With a studio perched high on a mountainside overlooking the idyllic California coastline, Dasha Guilliam needn’t look far for artistic inspiration. Each day brings new skies, new sand, and new opportunities to pay homage to the ocean, natural world, and local community she so reveres.
In addition to honoring nature and expressing her love of the sea, each of Dasha’s pieces is designed to instill a strong emotional response in the viewer. Her art pieces are much more than paintings of the ocean: each work is a snapshot of a specific time and place; a tangible, three dimensional sculpture that speaks to all the senses.
The unique calming effects of Dasha’s work has led many hospitals, surgeons, and dentists to commission her work, helping patients relax on all three levels: mind, body, and spirit. At galleries, it is not uncommon for visitors to ask to meditate in front of her art pieces, citing her work’s meditational qualities.
Private collectors enjoy the stories told by the specific sands Dasha uses in her pieces, with varying colors and textures telling the story of their birth. Dasha goes to great lengths to incorporate these unique attributes into her pieces, always traveling to the locations where the pieces were inspired to collect authentic sand on location.
While at the Sea of Cortez, for example, Dasha collected coarse particles of sand from the shore, later combining their texture with burnt oranges and deep blues to capture the passionate clash between strong desert heat and cool ocean waters. The piece now resides in the private vacation resort of a collector with sentimental ties to the area.
In her Caribbean collection, Dasha uses finer sands collected there to speak to the gentler currents which brought the particles ashore, combined with soft transitions from turquoise to white.
The artist’s deep love of the ocean can be traced back to a profound spiritual experience she had in Florida at the age of 17. Dasha documented the moving experience in her journal, practicing her newly honed English skills (she had moved to the United States from Ukraine just one year before):
“While standing alone on the shore, I felt the spirit of two long lost lovers: a sailor who died at sea and the woman he had left behind. An image flashed through my mind of a young Spanish bride standing alone on the shore right where I now stood, waiting longingly for her beloved to return. He had promised to love her forever, a pact his soul would keep even if his body could not. I sensed him watching from the stars and whispering love through the waves. I felt him and he felt me. I realized then that you can fall in love with the ocean like you can fall in love with a man. “