To learn more and find out how to join the project click here.
Fish #199 Atlantic Halibut Hippoglossus hippoglossus ~ Jenny Sanderson
Textile and up-cycled plastic bottles 55 x 105 cm
The Atlantic Halibut is the largest species of flatfish on the planet - with the record fish weighing more than a baby African elephant! (3metres long and weighing 233kg) The Atlantic Halibut population has declined throughout its range over the last 200 years. Atlantic Halibut are particularly vulnerable to over-fishing because they grow slowly and mature late and some populations have almost been wiped out in many areas. The Atlantic Halibut has a relatively slow growth rate and only reaches maturity at 7 to 8 years old (males) and 10 to 11 years for females. Their spawning is seasonal, with the breeding season varying from place to place. After spawning, they migrate northwards in search of food.
Like other species of flatfish, Halibut are flattened sideways and lie on one side of their body. As a result, both eyes migrate to one side of the head during development. The Atlantic Halibut lies on its left side and has both eyes positioned on its right, facing upwards.
Atlantic Halibut are also farmed, and in Scotland are bred and grown in land-based tanks until they reach harvest size at 4 years. Some Scottish farms use organic feed that doesn't put pressure on wild fish stocks and MCS promotes them on their Fish to Eat list.
Halibut has long been prized as a food for its delicate flavour and meaty texture - being a cookery teacher here follows a recipe!
Halibut with lemon butter
Fish #199 Atlantic Halibut Hippoglossus hippoglossus ~ Elaine Franks
Mixed media, Watercolour, ink & pencil on 160gm Schoelleshammer paper 23 x 32 cm
The largest of all the bottom dwelling flatfish in the world, fully grown, mature halibut can reach up to 15 foot (4.5m) in length and 320kg in weight and mainly stay in deep water at anywhere between 300 to 2000 meters depth. Having been spawned in the hollows between banks at around 300-700m depth, the juveniles are found in shallower waters off of the coast of Norway and occasionally Greenland, Iceland, Scotland and the Faeroe Islands.
As a bottom dweller, this potentially huge fish lies motionless and camouflaged on the sea bed, ready to ambush any crustaceans or fish that come its way.
Excessive commercial fishing has vastly reduced the numbers of Atlantic Halibut to the point where the wild population of this slow growing, late maturing species is now endangered in the open sea, and Greenpeace has added it to its red list of 'fish that are commonly sold in supermarkets around the world, and which have a very high risk of being sourced from unsustainable fisheries'. On a more positive note, it is hopeful that the demand for it as a food source can perhaps now be met by farmed stocks and at least five countries, Britain, Norway, Canada, Iceland and Chile are experimenting with captive production of Atlantic Halibut.
I chose to paint this fish because of its bizarre and fascinating development, this is a creature that turns from an ordinary looking and unremarkable hatchling into a perfectly adapted and completely extraordinary beast: hatched with one eye on either side of their head, just like any normal fish, during the course of its juvenile development, one eye completely migrates over the top of the head to the other side, transforming the fish's skull as it does so. As this is happening, the young fish changes from an upright swimming standard larva, to an extraordinary flattened plate of muscle perfectly adapted to its life at the bottom of the sea, where it can live for anything up to fifty years.
Elaine Franks Biography
At four years old, Elaine Franks was learning to paint and draw at the same time as read and write, and by the age of eight, she had become preoccupied with painting the natural world, preferring to communicate through line and tone rather than through the alien language of speech. Having spent much of her childhood either on the back of a pony, with a pencil in her hand or her nose in a book (and sometimes all three together...) she spent her foundation year exploring the wildlife of the derelict areas of Nottingham before completing an honours degree in Graphics (Illustration) at Exeter College of Art & Design.
It was this move to Devon that introduced her to The Undercliff, a unique SSSI on the Devon/Dorset border, where she was to work as a volunteer recorder for the next two years, the results of her research being published as 'The Undercliff' by JM Dent, also by a number of other publishers in several American and European translations and editions. This was to be the first of some twenty or so books that she has illustrated and written on various aspects of natural history and gardening, notable titles including 'West Country Wildlife' with well known naturalist and author Kelvin Boot and 'Watching Wildlife' with author and journalist Geoffrey Young, the founder of WATCH.
For many years, Elaine has been living and working in mid Wales where she spent much of her childhood. She has made a number of television appearances, and her artwork has been exhibited throughout Britain and is held in public and private collections world wide. As well as the natural history work for which she is known, Elaine also enjoys working on a variety of community art projects and teaching students of all ages. Elaine, painting is about communication, exploration, discovery and above all, celebration.
"I'm trying to share the joy I get when I walk out of my door into the amazing world we live in, share a celebration of the things I encounter in my daily life. My paintings are not about contriving 'art' or 'expressing myself - who or what I am, is hilariously and wonderfully irrelevant..... My paintings are simply about celebrating the miraculous in the every day.......about saying Look, look at that........"
Previous Fish Next Fish
Lincolnshire Time and Tide Bell Community Interest Company is a not-for profit organisation, registered at Companies House. Company Number 10934941