Sea urchins

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Sea urchins (8″ x 8″ oil on raised gesso board)

This is part of another tidal pool. (I’ve painting a couple before – like this one.) There are always fascinating creatures to see. I love how the sea urchins look like purple flowers.

Tom’s delightful poem was inspired by my painting and also this little video that shows the life cycle of the sea urchin …I had no idea!

A journey of a thousand leagues
once ended on this rocky beach
where larvae lost and sore fatigued
sank below while seagulls screeched
and minnows darted as the waves
swept the larvae, small and brave
across the reefs to sheltered spots
where they clung to fecund rocks
so ripe with seaweed, all they need
to grow into an urchin there
protected by their spiky hair
until it’s time for them to breed
and send new larvae on their quest
for distant shores on stormy crests.

image (c) 2020 Hilary Farmer
poem (c) 2020 TJ Radcliffe

I’m a star, you’re a star

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I’m a star, you’re a star (oil on 6″ x 6″ raised panel)

While I find these tidal pool creatures fascinating and beautiful, there is also something strange and improbable about them. Technically, I was trying to get the sense of the sunlight using glints of bright colours. Definitely fun to paint!

Tom’s poetic take on the subject is a playful spin on a childhood rhyme.

When you wish upon a star
be careful of your wish’s aim:
a ball of gas, quite hot and far,
or something else that shares its name?
For an echinoderm will not
grant the wish that you have got
nor will it listen to appeals
from a human. All your feels
are as nothing to a fish
of the starry ocean kind
which may leave you in a bind
if to it you entrust your wish!
So when you wish, wish on a sun
beneath whose light strange creatures run.

image (c) 2019 Hilary Farmer
poem (c) 2019 TJ Radcliffe

Tidal pool

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Tidal Pool (6″ x 6″ oil on raised panel)

Since visiting and then moving to the west coast of Canada, I have had the opportunity to explore nature of kinds that are vastly different from what I grew up with in Ontario. One thing that is especially different and fascinating are tidal pools. Sometimes, a casual glance is rewarded with the view of colourful creatures but even if not, the longer you look, the more you see. Tiny fish, or crabs scuttling along – sometimes wearing someone else’s shell, barnacles using their little feet to kick food into their mouths and it goes on – I couldn’t make this up! Anyway, anemones are one of the more obvious and beautiful creatures to see.

Here is Tom’s playful poem!

An enemy of anemone is my friend
for what do lurking colours oft portend?
A fish ensnared within the lair
of tentacles: entrapped unto its end!

A reticent young innocent defends
the fish whose tail now flailingly extends
from the grip of poisoned nips
of tentacles: a saving hand descends!

A true ally I’ll be, shall I transcend
our different species? For I apprehend
a soul at risk, and so I whisk
off tentacles: the fish no more condemned!

image (c) 2019 Hilary Farmer
poem (c) TJ Radcliffe

tidal pool …ink and watercolour

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tidal pool

It has only been fairly recently in my life that I have had the opportunity to spend much time near an ocean. One of the beautiful mysteries that result from the rising and lowering of the tides are the tidal pools. These pockets of water range in size and contents but even small ones usually have some signs of life and a good long stare is rewarded with a miniature darting crab, the spotting of an anemone, limpit or sea urchin. Once your eyes are in tune, a tiny world comes into focus.

Tom grew up with tidal pools so his haiku is in sync with the pool and the season.

patiently waiting
anemones and urchins
cool spring tide rises

image (c) 2018 Hilary Farmer
poem (c) 2018 TJ Radcliffe

tidal pool…

star fish...

This is meant to look like a tidal pool. All kinds of fauna can be in the pools left behind when the tide goes out – in this case a star fish may be perhaps a bit lonely until the tide brings the ocean back and some new fishy friends…

I was trying to get a painterly texture here and I think that part is fairly successful – the pool doesn’t look as wet as I wanted though… practice, practice…

image (cc) 2010 Hilary Farmer