Serica Exploration

Serica is an oil exploration company with sites around the world. In 2009 I was invited by them to stage an exhibition and was re invited for 2010.

I thought it would be a good idea to paint some pictures involving the oil exploration business for the new 2010 exhibition and to this end, asked if I could visit an oil rig. Serica embraced this idea whole heartedly and offered to organise everything. I was warned I would have to undergo a 3 day ‘Health and Safety’ course in order to qualify for an offshore trip on a helicopter. The 3 day course included learning first aid, fire fighting, lifeboat drill and last but not least, escaping from a ditched helicopter. Once safely strapped into the dummy helicopter hull, we were lowered into a swimming pool until fully submerged, then turned upside down and asked to force open the window before releasing our seat belts and escaping out the window to the surface. We did this 5 times. I must admit that as I was hanging upside down, underwater and waiting for the bubbles to clear, I did think, “what price Art?”

The subsequent trip out to a rig in the North sea was an education in extremes. Winds gusting 40 to 60 knots and rain in horizontal sheets lashed the rig for most of my visit. I had a 2 hour window on the last day, when the sun shone briefly, just before my trip back on the helicopter. The results can be seen in the following pictures. The whole adventure was a real wake up call and has invigorated my painting. I’d love the opportunity to do more. Nature in the raw is truly awesome!

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