The "Heartbreak in Our Waters" series is a departure from the Lora Lee Plummer’s usual bright and whimsical paintings.
The "Heartbreak in Our Waters" series is a departure from the Lora Lee Plummer’s usual bright and whimsical paintings.
Lora Lea Plummer, the October Artist of the Month at Sanibel Congregational United Church of Christ, is known for creating paintings that are saturated with bright color and have a whimsical quality.

While some of the work on view in her exhibit at the church this month fits that description, other newer paintings reflect a darker theme: the toxic environment caused by red tide and blue-green algae. The cheerful outlook is gone, replaced by somber colors and unsettling themes.

"I was in Jacksonville for a couple of weeks; and when I returned, I was appalled by the enormous number of dead fish and other sea life," said Plummer, a Sanibel resident and native Floridian. "This is supposed to be the Sunshine State, and there was death everywhere.”

While the sun appears in some of her new works, it's a hard-edged stylized design above a sea of red, gray, and black fish; amoeba-like shapes; and white, toxic-looking spots. Others paintings in this "Heartbreak in Our Waters" series show a sea teeming with creatures, but they're gray bodies in a gray sea, signifying the carnage in our waters. One bright yellow fish shines out among the gray-and-black shapes - the lone survivor.

Plummer, who is also a teacher at Sanibel Christian Preschool, a ministry of SCUCC, received a degree in graphic design from Southwest Florida College. Ordinarily, her bright paintings incorporate materials such as luminous beads and colored glass; but those aren't evident in her current work. Even her trademark multi-dimensional effects are gone from this new series. What remains, though, is the artist's passion.

The earlier and most-recent paintings present a striking contrast as they hang side by side in the church's Fellowship Hall. The exhibit may be seen during office hours when the room is not otherwise being used and on Sundays after the 7:45 and 10 a.m. services. The paintings are for sale, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting the SCUCC Memorial Fund.

Sanibel Congregational United Church of Christ is located at 2050 Periwinkle Way. For more information, call the office at 472-0497 or visit