No Reservations (2011)

The mural is a reproduction of an original watercolor painting located inside the Besser Museum. Local artist, Judy Dawley, spent hundreds of hours researching the common Devonian fossils found in and around Alpena. The painting depicts what the creatures of the shallow Devonian Period ocean of 350 million years ago may have looked like before they were the fossils we find today. As illustrated in the mural, Northeast Michigan in the Devonian Period was a nutrient feast. In the art, opportunistic feeders such as sponges, coral, and bivalves use their tentacles to catch passing bits of food, while predators seek out prey. Giant boney-plated fish strike at a school of primitive sharks. The sharks crunch the shells of ammonites. Ammonites capture trilobites that are grabbing sea worms. Spiny snails attach to sea lilies. Boring sponges and coral drill into mollusks. Brittle stars pry open bivalves. Each creature feeds, and in turn, becomes food.

Height 15′ – width 28′

Artist/Design – Judy Dawley, Michigan Artist. Frame constructed by Tom Moran, Moran Iron Works.

Medium/Material – Watercolor painting, computer-generated imaging reproduction/vinyl

Information provided by Thunder Bay Art Council & Gallery, Tim Kuehnlein

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