These huge "miniature" watercolours,
five to twenty times life size, are painted from authentic objects that were washed up on the particular shore where you grew up or worked or honey-mooned or vacationed, anyplace in the world.

This isn't a typical "wildlife art" painting,
but a new kind of highly realistic, exquisitely detailed large watercolour or oil, that, because it is an enlargement of unfamiliar small objects, passes on the wall as an abstract - a little more along the "fine art" side than a bird painting ever could be - symbolic of the diversity and balance of nature.

Each painting is accompanied by the original still-life arrangement
of the specimens that Aleta painted from, displayed and protected in a shadow-box frame, meant to hang with or near the painting, and by identifications and life history information about the species in the composition.

Aleta Karstad,
Bishops Mills
Oxford Station, Ont. K0G 1T0


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To see details of this painting, click on areas of interest.

[Sombrio Beach Drift]
[Fir seeds] [Whelk egg cases, Blue Mussel] [crab claw, white coralline alga] [Top Snail, pink coralline alga] [coralline alga, urchin spine, shell]

Sombrio Beach Drift

1994 watercolour, 50cm x 60cm

The second of the "Drifted" series, this painting is owned by Elsen Karstad, Nairobi, Kenya.


Purple Sea Urchins were conspicuous in tide pools, along with many other kinds of animals --- big limpets, keyhole limpets, Katy and Mopalia chitons. The rock was cut into gaps, and the animals were wedged into the little depressions. There were masses of cedar-leaf shaped coraline pink alagae, Phyllospadix Surfgrass, and surging waves of glass-green water, so the scene was very colourful, despite the grey sky. The surf broke across a flat platform of rough rock, which deflected its force, and directed the surge into predictable patterns, so that there was a mosaic of tidal zones more related to the patterns of surge than to strict elevation. We found small treasure-troves of drifted shells high up at the ends of some of the surf-cut channels.

Sombrio Beach, 2 km NW mouth of Loss Creek,
ca 10 km E, 7 km S of Port Renfrew
12 Feb 1988