A Universe at the Beach: “Microcosm”

Earlier this year on a visit to the Oregon Coast, I captured this unique selfie.

With my sandals dangling from one hand and a bag slung over my shoulder, I leaned over with my camera and managed to capture my reflection in a tiny foamy bubble on the sand right before it popped!

Cedar Lee artist reference for painting “Microcosm:” Reflection in a bubble on the beach.

I captured this image of my reflection in the ephemeral surface of a bubble no more than an inch in size, but it struck me how the shiny surface of the bubble combined with the sand beneath it to look like the globe of a starry sky behind the figure.

The entire visible universe glimpsed within one square inch, within the space of one fleeting moment.

Microcosm. 36″ Diameter, Acrylic on Canvas, © 2021 Cedar Lee

Well, of course I had to paint this image on one of my round canvases!

Work in progress in the artist’s studio: Microcosm. 36″ Diameter, Acrylic on Canvas, © 2021 Cedar Lee
Microcosm. 36″ Diameter, Acrylic on Canvas, © 2021 Cedar Lee

I titled this painting “Microcosm” because it has the feeling of the infinity of the entire cosmos encapsulated within this one tiny bubble that only existed for a few seconds.

Detail: Microcosm. 36″ Diameter, Acrylic on Canvas, © 2021 Cedar Lee

mi·cro·cosm/ˈmīkrəˌkäzəm/ Learn to pronounce noun

  1. a community, place, or situation regarded as encapsulating in miniature the characteristic qualities or features of something much larger. “Berlin is a microcosm of Germany, in unity as in division”
    • humankind regarded as the epitome of the universe. “the belief in correspondences between the Universe and Man—between microcosm and macrocosm”
Microcosm. 36″ Diameter, Acrylic on Canvas, © 2021 Cedar Lee

If you look at this painting just so, it looks like a 3-D bubble protruding from the wall!

Detail: Microcosm. 36″ Diameter, Acrylic on Canvas, © 2021 Cedar Lee

Besides the central human figure, there are the silhouettes of other small figures caught in the periphery, their reflections spread out from their feet onto the shiny wet sand, so they appear mirrored above and below the line of the ground.

On the right, a closer figure stands above the ocean spray of the waves crashing on the sand.

Detail: Microcosm. 36″ Diameter, Acrylic on Canvas, © 2021 Cedar Lee

The grains of sand on the ground double as stars scattered across a deep blue sky!

Detail: Microcosm. 36″ Diameter, Acrylic on Canvas, © 2021 Cedar Lee

This painting inspires thoughts about our ability to access the infinite within the everyday moments of life.

Microcosm. 36″ Diameter, Acrylic on Canvas, © 2021 Cedar Lee

This painting is a 36″ diameter circle which makes a huge statement piece on the wall!

Microcosm. 36″ Diameter, Acrylic on Canvas, © 2021 Cedar Lee

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