Ride the Wave made its debut at the Life of H2O exhibition at TreeGarden’s Masonry Gallery during the 2022 Austin Studio Tour.
Initially, I came up with this concept in a proposal bid for the Virginia Aquarium in March. Long-inspired by Wyland’s Whaling Walls, I wanted to suspend a moment in time of a humpback whale breaching, seen from both under and over the water. My goal was visualizing the dynamic flows of water in air, and inversely air in water, spiraling around the movement of such a large and graceful creature, with the canvas acting as a container for all this movement.
When the bid fell through, I couldn’t get the concept out of my head. Wanting to use it as a sample of my different specializations, I spray painted it in June on a 4’x4′ MDF board (as seen in the bottom right image and video below). When I was invited to participate in the Life of H2O exhibition, I knew I had to return to this concept to refine it one again.
This 18″x24″ canvas piece was painted first with aerosol paints and then details were layered in with acrylics. Each bubble and water droplet contains a kaleidoscopic rainbow of colors, inviting the viewer to look deeper. The 1.5″ gallery wrap is an extension of the scene in every direction.
I still dream of painting this concept very large on a building some day, so this hopefully will not be the final iteration. Overall, this stands as one of my favorite pieces I have ever created, to date. I sobbed as I finished it because it was destined for a much larger canvas and was even more beautiful than I’d imagined it. Ultimately, it’s a piece about potential, through pausing a kinetic moment.
This work is available for your collection. Serious inquiries email hi[at]samsoper.art.