Painting Antarctica

John Kelly painting in Antarctica

John Kelly painting in -15C Antarctic waters – Photograph: Patrick Van de Sande/Aurora Australis (Guardian)

John Kelly, artist-in-residence aboard the Aurora Australis, encounters extreme cold and the dilemma of capturing the ice worlds of the deep south. From a terrific blog…

“I begin to draw and the ship pulls away. A few minutes later the ship is backing up. The noise and thrust of the reverse makes the ship growl and vibrate as it churns the water, depositing krill up on the broken ice that has been turned over to reveal the brown phytoplankton at work. The penguins retreat to a safe distance, diving off the ice shelf and disappearing only to reappear at their original meeting place in the distance. 

The ship rumbles up to the ice floe with a thud and shudder, and then comes the scraping and scratching of the ice on the steel hull as we make inroads into our frozen barrier. Ice breaking is brutal. The ship pushing its shaped bow up on to the ice shelf, allowing the immense weight to descend, radiating massive cracks forward and sideways. The vibrations spread through the entire ship…”

read more (from the Guardian)