CHITO REEF OCTOPUS ACRYLICS ON CEDAR W/RED OAK FRAME FALL 2014
While living by Neah Bay on the Olympic Peninsula, I had the opportunity to visit and study intertidal life at many of the local beaches. I was able to devote the majority of the spring semester of my Advanced Biology class to studying the rocky intertidal and to do zonation studies with my class. We would collect and record data by identify the organisms seen and their relative abundance for each study beach. It was personally beneficial to me that a good study area happened to be very close to our home at Island View. Just off of the rocky point where Chito Beach Resort is located sits a small “reef” that becomes exposed to air only at the lowest tides. During such a low tide, many intertidal organisms can be observed “up close and personal”. Once, when my daughter Jessie was young, we went exploring Chito reef while I proceeded to collect data, clipboard in hand. As we waded by the reef I spotted something that I had never before seen on my explorations. It was an amazing baby octopus! I was thrilled! I carefully picked the baby up and put it on my clipboard so that Jess could get a good view. While it slithered about I happened to glance downward. Under a large rock was a brief view of a very large tentacle with very large suckers. We quickly put the baby back into the tide pool and made a quick retreat. Was it the baby’s parent beneath that rock or just another coincidental adult octopus? We would never know; we just thought it was a good idea to get away immediately. Whatever the case, it made for a memorable day at Chito reef and led me to paint my experience from that special day. Tsimshian artist David Boxley’s “Killer Whales Battle with the Devilfish” cedar panel painting was inspirational in helping me design my painting. The internal structure of the octopus in my painting was inspired by the Celtic Revival entrelac of designer Archibald Knox. I made the frame out of red oak using pegged, hand-joined, mortise-and-tenon construction methods. I used the Japanese technique (shou-sugi-ban) of charring and oiling the oak to finish the frame.