Like Breath on Glass, or Living in a Whistler Moment

gloucester-harbor-nocturne-copyright-kim-smithJames McNeill Whistler once said “Paint should not be applied thick. It should be like breath on the surface of a pane of glass.” My question is, which came first, the “soft paintings” of the later half of the 19th and early 20th century or soft focus photos? Knowing that Edward Steichen transitioned from painting to photography, its not hard to imagine that Whistler and Innes were also using photography as a tool.

Garden of Dissipating Beauty

sunflowers-1-cedar-rock-gardens-copyright-kim-smithSunflowers at Cedar Rock Gardens

Thank you to Elise and Tucker at Cedar Rock Gardens for a super year in the garden. This was the couple’s first season opening the garden to the public and they did an outstanding job. Cedar Rock Gardens are a welcome addition to a fantastic and growing group of local farms. Their organic nursery and farm are brimming with a wonderful array of fresh flowers, produce, and seedlings. Every one of the plants from their nursery grew beautifully for me. Cedar Rock Gardens is closed for the year but I am so excited to be working again with them next year and will definitely be enrolling in their CSA 2017. See you in the spring!

marigolds-cedar-rock-gardens-copyright-kim-smithDid you ever wonder why marigolds play such a prominent role in Day of the Dead celebrations? They are referred to as “flowers of the dead” and with their vivid hues and citrusy fresh scent, marigolds are thought to guide spirits to the altars. And, too, flowers in general represent the ephemerality of life.

yellow-marigolds-cedar-rock-gardens-copyright-kim-smithYellow Marigoldssunflower-seed-head-cedar-rock-gardens-copyright-kim-smithmarigolds-1-cedar-rock-gardens-copyright-kim-smith

Gloucester’s Little Seahorse Final Update

Abbie Lundberg, Tony’s wife, writes: “Tony brought home a bunch of sand fleas yesterday and the seahorse was excited – hunting and catching some, but he then spit them back out. The aquarium never called back, so Tony decided to release him today, back in the same area he found him. (Of course the aquarium called after that happened 😞) Hopefully he’ll find his way back to warmer waters.”

Thank you to Abbie and Tony for sharing their seahorse capture and release story. Readers may have noticed in the comment section of the previous update that lobsterman Gary also came home with a seahorse, which he found off Plum Cove Beach. I never would have imagined that we have seahorses, even occasional ones, living in the cold waters of Cape Ann, but it is truly exciting to know they are here.

Here’s a short video of a Lined Seahorse that I shot at the aquarium in Cincinnati while visiting relatives about five years ago. Although the same species as Gloucester’s little seahorse, note the two wildly different colors. Lined Seahorses change color to blend with their environment, which aids in capturing prey.

lined-seahorse-copyright-kim-smithThis funny video came up  on my video feed, of male seahorses giving birth. FASCINATING!!!

Update on Gloucester’s Little Seahorse

Love the fins!

A video posted by Kim Smith (@kimsmithdesigns) on

Thank you to Tony and Abbie for allowing me to come by and get some footage of the spunky little seahorse. This is the fourth seahorse Tony has found, the second this week. He finds them feeding on tiny crustaceans in his lobster bait traps. I think this is a female. If you look closely in the above Instagram and compare with the diagram below, she does not have the male’s brood pouch.

Lined Seahorses are not strong swimmers; they ambush their prey by camouflaging themselves, changing color to blend with their environment. They are found in shades ranging from deep brownish black to gray to green, red, and oranges. Lined Seahorses feed on small crustaceans, fish larvae, and plankton. Their mouths are without teeth and instead of biting, use a sucking action to draw in food. Because a seahorse has no stomach, it must eat constantly.

Seahorses live in habitats where there is an abundance of vegetation to hold onto, for example, eel grass and seaweed in southern New England. On temperate shorelines they may curl their tail around mangrove roots and corals. It seems logical that Tony’s bait traps make a convenient feeding station, providing both food and a place on which to latch. Although rare, sightings as far north as Nova Scotia have been reported. Cape Cod is the tippy end of the Lined Seahorse’s northern breeding range.

Fun fact about Lined Seahorses: Scientists report that the males dance for their mate every morning as a way to bond.

The Lined Seahorse population is in decline; their species status is listed as “vulnerable.” The reason for the decline is not only habitat destruction, but sadly and preventably, because they are a popular commodity in the trinket trade.

A reporter from NECN and NBC contacted Tony and the story may be airing on NECN.  Let us know if you see the episode. Here’s a video Tony’s wife Abbie made, posted on GMG in 2010.  The seahorse in this video was caught in December, in Ipswich Bay, in 40 degree waters.



moonlit-lily-pads-copyright-kim-smithLily Pads in the moon’s reflection

Just gorgeous full Hunter Moon this past weekend. I tried to view it rising Sunday night, but the clouds were too thick. I hope our friends got some good shots!october-hunter-moon-copyright-kim-smith

Seahorse Capture in Gloucester Waters!!

Lobsterman and School Committee Member Tony Gross came home from lobstering with a pint-sized creature, a seahorse measuring just about four inches. I don’t know much about seahorses, but this looks like a Lined Seahorse. Lined Seahorses are found from Nova Scotia to Venezuela, but I also read that most generally live only as far north as Cape Cod. It probably wouldn’t survive our current cold water temperatures. Tony and his wife Abbie are giving it fresh seawater and sand fleas. According to Abbie, this little Hippocampus likes hanging out in the water bubbles.

Photos provided by Abbie and Tony Gross, graphic from Nat Geo.