Born Again

One widespread grievance is not entirely true after all. The oil and gas community has not yet been completely taken over by engineers, accountants, lawyers and computer wizards.

There are still enough geologists around - or at least, people who appreciate the profession of discovery - to create a growing market for art that evokes their role.

The artist, Carol Short, worked as a secretary for Mobil Oil Canada in Calgary when geologists still ruled the roost in the late 1960s. Short moved to Vancouver and switched into different fields. But the experience of the petroleum industry's "explorationist" phase left an indelible impression. As a painter, Short says she went through a standard progression of subject matter and techniques including floral imagery, landscapes and representational approaches. she was just "getting more into the abstract" when her experiences in the oil and gas community came back to her. "It was just a light bulb that went on." She started painting images that celebrate the ancient seas, reefs and beaches tracked down by geologists as the sedimentary basins where the remains of prehistoric plants and animals cook into oil and gas.
Short embarked on a new painting style to capture the natural geometry of fossils and sea shells. From an artist's point of view, she says "you can't beat mother nature's designs. You can't improve on them. They're so beautiful in their own right. Other art bored me after a while. This form just keeps coming and coming."
Her work does well at art shows, and she recently broke into the rich office decoration market by selling a piece to the wife of a prominent oilman as a birthday gift for his business lair. Short's work has become a fixture of a specialty shop called Geo-Stones in Bankers Hall, the showcase mall for high-end retailing in the heart of the oil and gas related financial communities.

"It's just kind of amazing... the work is getting known."
Gordon Jaremko
Oilweek, November 2, 1998