60 WBM november 2015 K IRAH VAN SICKLE, a former medical illustrator, has the high technical skills and eye for detail required to paint a traditional ship portrait. Rather than a literal representation, the Wilmington artist favors abstraction. Her mixed media work Aqueduct allows a more complex approach to maritime art. Van Sickle establishes the sea as a metaphor for life’s trials and tribulations. The simple boat represents the human soul travers-ing great struggle, drifting toward archways symbolizing spiritual change for the better. Van Sickle incorporates several techniques for added dimension. Using a pumice stone gel medium, she added grit to a cresting wave. Twine and fishing line are pinned to the surface, creat-ing the boat’s mast and rigging. A figure from an anatomy textbook is transformed into an apparition by layers of paint. Recalling the days when sailors only had the stars to guide their way, Van Sickle trans-ferred a map of constellations to the painting. Van Sickle slyly evokes history only to defy custom, present-ing a totally fresh interpretation on maritime art. Kirah Van Sickle, Aqueduct, 48 x 24 inches, mixed media on canvas.
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