“Ocean is more ancient than the mountains, and freighted with the memories and the dreams of Time.”
– H.P. Lovecraft
Throughout June, I participated in the FOR PLANET OCEAN art challenge on Instagram. Be sure to check out the @ForPlanetOcean account to learn more about this challenge and its organizers.
There were five prompts:
- Coral Reefs
- Blue Mind
- Artivism: Protect What You Love
- Deep Sea: Mysterious Depths
- Seagrass: Planting A Future
Having grown up on an island, I love the ocean and feel most completely at peace when I am standing on the shore, looking out at the waves and the endless blue. I always welcome any opportunity to observe the ocean and its creatures and to try and capture some of their awe-inspiring beauty and mystery in my art.
“I can mention many moments that were unforgettable and revelatory. But the most single revelatory three minutes was the first time I put on scuba gear and dived on a coral reef. It’s just the unbelievable fact that you can move in three dimensions.”
– David Attenborough
Coral reefs are stunning underwater ecosystems that rival rainforests in their biodiversity! Sadly, our coral reefs are threatened by pollution, climate change, and irresponsible fishing practices and some of them have already been completely destroyed. Not only are they incredibly beautiful to look at but they support the lives of many, many marine creatures – so we definitely need to step up and consider how our actions impact them.
“Water quiets all the noise, all the distractions, and connects you to your own thoughts.”
-Wallace J. Nichols, from Blue Mind
Artivism: Protect What You Love
“The sea, the great unifier, is man’s only hope. Now, as never before, the old phrase has a literal meaning: we are all in the same boat.”
Art can help raise awareness for causes and influence change. Nature Art can inspire people to learn more about the natural world around them and find ways to get involved with conservation.
In this piece I wanted to illustrate the beauty and biodiversity of the flora and fauna that can be found in our oceans. We still haven’t explored all of the mysteries that the waters hold but we are causing them a great deal of strain with over-fishing, pollution, and the effects of climate change to name a few.
Oceans regulate the Earth’s temperature and generate most of the oxygen that we breathe. Marine ecosystems, such as mangroves and seagrasses help store a lot of carbon emissions, and so are a vital part of the fight against climate change.
Deep sea habitats are incredibly biodiverse and have up to (and maybe more than) 10 million species! And the vast majority of the ocean has yet to be explored still! I don’t want to go into all of the ways in which the ocean’s flora and fauna benefit humans – because I don’t think that’s the point. Instead, we need to remember that our actions directly impact the lives of these precious creatures, so we need to do our best to care for them.
Deep Sea: Mysterious Depths
“Although we couldn’t have been more different — I, a terrestrial vertebrate constrained by joints and bound to air; she, a marine mollusk with not a single bone, who breathed water — she was clearly as curious about me as I was about her.”
-Sy Montgomery, The Soul of An Octopus
The fourth prompt of @ForPlanetOcean was Deep Sea: Mysterious Depths and I decided to do a surreal colored pencil drawing of an octopus – because they are beautiful, mysterious, intelligent (classified as the most intelligent invertebrate), recognize people they commonly see, playful, can use tools, open jars of food, and solve puzzles… so many cool facts!!
Also, the giant Pacific octopus (Enteroctopus dofleini) can be found off the coast of Washington State, where I live, so I want to give them some art-y love!
This is the largest octopus species, with a record of a 71-kilogram (157-pound) one weighed live.
While it can be found to ocean depths of about 4,920 feet (1500 m), it is mostly found in shallow waters to 16 feet (5 m) deep.
Seagrass: Planting A future
“The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever.”
— Jacques Cousteau
I adore turtles so I had to include one in this painting!
Seagrasses are the only flowering plants that grow underwater in marine environments. They got the name because of the long, blade-like appearance of many of the different species in the group.
Seagrasses spread along long stretches to look like terrestrial grasslands and they contain an incredible range of biodiversity! For example, they provide a nursery for baby turtles of all species as well as food for all ages of green turtles… which is how Green Turtles also get their green color!!
Unfortunately a great number of seagrass species are also listed as Threatened or Near-Threatened due to a combination of factors such as storms, disease, pollution, and human activity along the coast, such as motorboats, fishing, and development.
This art challenge has been in support of Project Seagrass, an organization working towards the protection of seagrass meadows. Be sure to check them out for more information and ways to help.