The story behind the painting "Circling"
I was terrified of sharks. At least, I was when I first started scuba diving. I had bought into the myth of the man-eating mindless monsters. I grew up with the movie "Jaws" and every angry return or Jaws in the sequels and that was seared into my memory.
In reality, they weren't at all what I expected when I saw them for the first time while diving in the Bahamas. I don't really know what I expected but it wasn't this. They were elegant. They were so streamlined as they glided past me. They were hypnotic in their movements. But they were also powerful in how effortless they changed direction on a dime. They weren't at all interested in me but I couldn't stop gazing at them.
They were actually magical (as I've said about many creatures I've experienced underwater). To think that this creature had survived eons and eons of evolution and change in the environment. They've been around 400 millions years so there is clearly something we can learn from studying and understanding them.
That was a turning point for me and that was truly the first time I started to learn more about sharks and what was fact from fiction or myth. I've since learned so much about their features and strengths; different shark species, particularly their role in the ecosystem. When I painted "Circling" it was after I had gained an appreciation for sharks. They are graceful, powerful and mesmerizing in the water. I never tire of seeing them. Painting them is not something I do often but when I do, it's from a deep respect of experiencing these magnificent creatures underwater.
The truth is sharks will usually stay away from humans in spite of their reputation. This is just one of the MANY creatures that call the ocean home. I have so much to learn still! For now I'll explore these subjects in my paintings. I paint them to understand them and get people curious about them.
If you're interested in learning more about sharks check out these amazing resources and individuals working to dispel the myth of sharks as monsters.
Christina Zenato - Explorer, educator and conservationist sharing her vast knowledge and experience with sharks.
Sharks In Canada - The Canadian coastline is the longest in the world and as a result, is home to many shark species.
Sharks World - Information about shark species, habitat, breeding, and more.
WWF (World Wildlife Org) - Shark facts versus shark myths