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Oceana Wills

Windowsills of Curiosity

On view at Homer Council on the Arts
May 6-28

On view at South Peninsula Hospital
May 31-June 28

Windowsills of Curiosity
Artist Statement

I found inspiration for this body of work on walks around my neighborhood before the snow had come. The goldenrod was in various degrees of seed, the goats beard hung elegantly. I thought these plants in their dry seed state to be so beautiful in the fall light and began collecting them as painting subjects. My windowsills, already home to rocks and shells, became interesting as collections of subject matter. Recognizing that the homes of my friends and family also contain these piles of treasure, I began forming my concept around collection, connection to this place along Kachemak Bay, and an innate curiosity we share.

I also drew inspiration from the historical Cabinets of Curiosities, grand shelved rooms of displayed wonders. I played with the techniques of scientific illustration and nature journaling, so rooted in curiosity and observation. My paintings are not so much scientific recordings but playful portraits and studies. I chose to work in a variety of mediums; gouache, acrylic, pen, to reflect the variety seen on the pages of a nature journal. My slough studies were a way to focus in on the changing moods and seasons of this critical area between land and sea.

As I’ve worked on this show, I’ve found that collecting the ideas for these pieces and creating subjective connections and juxtapositions between rock, bird, flower has been grounding. I’ve felt a deepening appreciation for the plants, animals, and geology that make this place. I read recently that cultivating curiosity, as well as gratitude, leaves less room for anxiety and in these anxious times have tried to adhere to this idea while creating this body of work to express curiosity about the place we share, gratitude for community and the natural world.

Artist Bio

Oceana Wills grew up in Homer, Alaska. She has always loved to draw and art became a larger part of her life with her first show at The Bagel Shop in 2016. Her art practice looks different depending on the season. She brings a small gouache palate, pens, and a sketchbook when she is commercial fishing in Bristol Bay or traveling. When she is home, she works on illustration projects and paintings. Nature has been a theme in her work, and she loves to spend time outside on camping, packrafting, or skiing adventures and walking in the woods and meadows around her cabin.  She comes from a family of people who collect rocks on beach walks.

Windowsills of Curiosity up at South Peninsula Hospital