Monday 14 June 2010

The Ripple Effect - Haematopus ostraleguis






Who could not love a bird called a Haematopus Ostraleguis?  According to my very well handled and battered bird book, Oystercatchers are found on coasts worldwide - apart from the polar regions and some tropical regions of Africa and South East Asia. My rather naive representation of this black and white species of Oystercatcher is found all along British coastlines and waterways. Bold in voice and body, this handome bird is often seen probing the shores with its stout red bill for earthworms, cockles and mussels, but rarely has it ever been seen to actually polish off an oyster.  Well, certainly not by me - but that could be because I manage to get to those tasty molluscs first if I can!  In the early evenings their enormous, tight flocks create an incredibly loud en masse chorus of 'kleep-a -kleep' piping trills which inevitably has everyone teetering over backwards as they gaze skyward in thrall.  During courtship, this fellow can be seen tearing along the sand like a madman behind or beside his intended mate in the hope of winning her affection and deterring his rivals.  I often wonder if, by the time he has managed to woe her, he is not too exhausted to perform the required act of procreation!

On a more serious note, here is a message from Kathy Light on why the prompt for this particular Illustration Friday topic is so important:

"It's hard to make ripples in oil soaked water. But throw enough stones and you will!

It's not about the politics or the corporation. It's about the animals. It's about not feeling helpless in the face of an overwhelming disaster. We're illustrators. We don't lose touch with that kid inside who marvels at the creatures who swim below and fly above the sea. We draw them. We are inspired by them. We need to help them.

The Ripple blog was started on the 45th day of the Deepwater Horizon Catastrophe. The oil spill in the Gulf is now over 50 days old with no sign of stopping. We may be too small as individuals to do some grand gesture- but together our small gestures can be grand.

This week's Illustration Friday topic is "Ripple"  and I ask you to consider creating your work this week as a small 2.5"  x  3.5" sketchcard. The subject should pertain somehow to the Gulf - the oil spill - the oceans and the creatures that live in it and around it. The cards can be submitted to  as a jpeg along with your links and a few sentences about you (ie: where you live, etc).

These will be made available for a small donation of $10.00 to either  The Institute for Marine Mammal Studies ( or The International Bird Rescue Research Center (  I have no affiliation with them. Every penny will go. When the cards sell, We ask for a donation confirmation and you will be asked to sign the back with a thank you. Then mail them to the address you are sent. If we all do small acts together- we can cause a ripple- and it can grow. We can DO SOMETHING.  Thank you, thank you for checking this out and thinking about it." ~ Kelly Light

You can see some wonderful contributions by other artists by clicking on this link


ArtSparker said...

This is a lovely watercolor.

The ripplesketches model seems to work really well - something about the simplicity and the set price.

Silke Powers said...

Dearest Tessa! I love your artwork! And I love oystercatchers - saw my first one here on the coast a couple of years ago. I will have to check out the ripplesketches link... I hope you are doing well, dear friend!! Much love, Silke

Karina Russell said...

Hi Tessa,
I stumbled across your blog a few months ago and have been a reader ever since. Today's entry about the art cards to benefit the Gulf Coast struck home. I lived in Mississippi for ten years and recently moved away, so I know how everyone feels about this devastation on the heels of hurricane Katrina. It is overwhelming. I, too am an artist and writer and will post something on my blog about the art card benefit for the Gulf.

I thoroughly enjoy your art work and entries. Thank you for bringing this cause to our attention. My best to you.

P.S. another blog friend had an entry today about a South African dog that was a new breed to me, but a beautiful one. He is a South African Boerboel and lives in California, U.S.A. Her entry can be seen at She is also an artist, so I will pass this on to her. Today really does feel like 'six degrees of separation'.

Elizabeth said...

Such a wonderful bird picture. How clever of you to know what it is!
We in the US are depressed and overwhelmed by the oil spill.
I would gladly spend a lot more for petrol (since we do not own a car!)I will not go off on this topic.

ps the landscape book is lovely!

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Thanks so much for this post. Such an overwhelming tragedy continuing to happen on the gulf. It's just heartbreaking. I've linked to the International Bird Rescue in my latest post as well. We all need to do whatever we can in spite of our despair.

xxx said...

I very much like this illustration.
well done :)

Carol said...

Is there a time limit on entries? I'm not at home at the moment but would be more than happy to do something for this cause when I get back...I think it's an amazing idea!!

C x

Unknown said...

I just checked out your blog. And now I am a follower. I thought I was living in the most beautiful place on earth, but after seeing your photos I am second guessing it! I know what it's like to be homesick. I left my homeland for 18 years, and only moved back a year ago. It's so good to be back!!
I love this bird picture too, by the way. You are very free with it, which I envy!

Jinksy said...

Haematopus Ostraleguis? Name as beautiful as your painting!

Oberon said...

...very nice...i changed the date on your drafts at globalove think tank to keep them near the top of the page...please tell me if you are still able to access them...

Nicky Linzey said...

I love your oystercatcher - they are great birds and this is a wonderful interpretation Tessa.

Gina Perry said...

Really lovely and powerful image, in a small package.

Yoli said...

I am so in love with this image.

Beth Kephart said...

I am enormously heartbroken by this oil spill.


And enormously leavened by friends like you.

Catching the Magic said...

What a wonderful idea for such a tragedy. We have lots of oyster catchers where we live and I admire them often. I read your post with great interest and will help to spread the word x

justdoodleit said...

Bold and beautiful Oystercatcher!

subvertc said...

Been following your blog for several months now, and I have to say, Grade A posts!!

And this post, I love the colours.

Mary Taylor said...

Thanks to Karina Russell I have found you. I'm sure I will return many times. I have a website where I
'fish from my stream of consciousness' so to speak. That is just my excuse for bouncing from one thing to another like a kid at play. Hope you'll drop by and take a look. Mary Taylor