First chapter: Recently, a man walked into the gallery and asked to see a painted rock depicting a sand dollar that was on display in the front window. And, too, he asked if there was a magnifying glass to use. Our answer: yes to both requests.
Emerging artist Kandy Schwartz. Painted rocks on display.
Second chapter: The man inspected the painted rock sand dollar closely for a few moments and then said “I will take this.”
“Rich and highly detailed. This painted rock reflects the artist’s individual experience with a single sea star. The artist depicts the species out of the water with a wonderful sense of scale. I am a marine biologist. This artist shows everything that a real sand dollar has. Quite nice!”
Q: What is a marine biologist, you ask?
A: Simply put, a marine biologist studies the life in the oceans and other saltwater environments such as estuaries and wetlands. All plant and animal life forms are included from the microscopic picoplankton all the way to the majestic blue whale, the largest creature in the sea—and for that matter in the world.
Sand dollars crawl along the ocean floor with their mouths toward the ground, eating microscopic particles of food. Most sand dollars live 8-10 years. The age of any particular sand dollar can be determined by counting the growth rings on the plates of its hard skeleton.
Sand dollars get their name, not from their value, but from their appearance. When the skeletons (called tests) of dead sand dollars wash ashore, they are usually bright white from being bleached by the Sun. Long ago, people who found these dead sand dollars thought they looked like old Spanish or American dollar coins, so they called them sand dollars.
Chapter three: Kandy Schwartz, Fairweather’s emerging artist, was delighted with the endorsement of her art and the sale. She went back to her studio and painted more rocks.
And, too, more new painted rocks by Kandy Schwartz!
Read more about sand dollars:
NPR posted an episode of Deep Look • PBS.
From KQED Science: The skeletons of sand dollars are prized by beachcombers, but these creatures look way different in their lives beneath the waves. Covered in thousands of purple spines, they have a bizarre diet that helps them exploit the turbulent waters of the sandy sea floor. https://bit.ly/2RMq55F