Water is the most malleable element...existing in so many forms. Each of its manifestations has a romance of its own...the coziness of a rainy day, the sparkle of fresh snow, the mystery of fog, the wildness of an endless ocean, the current of a river, the stillness of a lake, the warmth of a steaming kettle. Not to mention the thirst quenching joy of a cool glass of water on a hot day, the pleasure of a swim, riding a wave, moving across the water on a sailboat or canoe. Water and oxygen are what we most need to live, yet what can be a magnetically appealing element to be close to can turn into a disastrous life threatening element also... floods, ocean storms, torrential rains, hurricanes, tsunamis, and snowstorms. Exploring water in some of its guises....

Above: Richard Misrach, from The Mysterious Opacity of Other Beings

Above: Morgan Maassen's "Print 5" from ARCHIV-E, Bodysurfing. 

Above: Unknown source, surfer

Above: Click on Marisa Anderson's piece, "In Waves" from her album "Into The Light" for some music to listen to while you scroll.

Above: Thomas Campbell photo, Dan Malloy, 2008, from "Slide Your Brains Out"

Above: Kyohei Inukai (1886-1954), Bathers

Above: Edna Boies Hopkins (1872-1937), Cascades, 1917, color woodcut. Hopkins was a member of the Provincetown Printers, known for white line printing, and applying multiple colors to the blocks at the same time.

Above: Katherine Bradford, Group Swim, 2004

Above: Ginza Sugiura Hisui, postcard, 1919

Above: Amadeo Luciano Lorenzato, Untitled, 1985

Above: Scene from "The Silent World", a film by Jacques Cousteau, 1953

Above: Jacques Cousteau's grandson, Fabien Cousteau, took a team to live underwater for a month in 2014. The project was called "Mission 31". It was the longest continuous underwater project in history.

Above: Paul Klee (1879-1940), "Fish Magic", 1925

Above: A moment from the Sponge Bob cartoon.

Above: Butlin's Mosney, Coffee Lounge Adjoining Indoor Heated Pool, 1970. From a series of postcards created by John Hinde of Butlin's holiday camps. Here the aquariums are a decorative element in the lounge. 

Above: A kelp forest tank at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

Above and below: Stills from "My Octopus Teacher" documentary, filmed in the Great African Seaforest, near the shores of Capetown.

Above: Ann McCoy, Night Sea, 1979

Above: Gioacchino La Pira (1839-1870), The Blue Grotto of Capri

Above: Grutas de Tolantongo, Mexico

Above: Joel Meyerowitz, Dusk Florida series.

Above: Joel Meyerowitz, Florida, 1978

Above: Andrew Cranston, The Sadness of Being Scott, 2016-2017. Like many of Cranston's pieces this is an oil painting on a hardback book cover. 

Above: Caroline Walker, Desert Modern, 2016

Above: Me, about 10, enjoying the luxury of a pool lounge chair when visiting family in Hollywood. A very cool 50s apartment building on Sweetzer. I remember a poolside apartment full of mid-century asian style furniture, lots of orange and brass and citrus green and shag carpet.

Above and below: Albert Frey Loewy House, Palm Springs, 1946-1947.

Above: In the MOMA Sculpture Garden, a statue by Aristide Maillol, "The River", 1938-1943.

Above: The Museum of Modern Art Sculpture Garden. This is the way I remember the garden in the 1970s. It's changed several times since then. When I moved to NY to study at Parsons, my dad gave me a MOMA membership so I could come here as much as I wanted. This was his refuge when he was growing up in NY, and he wanted to offer that gift to me.

Laura Clayton Baker

Above and below: The contemplation room at the D.T. Suzuki Museum, Kanazawa. You can see the view from inside the contemplation room on the following photo.

Laura Clayton Baker

Above and below: Tadao Ando's "Church on the Water", 1988, Hokkaido in winter and summer.

Photo: Tadao Ando Architect & Assoc.

Above: Clementine Hunter (1886-1988), "Baptism", 1950. Hunter grew up in Louisiana, part of a Creole family, her mother's mother a slave, on her father's side Irish and black Native American. She worked as a farm laborer, picking cotton most of her life and didn't discover painting till she was in her 50s. With time she became renowned for her art, the first African American artist to have a solo show at the New Orleans Museum of Art. She painted scenes of plantation life in the early 20th century. Robert Wilson wrote an opera about her in 2013...Zinnias: The Life of Clementine Hunter.

Above: Hindu Festival of Ganesh Chaturthi in Mumbai, India. On the 10th day of the festival the clay statue of Ganesh is carried in a public procession and immersed in the water, after which the clay idol dissolves and he is believed to have returned to his celestial home. Ganesha is celebrated as the God of New Beginnings and the Remover of Obstacles, as well as the god of wisdom and intelligence.

Above: In the city of Varnasi, India, Hindu pilgrims pray and bathe in the Ganges, which they consider the holiest of rivers, a most sacred place. Washing in the Ganges is a way to erase your sins.

Above: The Ganges at sunrise. These women are placing offerings of flowers into water.

Above: In Japan, the etiquette of washing upon visiting a shrine.

Laura Clayton Baker

Above: There is much tradition in Judaism around the ritual washing of hands. Before a meal that includes bread hands must be washed. Historically, This practice was considered so important that neglecting it was tantamount to unchastity, risking divine punishment. Rabbinic law required travelers to go as far as 4 biblical miles to obtain water for washing prior to eating bread. More detail about ritual hand washing can be found here.

Above: Caroline Walker, "Birthing Pool", 2021

Above: Tuning out the world in a flotation tank. These isolation tanks were designed by John C. Lilly in 1954 to enable the user to experience absolute quiet and absolute darkness with a lessening of gravity. The tank is filled with water 10" high with enough epsom salt to keep a user floating with their head above water. When closed it's pitch black, light proof, and sound proof. The water is heated to the temperature of skin, so that there's no sensation of hot or cold. The experience actually enhances the sensations coming from within the body, such as breathing, and heartbeats. Lilly was interested in studying LSD effects and experimented with taking LSD in the flotation tank and also in the company of dolphins. He created a facility to explore the relationship of humans and dolphins.

Above: Pierre Bonnard (1867-1947), The Bath, 1925

Above: Yuki Ogura (1895-2000), Bathing Women, 1938

Photo: Anthony Cotsifas

Above: Hiroshi Sugimoto designed this apartment in New York City. Though the original commission was to design a tea room it developed into Sugimoto designing the whole apartment. Taking four years and much travel back and forth to Japan, using rare imported materials and importing craftsmen for the finishing touches, the project is a marriage of art and archtecture. The process and the methods as well as the thought behind the design are written about here.

Above: Marc-Charles-Gabriel Gleyre (1806-1874), The Bath, 1868

Above: The Gellert Thermal Baths in Budapest.

Above: Detail of design on a Krater depicting a girl washing her hair, ancient Greek civilization, 4th Century BC.

Above: Augustus John, "Washing Day", 1915. The model was John's partner, Dorelia McNeill. She was known for her distinctive style, influenced by Romani culture. She designed and made the clothes she wears here.

Above: Unidentified photographer, 1855-1920. Women with baskets in a river.

Above: Vanessa Bell (1879-1961), "The Tub", 1917

Above: Mary Cassatt (1844-1926), Woman Bathing, 1890-1891

Above: Part of the Roman Baths in Bath, UK.

Above: Caroline Walker, from the Bathhouse series. "After the Turkish Bath", 2015

Pablo Picasso (1881-1973), "The Pool" 1968

Above: James Dickson Innes (1887-1914), The Waterfall, 1910, watercolor and gouache.

Above: Toshio Shibata, Nikko City, Tochigi Prefecture, 2013. Truly a remarkable image. To quote his gallery: "Under Shibata's eye, the contemporary landscape becomes a mysterious abstract composition, the result of nature being intertwined with engineering".

Matthew Reamer/NY Times

Above: Lake Mead, on the Colorado River,  at the Hoover Dam. The Colorado River supplies drinking water to seven states as well as parts of Mexico, and irrigates 5.5 million acres of farmland. The electricity generated by the two main dams powers millions of homes and businesses. And the Colorado River's water levels are dangerously low. A temporary agreement to reduce water use has been negotiated until 2026, but much more needs to be done.

Above: Pierre Boncompain, Baignade a` Bali

Above: Peter Doig, Grande Riviere, 2002-2002

Above: Winslow Homer (1836-1910), Paddling at Dusk, 1892

Laura Clayton Baker

Above: In Omihachiman, half an hour from Kyoto, a canal runs through the small town with beautiful walkways on either side.

Above: Across from the Machiya we rented in Kyoto was this lovely stream/canal, running parallel to the Kamo River.

Below: Three page spreads from one of my favorite children's books..."Almost Nothing, Yet Everything" written by Hiroshi Osada with illustrations by Ryoji Arai. It's about water.

"It has no shape but can take any shape"

"It has no color but can be any color"

"You can touch it but you can't hold it"
"Even if you slice into it, it won't be cut"

Above: Piet Modrian, A Farm, 1901

Above: James Weeks (1922-1998), Berkshire Landscape, Boat Landing, 1972-1984. Weeks was a member of the Bay Area Figurative Movement, which included artists David Park, Richard Diebenkorn, Elmer Bischoff, and Wayne Thibaud among others.

Above: Click to listen to Jorgen Ingmann, La Mer.
Wait for the previous song to stop or you'll hear both at once! 

Above: Roger Muhl (1929-2008),  Bord de Mer

Above: Maurice Prendergast (1858-1924), Children at the Beach, 1896-1897. Incredible use of water colors.

Above: Raoul Dufy (1877-1953), La Mer, A bord de Queen Mary, 1937

Above: Milton Avery (1885-1965),  Sandbar and Sea, 1958

Above: Milton Avery (1885-1965), Sea Grasses and Blue Sea, 1958.

Above: Unknown...might be a detail of a painting or a finished work but I like it enough to include it.

Above and six pages below: From my husband, Steven's, journal

Above: Edward Wadsworth (1889-1949), Still Life, 1926

Above: Ithell Colquhoun (1906-1988), La Cathedrale Engloutie, or The Submerged Cathedral. The painting was inspired by the stone circles on the islet of Er-Lannic. The monuments are now half hidden by the waters of the Gulf of Morbihan, Brittany. Both this painting and Claude Debussy's piano piece of the same name, written in 1909-1910, were based on a legend from Brittany about The Cathedral of Ys sinking daily into the sea and rising again the following morning as a punishment for the local villager's sins. Colquhoun thinks the original builders of this stone circle may have intended this daily immersion in water as a dedication to the powers of sea and earth.

Above: Siro Cugusi Landscape #3, 2018

Above: Henri Matisse (1869-1954), Ropes on Entretat Beach, 1920.

Above: Felix Vallotton (1865-1925), Low Tide at Villerville, 1922. Vallotton was a prolific painter, choosing a wide range of subjects, as well as a printer, making striking woodcuts. 

Above: Harry Callahan (1912-1999), Cape Cod, 1980

Above: Akos Major, Couple Fishing, from ARCHIV-E

Above: Milton Avery (1885-1965), Sea Gazers, 1956

Above: Nicolas de Stael (1914-1955), Marseille under snow, 1954

Photo: Laura Clayton Baker

Above: Beautiful rock formation in Paradise Cove, Malibu.

Photo: Laura Clayton Baker

Above: Photo taken from a deck in Malibu.

Above: Milton Avery (1885-1965), Grey Sails, 1944

Above: Edouard Manet (1832-1883), Two Fishing Boats, 1868. From the book "Manet and the Sea".

Above: Gustave Courbet (1819-1877), The Waterspout, 1866

Above: Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775-1851), Beach, English Coast, 1835-40.

Above: Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775-1851) "Rain falling over the sea near Boulogne", 1845

Above: Water strider on Lily Lake. The cloud reflections in the water make the insect seem even more weightless, floating.

Above: Paul Henry (1876-1958), Incoming Tide, 1912.

Above: Edvard Munch (1863-1944), Young Woman on the Beach, 1896

Above: John Selby-Bigge (1892-1973),  Composition, 1936

Above: Sam Harper, Boxing Day, December 2021. 

Sam Harper, a screen writer who is currently writing a memoir, has only in the past few years become a photographer. And yet, he's focused on photography just when he's losing his sight due to a form of macular degeneration. He's been taking the most arresting photos during this time. The memoir in progress, "Disability, A Love Story" is about all the amazing places...geographical, emotional, and psychological, that his vision loss has taken him since being diagnosed 58 years ago. A piece from the memoir was published in the NY Times last fall in the Modern Love column. You can read it here. Recently Sam has been long distance biking (across the country), following behind a friend for direction. They bike mostly for the pleasure of it, but also as a way of raising money for research on his rare form of degeneration. A link to PXE International, the organization doing the research is here.

Above: John Derian, Provincetown Harbor, February 2017

Above: Caspar David Friedrich, Wanderer above the Sea of Fog, 1918

Above and below: Jasmine Swope, The Tides of El Matador.

Above: Vija Celmins, Ocean, 1975

Above and below: Nicolas Floc'h's spectacular underwater photos. In these images you are immersed...looking up at the water surface, down at the rippled sand or the sea grasses.

Above: Nicolas Floc'h, The Color of Water, water columns from the Bay of Somme to the English Channel, 2021, 60 color photographs organized geographically. The water color varies depending on it's distance from the coast and it's depth and is arranged in a grid defined by those two axes. 

Floc'h has been working with scientist Hubert Loisel since 2014 attempting to understand the biological elements that cause the variations in the color of water. The color of water is largely determined by phytoplankton, the first link in the food chain of life, and by sediments, organic, and inorganic matter. Phytoplankton is not only vital for marine species, but it plays an essential role in climate regulation, CO2 absorption and storage, and oxygen production. The ocean assimilates 25% of CO2 and produces more than half of the oxygen. Studying the color of the ocean is a way to see the state of the phytoplankton balancing our environment.

Laurent Lecat

Above: Nicolas Floc'h, "Productive Landscapes", Frac Provence Alpes Cote d'Azur

Above: Claude Monet (1840-1926), Seascape, 1866

Above: Edouard Manet (1832-1883), Seascape by Moonlight, 1873-1876. From the book "Manet and the Sea".

Above: JohnWitzig, Matakana Island, 1975

Above: Katsushika Hokusai, "Picture of Express Delivery Boats Rowing Through Waves".
There was a show at the MFA that just ended: Hokusai: Inspiration and Influence. You can read a great piece in the NYTimes about the show here. It focuses on the profound influence his work had on artists as varied as Gaugin and Lichtenstein.

Above: Ken Price (1935-2021), The Unridden Wave, 2000, ink and acrylic.

Above: Bonaventura Peeters the Elder (1614-1652), The Great Flood

Above: Marsden Hartley (1877-1943), The Spent Wave, Indian Point, Georgetown, Maine. 1937-38.

Above: Wilhelmina Barns-Graham (1912-2004), Island Sheds, St. Ives No 1

Above: Daphne McClure (Born 1930), St. Ives Harbor

Above: Martin Munkacsi (1896-1963), Woman in Rowboat, 1928.

Above: Jacques Trumphemus (1922-2017), Venice, 1960

Above: Florine Stettheimer (1871-1944), Lake Placid, 1919.

Above: Paul Resika, Sunset

Above: Raoul Dufy, "La Visite de L'escadre anglaise au Havre", 1927, gouache on paper.

Above: Paul Klee (1879-1940), Sailing Boats, 1927

Above: Milton Avery (1885-1965),  Indoor Sketcher, 1944. Interesting the way the pattern in the carpet echoes the waves through the window.

Above: Milton Avery (1885-1965),  The Letter, 1945. Love the view out the window...I can imagine a lovely summer spent there so close to the ocean in a room with flowered wallpaper.

Above: Ben Nicholson (1894-1982), St. Ives Bay: Sea with Boats, 1931

Above: Andrew Cranston, Think of Me as Withdrawn into Dimness, 2019. Bleach and distemper on harback book cover. A beautiful quote from the artist below:

" It began with my being drawn to a longish shaped blue book.
Then came the bleach; accidental stains made from a willful carelessness. Da Vinci's advice
  to look into the stains of walls, or the ashes of a fire, or clouds, or mud, or like places, in which, if you consider them well, you may find really marvelous ideas".
Bleach and then glue and blue pigment. There's hardly anything there at all. It is gossamer thin, slight art made from almost nothing, a breath on the bus window.
Think of me as withdrawn into this dimness
I saw it carved on a Victorian grave stone in Hawick years ago. I wrote it down and squirreled it away to use at some point. The trope of window sill...painting as window framing the world...still life and landscape...things close up and far away...Yachts on a book. Painted ships on a painted sea.

Above: Unknown...wonderful space, wonderful view.

Above: Winifred Nicholson (1893-1981), The Isle of Man from St. Bees, 1945.

Above: Claudio Bravo (1936-2011), Roses and Lemons, 2003.

Above: Carl Larsson, Flowers on the Windowsill, 1895, detail

Above: From "The Carrot Seed", a wonderful children's book about persevering and having faith in yourself. Story by Ruth Krauss, pictures by Crockett Johnson.

Above: Dorothea Lange (1895-1965), Hand Irrigation on Small Rented Subsistence Farm, Western Washington,1939.

Photo: Ann Rosener

Photo: Marie Viljoen
Above: Sprinklers at the, Cranford Rose Garden, a part of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.

Above: Photographer unknown. 

Above: Joy in the wet grass!

Above: Photographer unknown, found here.

Above: Photographer unknown. Found here.

Above: Edmund Vincent Gillon, Little Girl Playing at a Fire Hydrant, 1977.

Above: Music from Glenn Kotche, Mobile.
Make sure the previous song has stopped before starting this or you'll hear both at once. 

Above: Henry Gross and his Dowsing Rod, Doubleday, 1951.

Above and below: DigDeep

DigDeep is a charitable organization, working to bring running water to places in the United States without essential infrastructure for it. 

"Water is transformational. We're on a mission to get clean, hot and cold running water to more households, so families can stop hauling and start enjoying the simple miracle of a working tap". 

Currently they're focusing on three projects...

Currently 30% of families live without running water. They drive for miles to haul barrels of water to meet their basic needs. They carefully ration water for drinking, cooking, cleaning, and bathing. 

An assortment of issues have resulted in many Appalachians being without running water, from deteriorating pipes to mine contamination to the collapse of the local economy. Working with the local community DigDeep is beginning to bring clean running water to hundreds of families. Great piece on CNN here. Amazing to think that this is happening in our country.

More than 500,000 people live along the Texas-Mexico border in colonias...neighborhoods without basic services like running water, sewers, electricity, or roads. DigDeep is endeavoring to bring running water to these neglected places.

If you'd like to help donations can be made here.

Above: A McDowell County resident fills a glass of clean running water made possible by DigDeep and McDowell County.

Above: Elfriede Stegemeyer (1908-1988), My hand with water glass, 1933

Above: Elfriede Stegemeyer (1908-1988), Waterglass with spoon, 1934, Galerie Julian Sander.

Above: Rachel Whiteread, Water Tower, 1998, Translucent resin and painted steel.

Above and below: Roni Horn, Water, Selected, July 2003. 24 Glass columns, each holding approximately 53 gallons of water taken from unique glacial sources in Iceland. 120" high x 12" diameter each.

Above: William Bradford (1823-1892), The Arctic Regions, Illustrated with Photographs Taken on an Art Expedition to Greenland, 1873. Found this at Swann Galleries but no longer on their site.

Above: This photo is from the William Bradford book above. Could it be the same glacier as Lynn Davis photographed below, partially melted away?

Above: Hiroyuki Yamada, Alaska I, from ARCHIV-E

Above: Lois Dodd, Tree Shadow on Snow, 1995

Above: Fumi Koike, Cloudy Weather

Above: Lucas van Valckenborch (1535-1597), Winter Landscape with Snowfall near Antwerp, 1575

Above: Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890), Landscape with snow, Arles,1988.

Above: Maurice Denis (1870-1953), Rainfall in Brittany, 1889

Above: After rain, the Sankayou, also called the Glass Flower, becomes clear as ice.

Above: Lois Dodd (b. 1927) Flood, St. Francisville, Louisiana , 1984

Above: Howard Hodgkin (1932-2017), Spring Rain, 2000-2002

Above: Saul Leiter, Untitled

Above: Scene from Vittorio de Sica's "The Bicycle Thief", 1948

Above: Friedrich Seidenstucker (1882-1966), Woman Jumping Puddle, Berlin, 1925

Above: Katsushika Hokusai, Mount Fuji through rain drops.

Above: Elfriede Stegemeyer (1908-1988), Untitled, Face behind steaming window, 1935

Above: Illustration by Ernest H. Shepard, from a book of poetry by A.A. Milne. 

Below: In the 1970s there was a store in Provincetown called "The Rainbow Shop", run by Arnie and Maraleen Manos. They created these hand printed images which came in strips and were so optimistic. There were countless variations on the theme...my friends and I collected them. 

Leaving you there, with the magic of water making rainbows from water in the air.