I liked diving at dawn. Early in the morning, the water is calm and clean, nature is just waking up. Anemones that have been closed all night unfold their tentacles. This is very similar to a blooming flower. In the morning it becomes clear why this anemone is named after the flowers – anemones.
What is more, they break down not synchronously, but according to the mood. One is already fully awake, and the other is still asleep in the bud, with the round mouth of an anemone visible in the center. Clownfish are already busy fussing around, putting their house in order. They care about the anemone as much as it cares about them.
But not only clownfish got used to clean up in the morning. As it was then, during the work on the painting “Treasurers on duty”“Treasurers on duty”, sand moray eels came to me with an inspection and carefully examined the canvas and paint. The boldest ones moved to me and tasted the fins. I jump back in fright and chase it away, and as I continue working on the anemones, I see that the second inspection has arrived. Again canvas, paint, and then it rises to the top and disappears somewhere in the BCD bowels. BCD stands for buoyancy compensator, the special diving vest.
So, when my cameraman lost sight of the moray eel, I was scared, too. I was sitting there, afraid to move. The moray eel was small, it couldn’t break the thick wetsuit, but the neck and face were open. After a minute the moray eel crawled out from somewhere under the arm and went on its way. Sometimes I go diving without a wetsuit, it is colder but more comfortable. You get more freedom. However, in the period of my work on this painting, moray eels used to come very often and diligently checked all possible holes. Each time I was glad that I had put on a wetsuit.
My permanent models — butterflyfish also came regularly, but I wanted to create at least one painting without them. One lucky day a Picasso triggerfish stopped by me — this bright toothy fish never stayed for long. Still, I managed to capture it in the background. Even a reef shark came to visit me. This is how beneficial it can be to dive in the morning.
Although the most difficult task, of course, was to depict a sleeping anemone in the foreground, each dive has been started with it. If you look closely at the anemone, you’ll see that it is motionless. As soon as you get distracted, you’ll see that it has already slightly expanded, changed shape, moved the folds. After all, seascapes are very lively and dynamic.
P.S. Underwater artist Olga Belka thanks the Anantara group and especially the Anantara Dhugu resort in the Maldives for hospitality, full assistance, and support, as well as the Aquafanatics dive center for safety and the best diving conditions when creating this underwater artwork.