Time and Tide Bell ~ 200Fish

A Continuing Arts Programme facing Lincolnshire's Coast

#200Fish is a community project to create works of art based on each of the species of fish found in the North Sea

To learn more and find out how to join the project click here.

Fishy Tales 1
Fish #126 Blackbelly Rosefish Helicolenus dactylopterus ~ Sylvia Causer
Watercolour and acrylic ink on black paper 29 x 21 cm.

Fishy Tales 2
Fish #126 Blackbelly Rosefish Helicolenus dactylopterus ~ Sylvia Causer
Watercolour, pen, acrylic ink and Brusho on paper 21 x 29 cm.

Blackbelly Rosefish

Let me introduce you to Blackbelly rosefish or, to use its Sunday name - Helicolenus dactylopterus. With a name evoking images of pirates, this fish's behaviour includes threatening and dastardly deeds similar to that of a marauder...Shiver me timbers! Typically, it is a sit-and-wait predator with a highly cryptic colouration. A versatile fish, hovering at depths between 50 and 1,100m, it is usually found in a range of 150 to 600m. It can be found patrolling the western seas from Nova Scotia to Venezuela and in the east, from Iceland to South Africa including the entire Mediterranean Sea. Depending on availability, it feasts on crustaceans, fishes, squid and sometimes, worms and sea urchins. Obviously, it can only tackle prey smaller than itself, but it is nonetheless, ruthless in its pursuits. Spines are its armaments, and as with other species of scorpionfish, they contain toxic venom capable of injuries to humans but little is known of its particular brand of poison. An arsenal of spines possibly contributes to its longevity, a whopping 43 years, and with an average length of 25 cm, a feisty fish for one so small. Blackbelly rosefish is the most commercial of the scorpion species in the Mediterranean, and due to a depletion of traditional resources, it is fast becoming a bycatch fish with important economic value. I understand it's quite tasty too.

Blackbelly rosefish called to me initially because of its name, and on discovering its beautiful form, pink colouration and, its audacious character, I was hooked. As an artist, Pink is a big part of my life; I am a performance artist in a duo called Pink and grAy, I'm often dressed in pink, and whenever there is an opportunity to paint in hues of my favourite colour, I'm first in the queue!

Fish #126 Blackbelly Rosefish Helicolenus dactylopterus ~ Suzanne Barratt
Acrylic, ink and digital media 21 x 29 cm.

For Sale

Blackbelly Rosefish

Despite the fact that many people say this fish is ugly, I think it's very cool and also rather quirky! For starters you can't tell from simply looking at it, but the blackbelly rosefish is named for its belly. On the outside the belly of the fish looks like the rest of its body, but the internal lining of its belly is black. It also goes by the name of a bluemouth because (you've guessed it!), the inside of its mouth is blue and redfish because, well, that hardly needs explaining.

This is one of the most common bony fishes on the continental slope where its cryptic colouration is perfect for a 'sit and wait' feeding behaviour. It has no swim bladder so with this fish it really is a case of 'sink or swim' and deep soft sea bottoms are the ideal place for them to stand on their pectoral fins and wait for a juicy morsel to come their way. When it does, the attack is speedy and violent. The blackbelly rosefish is a type of scorpionfish and is armed with bony spines covered in venomous mucus. It can live to be 40 years old, and it has an interesting breeding talent. After breeding the female blackbelly rosefish can store sperm within her ovaries to delay egg fertilization and even spawn multiple batches of young after a single mating event. Now, that is rather neat don't you think? And, should you ever catch one and decide to cook it, it's rumoured to be very tasty.

I was inspired to paint this particular fish as I love colour and have always been fascinated by marine life. I spent most of my teenage years in Plymouth or on the South Devon coast and took a degree in zoology which gave me lots of opportunities to study marine life. I gave up art at school to follow the sciences but came back to it later in life. I'm merely an amateur but I do so enjoy it!

I am largely self-taught and work in a variety of mediums although I always seem to come back to my first love of watercolour, without or without pen. Lucky for you then that I can't intellectualise about my art, I don't have complex reasons for doing it, and I often don't know why I paint a certain subject except it appeals to me at the time. As you can tell I like bright colours and, possibly because I started out as a biologist, I like the natural form although I also enjoy drawing and painting buildings. For most of my working life I taught science but rediscovered my love of drawing and painting in later life.

Fish #126 Blackbelly Rosefish Helicolenus dactylopterus ~ Janet Howe
Watercolour 24 by 30 cm

For Sale

Blackbelly Rosefish

The Blackbelly Rosefish usually lives between 150 and 600m down, in the Atlantic Ocean from Norway to the Azores and between Canada and South Africa, which includes the North Sea. As an adult it is usually about 25 cm long and examples have been found up to 43 years old. It is a bony fish with 12 dorsal spines and 3 anal ones and a pectoral fin. It is orange-pinkish in colour, brighter at the top and paler underneath, with darker markings in the form of bands and blotches. It generally lives at the bottom of the ocean on the continental shelf and so feeds on crustaceans, fishes, cephalopods and echinoderms.

I was intrigued to read it described as 'a sit and wait' predator which conjured visions of my fish lurking in the depths until something tasty passed by. I think its name comes from the dark colour of its insides - but what really attracted me was its vibrant exterior, not something I expected in a North Sea fish. It has a venom gland and its spines have caused injury to humans so we would be well advised to leave it to enjoy its life in peace!
I attend watercolour classes run by Community Learning Milton Keynes and I enjoy them very much.

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Lincolnshire Time and Tide Bell Community Interest Company is a not-for profit organisation, registered at Companies House. Company Number 10934941