Posted by: bluelanternstudio | June 27, 2011

Catch of the day: Capelin

The Capelin doesn’t look like a particularly glamorous fish, and I probably wouldn’t have painted it at all if I hadn’t learned about its spawning ritual.

Capelin (detail, acrylic on canvas, 24 x 12 inches)

Capelins live their lives in the deep sea. When it’s time to spawn, they return to coastal shorelines. When the tide is at its highest, the mothers deposit their eggs in the sand.  (I imagine under a full moon.)

Each female capelin deposits thousands of reddish, sticky eggs, which cling to the coarse grains of sand on the shore. As the tide ebbs, the eggs are buried deeper and deeper into the sand, protecting them. The baby capelins are born within a couple of weeks.

Capelin (by Robi Smith, Acrylic on canvas, 24 x 12 inches)

In painting the capelin, I wanted to hint at her story while also bringing attention to the fact that coastal development can severely affect fish that we may not even be aware of. In the case of capelins, it may not seem like a priority to protect shorelines for fish who only use it on one night of the year, but a whole biological cycle depends on it.

The capelin in my painting is somewhat confused and distressed at not being able to find the beach. It should be around here somewhere!

You can see more of my paintings from the same series here on my website. And be sure to check back next Monday for another ‘Catch of the Day’!


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