The text and paintings on The Trowbridge Chronicles are taken from the illustrated journal of Violet Trowbridge, a shrew that once lived in a village deep in the Olympic Rain Forest. Each new post will represent a portion of Mrs. Trowbridge’s journal.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

THE BIG FAT MONSTER WHO LIVED UNDER THE SEA

This week's journal page finds Mrs. Trowbridge in the middle of her most terrifying undersea encounter ever. This was definitely her last foray into the undersea world.

The slug that Mrs. T painted above is a banana slug (Ariolmax columbianus), a common sight in the rain forest. They come in a variety of decorator colors, ranging from yellow with black spots (hence the name), to solid greenish, olive brown, and even white.
You might think that Mrs. T embellished the undersea terrain just a bit with her bright colors. Actually, her depiction of marine life in Northwest waters is very accurate. As a skin diver, I have explored the colorful reefs of Puget Sound many times. Much of the color in Northwestern underseascapes comes from multi-hued lichen (pronouned "liken") that grows in abundance on the rocks.

The flower-like Sea Anemones are also frequently seen in Washington waters...they add another splash of color to the reef. I have found the white anemones (Metridium giganteum) to be the most common. Did you know that the word "anemone" is one of the top ten most beautiful words in the English language?
Mrs. Trowbridge's "monster" is actually a Wolf eel. They are certainly one of nature's most grotesque looking creatures, easily recognizable by their hideous appearance, and blubbery jowls. In my more "trigger happy" days I speared a wolf eel on a reef in the Straits of Juan de Fuca. He measured in at a whopping six feet! My amazing trophy fish landed me on the cover of the Port Angeles Evening News. Today I would shoot the eel with a camera, not a spear.

Sea slug is the nickname for the beautiful Nudibranch (Dirona albolineata). The Nudibranch that towed Mrs. T is one of a number of species that are found in Puget Sound and Washington coast waters. Their iridescent golden plumes are actually gills.

The little innocent bystander hiding behind the reef is a red rock crab (Cancer productus). They are identified by their dark red spots. A few seconds later, he turned around and discovered what was lurking behind him. Before you could say "crab louie", he beat it for the nearest hole.

72 comments:

Toni said...

Bron, I love that last image of Mrs. T. I think I would rather harness a sea horse. It would be faster. ;-)

Doug said...

Wow! what an adventure for Mrs. T.... maybe this week she will sit around the fire, have a cup of tea and chew the FAT!

TXArtcGal said...

Awesome as usual!...and, it didn't seem that Mrs. T didn't enjoyed the undersea world...but, I enjoyed reading about her adventure.

penelope said...

Please link to a static page next week by clicking on the date of your entry. :)

A static page is linked to your blog's time and date. Go to your blog, click on the time and date of your post. You'll notice that the window changes to only show that one particular post. That is the url you should use to link to Illustration Friday. That way, in the future, when people go looking for your post, they will find it easily.

Visit the "About" section on Illustration Friday to find out more...

Thank you!

penelope

Geninne said...

I'm so glad you're back with more eye candy for us to enjoy! You had us on a Throwbridge diet last week...but thankfully you came up with a feast with this post :-)
Mrs. T's three journal pages are exquisite, the illos are amazing, specially the one of the encounter with Mr. Wolf eel. You did a wonderful job on this one, very clever!
Have a wonderful day Bron and thanks again for putting a smile on the face of my kids and me :-)

JO said...

Loved your story and missed you last week. My husband comes from Washington, while visiting I encountered the banana slug; they are big enough to ride!

cristosova said...

I think Mrs. Trowbridge and the Olympic Rainforest creatures teach us a good example of how cooperation between the species can work smoothly - yet slowly. (with the latter I am thinking of the banana slug less than the Dragonfly Express speed demons.)

The undersea painting turned out incredibly great! Mrs. Trowbridge is wearing such a cute underwater dress & glasses and the way she and her companion are composed before the blurrier Wolf eel is impressive. I am also beginning to think the Trowbridge Chronicles serve as a wonderful tour guide through the area. I am glad that they exist!

aynaku said...

beatiful illustrations as usual and amzing story...I only dived into tropical waters and skin dived here, Adriatic Sea...guess the underwater sceneries are appaling everywhere!And anemone sounds great in Italian too...
:)

Princess Pepper Cloud said...

I always count myself lucky that I get to share in these wonderful stories, and three installments of Mrs. T's journel, what a bonus. You really bring the Pacific Northwest to life with these wonderful paintings and story.

Amy Zaleski said...

Glad to see you back! What a great installment of the "Chronicles!" The illustration of the sea monster is unbelieveable! It looks absolutely realistic. The crabs are great! Maybe I'm partial since my sign is Cancer. :-)

Ginger*:)* said...

Where do I begin. I want to spend a month with Violet... just watching her take notes, ride the sea slugs and dragonflies, and visit wherever she will take me.

When she FINALLY writes her book.... I will be first in line to have her sign it!

Gosh, Bron, this is an amazing collection of images and words.... it is absolutely magical.

Wee Cottage said...

Oh how wonderful... I love the epression on her face when she see's the big fat monster. The Wolf eel is pretty scarry looking. I can't imagine how scarry he would be from Mrs. Trowbridge small size!

Christine Walker said...

I couldn't find Illo Firday, but this one is just as good or better. Wow! it's really nice! Now, do sea slugs eat pie, too?

ratlion said...

Love the illustration with the monster in it...Wonderful work as always :)

HARDWAX said...

As always Mrs Trowbridge's painting skills are impeccable. Whew! I was almost as unnerved as she reading the account of her deep sea adventures. Slugs are slow but safe transportation nevertheless. Beautiful!

The Tart said...

Bron U R a keeper of such interasting info! I must now bid U ado, as I must go back to read Mrs. T's Chronicles & enjoy her fine art!

She is my favorite little blogger, natch. ; )

Smooch,
The Tart

Twisselman said...

UC Santa Cruz's mascot is the banana slug. I've always liked that. And I really like this post... You're always inventive and instructional. Wonderful illustrating, too, natch.

ValGalArt said...

Thank goodness Woodrow has a calming effect on Mrs.T! Remembering "slugs are slow" was a quick thinking manuever! What beautiful depictions of Sea life and all of the stories delight my senses!!!

Ellen said...

You are an amazing artist!!

Pickledog said...

Bron, The wolf eel is grotesque but you have made it into something beautiful. The texture in the skin is awesome. The colours are fantastic in this entry of The Trowbridge' Chronicles. Beautiful work!

glumnmum said...

Brilliant. I lived on Whidbey Island for 8 years – and developed a phobic reaction to banana slugs. It all started when my then 12 year old sister Helen and her best friend Britt went up into the forest behind the house one day and came back with their arms COVERED with slugs of various sizes and a 3lb behemoth on a shovel.

Thanks for your kind words regarding my marmot; I’ve been gone from the PNW for 15 years now and I just love your Trowbridge Chronicles.

tiffinix said...

A sea slug harness - amazing! Great illustration - I love the little crab poking out from the side. Bron always amazing coming here and what a treat three pages! Trowbridge Chronicles addict I have become. Mrs. T has the most amazing adventures.

creative kismet said...

Amazing adventure! Such is the life of the wonderful Mrs. Trowbridge. What a monster she did encountered. Yikes!

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