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The loggerheads in "Free Falling" are about six months old and were hatched on the Gulf beaches near my home. For the first few years of their life, they are extremely vulnerable. I was astonished to learn that only one in 2,500 hatchlings may survive to adulthood and come back to our beaches to lay eggs.
As I studied these babies, I learned that they spend most of their time near the top of the water where sargassum weed provides them with some protection from predators. Their color begins to change to the adult shades of cream and reddish brown. For food, shrimps, crabs, mollusks and often jelly fish are fair game. Tossed about with the rhythm of the waves, they seem to hang in mid-air, like parachutists.
These delicate babies must survive at least 16 years to reach maturity. When I think of how deep and dark the ocean is, I marvel that even one will make it back as an adult. My intent while painting "Free Falling" was to show just how vulnerable these loggerhead babies are while, at the same time, portraying their spirited determination to survive.
- Linda Thompson
This Piece has been Signed by Linda Thompson