New Semi-Surf-Related Art by Melissa Lynch

My sister (and realartist) Melissa Lynch sent me her newest illustrations the other day. I, of course, a little confused by the technique but excited by the images, asked if I could use them on my site.



The illustrations are titled “Troubled Shores I” and “Troubled Shores II,” and refer to the ongoing Mideast-to-Europe refugee crisis. They demand some study, and with the world-wide implications of desperate people sacrificing everything to escape violence and terror, finding greed and fear and, for way too many, death at sea; with politicians using fear and hatred as campaign strategy; with radicalized assholes killing for some perverted version of what they claim is religion but is not about any god but, rather, about more power… well, we can’t help but be caught in this.

It’s interesting that Melissa includes the Statue of Liberty. Perhaps the ‘huddled masses’ already here are… yes, the drawing has me thinking of things I was already thinking of, the consequences of whipped-up fear and hatred; but my worst fears are that there is no other America to run to.

Here’s what Melissa wrote to me:
I sent them for your use if you want to use them. No worries if not. They are mixed media, using a transfer method for the background texture, which is images from the internet about the refugees, a photo of the Statue of Liberty, and the “Raft of the Medusa” by Théodore Géricault (1791–1824). Then I drew on that background with pastel chalk. It was for my class and the assignment was to use the “Raft of the Medusa” as a springboard to react to current events. I titled it “Teeming Shores” or “Shores 2015”.

I used the same method and “appropriated” your wave illustration on an earlier piece (giving you credit of course). You might be interested in it too. If so, feel free to use it.
The Raft of the Medusa as inspiration 
Alternate process; Collage: Photo-copy transfers, Glue, and India Ink. 
* Wave background appropriated from my brother, Erwin Dence. 
Raft of the Medusa Inspired – Detail
This is a detail of a larger work which was inspired by the painting by Géricault, depicting a great tragedy. 

This work depicts myself playing in the sand as a child, a wave threatens to wipe me out. The woman in the foreground depicts my mother who passed away when I was very young, and my father, distraught with sorrow, and despair. The other women surrounding me and holding back the wave depict the many other “mothers” who stepped in to help protect and guide throughout my life; sisters, sister-in-law, step-mother, friends’ mothers, teachers, and aunts, and as an adult, my very dear friends. The wave itself, appropriated from my brother, though depicted here as a destructive force, also represents his help and guidance in my rearing, without which I wouldn’t be who I am today.

PS. “The Ragged Line” illustration was accepted to the Illinois Board of Higher Education 1 year exhibit!
I am claiming (because it’s the way I remember it) Melissa drew this to illustrate a short story I wrote with the same title. I take no credit for her talent. And, since I’m showcasing her work, here’s another, Winter At Sea:

Ragged Edge- Prologue

I’ve let go. I’ve given up… on the struggling.

Still, I hold my breath, as best I can. Have to let some out; in spurts, like crying… sobbing really; that kind you can’t control, can’t stop.

Prrrt, prrt, prrrt.

Still, I’m reaching, reaching… up.

Blackness. I try to open my eyes. The water is filled with sand, pulled up from the bottom, I guess, by the storm.

And my eyes burn. The blood had reached them before he gunned the… what? Motor? Engine? And he turned so fast, so sharp, sharply.

My hands were on my forehead, my eyes on him. Wicked smile.

“So; it’s swim,” he said, puckering his lips; like a kiss. Wicked kiss.

But then he realized… he dropped the… I don’t know what it was, something from his boat. He reached for the pearls. His mother’s, he’d said. Too late.

I could only barely see his hand, reaching.

Maybe my smile was as wicked. And I just fell backward, like, like…

Like sleep. Sinking, deeper; don’t know how deep.

And now my second best dress wraps around me, like seaweed. Tangled. The pearls, the necklace, twisted in my hair. And, and it’s like… like I can’t kick hard enough.

I close my eyes.

Mistakes. Who to trust, who to…

Let it go.

Other eyes; sad smile, sad recognition. I saw him, they designed the restaurant that way; in the kitchen. Cooking. And me; what was I doing?

And he looked down, holding onto some bit of pride.

And I looked down, no pride left.

This was just for a second. I put the smile back on, for my host. Maybe that was the moment he realized I was… was I? Acting.


Was this the easy way?

Is this the easy way? Do I let go; surrender?

The panic is gone. There’s peace. No. Not yet. There’s…wait. I’ve been… rising… released.


Breath! No! Half foam. Choke, cough… breathe.

There’s a moment here, moments; and then the water that had pushed me up pushes me onward. Oh, I can swim; I know how; but I’m swirling, still swirling… but, but, but I see lights. Sky. Morning. It’s…

Another wave. Another. Breath, hold it, move with the waves.

Moments, moments, still moving. Closer to the shore.

Stand up. Stand. And…knocked down, but forward. I rise. I rise, again. And…

The original story, “Ragged Edge,” was published on this site in August of 2013, with another wonderful illustration by my sister, Melissa Lynch. She drew the original illustration here, entitled “Winter At Sea,” for, well, me, and for the gallery she belongs to in Illinois. Because it also fits so well, I felt I should go back, address “Ragged Edge” from a different angle. Ironically, I had always wanted to expand “Ragged Edge” just far enough more to include telltale blood trickling down the forehead of the woman rescued from the stormy surf, now safe, if only temporarily, in the truck of the man who found her on the beach. The victim would share another look of recognition, this time with her attacker.
Maybe she’d touch his mother’s pearls. And then? Released.
Maybe it’s not ironic. Maybe it’s how it was illustrated in my mind. Thanks, Melissa, for making something only imagined real.