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Sculptural Watercolour®  l'Aquarelle sculpturale


The Mer de Glace, Chamonix, France 2022

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La Mer de Glace

Sculptural Watercolour® 2022 in a box frame 60 x 80 x 7 cm

It is probably already too late to save this most famous glacier that thousands still visit every year.

We now see what is left of the Mer de Glace in the vicinity of the 2022 ice cave that is out of view but burrowed into the same mass of blue-tinged ice in the centre of the painting. On the extreme top right, and now very small, is the pinnacle of Les Drus: the subject of the previous Sculptural Watercolour.

Several decades ago, when we first took the little train from Chamonix to Montenvers, we descended a not very long path to the ice where a huge cave had been made, and we all stepped onto the ice, and some walked across to the other side. A decade or so later, a lift was installed to get visitors to the artificial ice-cave - that was only a few steps down from where the lift stopped.

This year, 2022, from where the lift stopped was the beginning of a very long descent by walkways and steps; about 430, and of course the same to climb back up. On the way down, we passed signs telling us where the top of the ice had been in particular years, such as the year 2000. Instead of a sea of ice, we were now in a massive empty valley. What was left of this ice was covered in rocks. The steps led to a greatly-reduced ice cave, and we were informed that it would be the last in this location. An entirely new lift system would be constructed much further up the Mer de Glace valley, where there was sufficient ice, at least for the next few years, to make an attractive ice-cave for the visitors. This last ice-cave here was burrowed out of a last-remaining large and solid section of blue-coloured ice. Prue Bishop's painting takes part of this ice as its central theme, with a last wave of ice in the middle distance. But below the beautiful blue ice is a small yet ominous dark-grey pool of water; it's already melting and we've not yet reached spring, let alone summer.

Only by visiting this location may one fully appreciate the absolutely staggering amount of ice that has melted. This brings us into direct contact with our failure to date to halt Global Warming, with these first changes already here, and with many more and much worse on the way.



A Last Wave from the Sea of Ice.

Detail from the above Sculptural Watercolour®

As you follow through this Global Warming series of paintings, you will come to one called Aveyron Gorge or Sources of the Arveyron (river). The lower part of the Mer de Glace once passed through this gorge, and on down to the floor of the Chamonix Valley. This lower extension was called the Glacier des Bois because it passed through a completely wooded area. Today, there is no ice here at all; the Glacier des Bois, the lowest part of the Mer de Glace, is long gone.



In the video below, Prue Bishop observes at first hand in 2021, the lamentable state of the once wonderful Mer de Glace.

To run the video, some of you may need to click on the little triangular icon. For full screen, click on the little square icon



Global Warming Index

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