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November-December 2010

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Beach Stones Artist Caroline Kwas (b. 1970)

When I first viewed the beach stones depicted in Caroline Kwas's work, I could almost smell the salt air and hear the waves along the ocean shore. A native of Long Island, New York, Kwas has been keenly interested in nature since her childhood, exploring the woods and beaches of Long Island's North Shore. She was educated at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City, earning a bachelor of fine arts degree in 1995. She later moved to Montauk, New York (known to the locals as Long Island's East End), and discovered her artistic inspiration in the beaches and their glacial-deposited pebbles, eventually creating many paintings she calls her “Peace of Beach” series. She states: “I paint to challenge this culture's notions of acceptable beauty by concentrating on the most mundane elements found underfoot: rocks, sand, water, and shells. For [me], rocks are a clue to the origins of our planet, an intimate history of Earth. To pick up one and hold it is to hold a piece of Earth's history in my hand. I see the work of God in rocks: the infinite variations and sense of vast time they signify. Rocks invite me to ponder timelessness, to wonder about events that shaped our Earth, and to pay reverence to overlooked beauty. It is easy to get caught up in the daily minutiae of life and forget that we are part of a much greater whole. I paint rocks because I want to say, ‘Hey! Stop! Look, and observe the small beauty that surrounds us!’”

Susan Robinson is a freelance artist specializing in painting mineral and gem specimens as well as birds and wildlife.

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