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Water - The Giver of Life

Deborah Belknap's avatar Deborah Belknap

Water – “The Giver of Life” As an artist living on the Ausable River, I am passionate about preserving our Michigan lakes, rivers, and Great Lakes. Using birch bark as the main medium, I have chosen to depict a Native American traversing a pristine river to illustrate the co-dependence between nature and those who protect it. Native Americans respected our land, the wildlife, and our waters, saying that water was “the giver of life”. Though this is an oil painting, the hand sewn birch canoe, the paddle, hands and arms are from real (ethically harvested) birch bark and extend toward the viewer, creating a dimensional aspect. The painting is framed by 20 smaller images of the forests, fish, birds and animals that depend on our waters. They were created with layers of birch bark, twigs, stone and wood to connect them and those who view them to the beauty of the natural world. The Native Americans, the original caretakers of our waters and forests, were nearly erased from the land. The grayling (trout), wolverine, wolf and moose WERE made extinct from Michigan and the eagle was endangered. Development and overuse could also put the creatures and woodlands we cherish today in jeopardy. This piece is meant to be both a celebration of the magnificent beauty we enjoy and a reminder of what we have to lose. See my art work in Ausable Artisan Village, Grayling and Ward & Eis Gallery, Petoskey.

Entry Details
  • Art form: 2-D
  • Depth: 3 inches
  • Medium: oil painting and birch bark
  • Width: 8 ft
  • Year created: 2021
  • Height: 6 ft