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Speaking of Sharks....

I have wanted to do a series of paintings of sharks for a long time. They are magnificent creatures that are full of power and beauty and inspire awe and fear. Anyone like myself who has spent time in the ocean really can relate to this. I don't surf much these days but when I do I am always thinking about sharks and looking for them. And I have seen one.

I have swam and surfed in the Pacific Ocean since a young age, an ocean filled with sharks, big great white ones. With the proper "it will never happen to me mentality" you can coexist pretty well with sharks. But as I said, I think about sharks and look out for them all the time. They say you are more likely to be hit by lightning than get attacked by a shark. I don't know about this. I have nearly been attacked by both. So it's even.

My shark encounter happened when I was in high school. Well I wasn't actually in High School, I was at the beach, but probably was supposed to be in class. I was with two friends who weren't in high school that day either. We were surfing in La Jolla on the north side of Scripps pier in San Diego. My friends father worked for Scripps and said he saw sharks all the time off the end of the pier.

I was sitting on my board waiting for a wave when I caught movement out of the corner of my eye. I quickly looked down to see a large shark moving towards me at high speed. It turned and was coming up beneath me with its mouth gaping open. It was the work of an instant that I turned the board towards the beach and was paddling for a wave. I don't know where the wave came from but I caught it before the shark caught me. That wave saved my life.

I rode the wave into knee deep water and then began yelling to my friends "SHARK, SHARK". My friends couldn't grasp what I was saying at first but I kept yelling. I then saw its dorsal fin prowling around. I yelled "LOOK, LOOK" but from their angle they thought it was a dolphin and told me so. Then they ignored me. I stood watching for about 20 minutes and when nothing happened to them I paddled back out and surfed a couple more hours.

I will keep the progress of my shark series up to date. The Prowler is below and painted a long time ago.

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