Up Puffin Away
10" x 16" Limited Edition Giclee Print, 2013 (Age 17)
I have been intrigued with Atlantic Puffins for their bright colours and unique clown-like faces, often called the 'clown of the ocean'. They seem to have an endearing personality, kind of like mini-penguins. On a boat tour through island cliffs off the coast of the Cabot Trail in Nova Scotia, I was thrilled to see these birds up close in their natural environment. It was surprising how tiny they were (about 8 inches tall) and how fast they dove for fish, darting up from the water and back to their homes flapping their wings at 400 beats per minute. It was hard to see them as they were a blur to the naked eye, and only with my telephoto lens was I able to catch them in mid-flight. I expected to see them standing around in groups on land, but as easy prey they disappeared with their mouthfuls of fish into tiny burrows carved into the island cliffs under tufts. The evening light in my painting shows the puffin returning home with a mouthful of fish for the final time after a long day of fishing.