in many beautiful locations, Santa Cruz is my favorite place in the world.

"Hermit Crab" - Chela Zabin

“Hermit Crab” – Chela Zabin

My paintings are a response to the beauty of the life forms I study. My watercolor paintings are created from photographs I take while working or playing along the ocean’s edge. While providing enough detail to accurately portray each the unique characteristics of each species, my paintings are mainly communications of color, contrast, light and movement. I use a lot of water to move and blend paint and I apply multiple layers to get the saturated colors that I see. I also use masking and spatter techniques to create sand and the rough textures of some of the tide pool creatures. Depending upon the complexity of the subject, paintings may take anywhere from 20 to 200 hours to complete.

"Drift Kelp Stones" - Chela Zabin

“Drift Kelp Stones” – Chela Zabin