Poignant Paintings Depict Land Animals Half-Submerged in Rising Sea Water

“Islands” Animal Paintings by Lisa Ericson

Known for her hyperrealistic animal paintings, Portland-based artist Lisa Ericson is back with a new series of work that defies the natural order of the animal kingdom. Titled Islands, Ericson’s latest string of surreal paintings is a continuation from her previous Mobile Habitats and Border Crossing series. Each piece highlights our ever-changing climates by visualizing land animals half-submerged in rising waters, while marine life swims and grows around their feet.

Ericson began the series by painting turtles carrying plant life, insects, and birds on their shells. “They are mini ecosystems on the backs of turtles who have been displaced, cut off, or submerged by changing climates, rising sea levels, and human disruption.” Ericson tells My Modern Met. “They become their own islands.”

The series then evolved to feature larger mammals, such as a deer, a flamingo, and even a bear. The bear piece (titled Beacon) is inspired by a rare subspecies of black bears that live in coastal British Columbia. Their unusual pale fur color is caused by a recessive gene, and they are often called “spirit” or “ghost” bears. Ericson’s painting depicts the furry mammal standing on a rock of seaweed, while barnacles cling to his legs. In another piece (titled Bleach), a flamingo’s lower legs are concealed by red a white coral—a stark, visual reminder of coral bleaching caused by rising ocean temperatures.

Check out Ericson’s fantastical paintings below and find more of her work on her website.

Lisa Ericson's latest paintings depict animals half-submerged in rising sea waters.

“Islands” Animal Paintings by Lisa Ericson

The series highlights our ever-changing climates, and the effect it has on the animal kingdom.

Animal Paintings by Lisa Ericson

Turtles carry tiny ecosystems on their backs, as if they are their own islands.

Animal Paintings by Lisa Ericson

Animal Paintings by Lisa Ericson

Animal Paintings by Lisa Ericson

Animal Paintings by Lisa Ericson

Lisa Ericson: Website | Facebook | Instagram

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by Lisa Ericson.

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Surreal Animal Paintings Reimagine Wildlife and Their Connection to Nature

Interview: Street Artist Creates Endangered Animal Paintings to Help Raise Awareness

Emma Taggart

Emma Taggart is a Contributing Writer at My Modern Met. Originally from Northern Ireland, she is an artist now based in Berlin. After graduating with a BA in Fashion and Textile Design in 2013, Emma decided to combine her love of art with her passion for writing. Emma has contributed to various art and culture publications, with an aim to promote and share the work of inspiring modern creatives. While she writes every day, she’s also devoted to her own creative outlet—Emma hand-draws illustrations and is currently learning 2D animation.
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