When thinking about our watercolor painting and sketching prompt of “stars” today, my mind began to wander a bit. I thought of stars in the sky and also the fact that it’s Star Wars Day today, so if you’re celebrating that, May the 4th be with you, but ultimately, I ended up in the sea instead. A starfish caught my eye today, so I made a quick little 3-color doodlewash of one. They are also called sea stars, a name preferred by scientists since they aren’t really a fish at all. Next, of course, I got lost in learning about these odd little creatures. They have no brains and no blood, just filtered sea water, and yet they have a complex nervous system, so they could still feel pain. Little tiny tubes are what they have for feet to move about, rather quickly actually, and there’s an eye at the tip of each of the points of the star. But they have rather poor eyesight and don’t see as well as we humans might. Unless it’s me without my glasses or contacts, then it’s probably rather similar. But, I finished my quick research with a newfound appreciation for these little critters.
One of the weirder bits of info I stumbled across was that they can regenerate their limbs. If they’re under attack by a predator, they just leave a leg behind and spend the next year slowly growing it back. That’s both ingenuity and commitment. What’s stranger to me still is that most of the time, we think of them not alive and skirting around in the water, but simply a lovely object of art. Like sand dollars which seem so lovely, and we don’t even really think about the fact that they are also living creatures that are actually part of this same family. But starfish are gorgeous and can be found in over 2,000 varieties so it’s no wonder they’ve become one of the most popular icons of the ocean itself. Just looking at one makes me think of the beach, and that always makes me smile. It’s so curious the creatures that exist in nature and I’m always fascinated by all the wild and wonderful things that appear there.
I wonder what it would be like to live as a sea star. Having no brain at all must be quite satisfying at times. Nothing to actually fret about or think through, just a life lived entirely by instinct. Yeah sure, being able to regenerate limbs could be a cool bonus, but just floating along and letting life do what it does it a provocative proposition. I have a horrible habit of letting my brain get in the way much of the time. As much as I live life without a lot of actual preparation for things, I spend tons of time playing out scenarios in my head. What would happen if this or that occurred. Or what if I tried this thing, or no wait, maybe it’s this other thing I should do next. In truth, it can get rather exhausting and get in the way of just enjoying whatever little thing comes next. I’m quite happy to have a brain, but if I could just shut it off at times I think it would be a wonderful thing indeed. I could just float about in no thoughts of any kind and for at least the briefest of moments, enjoy the curious world of sea stars.
About the Doodlewash
Da Vinci Paint Co.: Benzimida Orange, Quinacridone Red, and Cobalt Blue. Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with sepia ink in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book. Want to purchase a print of this doodlewash? Send me a note with a link to this post, and I’ll add it to my shop!
Beautiful sea,star. I wish more people knew that these were living creatures.
Thanks so much, Mary! 😃💕 Yeah, it’s funny how many sea creatures end up more as objects.
Your Sea Star and thoughts are splendiferous, as always. I have been fascinated by Star Fish since my first experience with them as a child. They are every bit as remarkable as yourself. One of my favorite stories is “The Star Thrower” by Loren Eiseley, also known as The Starfish Story. Thank-you!
Aww thanks so much, Ellen! 😃💕 They are such intriguing creatures. I’ll have to check out that book!
Your sea star is beautiful, no surprise there! Did you know that some scientists think, that despite our advanced brains, we non-self-aware beings with no inner voice who merely respond to external stimuli? In essence, we have brains but really don’t use them to think, just to respond. Not sure I buy it, but i would explain some strange things I’ve known people to do…
Yes, Sandra, I’ve taken a class in neuroscience, and it does appear that free will may be an illusion. Very interesting stuff.
I find it endlessly fascinating? Have you ever read any of Robert J Sawyer’s science-fiction? His ‘Quantum Night’ is based around this science. I don’t think I agree with his outcomes, but I’m not sure he does either. I ‘think’ he just likes to get people to think, possibly thereby undermining the conclusion, lol.
No, I tend to read non-fiction. Sounds interesting, though.
Thanks, Sandra! 😃💕Yeah, I’m not sure that’s true for me, but it seems likely for many people I get behind while driving. lol I do think we respond more to external stimuli than we should ever have to considering we have brains. 😉
I love the name sea stars…I’ll have to think how I can use that in a poem. (K)
Isn’t it an awesome name!? Can’t wait to see what you’ll do with it, Kerfe! 😃💕
Wonderful tones in the shadows and sand, along with a lovely sea star. One of my favorite marine creatures, along with seahorses, which of course, are not really horses!
Thanks so much, Sharon! 😃💕hehe… yeah… can you imagine a sea horse the size of an actual horse. It would be terrifying! lol
I like! 😄
Shiny trio plus red?
Thanks, Rachel! 😃💕 Actually, this one is a trio of a different sort, only includes the Cobalt Blue from the shiny trio and adds Benzimida Orange and Quinacridone Red instead!
With all that stuff going for them, I think if their size was increased about 25 times, they would make great horror movie creatures! The Sea Star From Space!!
hehe! That sounds crazy and awesome, Lisa! I would totally watch that movie! 😃💕 lol
Beautiful star fish in merin life.
Thanks so much, Snehlata! 😃💕
Beautiful sea star. I have never seen a real one but I love yours and all the information you included. Cheers!
Thanks, Louise! 😃💕 Yeah, I’ve only seen them in tanks at aquariums. They’re usually just objects on a beach.
” May the 4th be with you”
Yeth!! : )
“That’s both ingenuity and commitment.”
the true secret of survival!
Always a joy to read your thoughts. I grew up
on the Atlantic, and yet I’ve learned more about
the sea star than in all the previous ( ) years
of my life.
I love the painting and the article. It gives me energy
and knowledge…also components of survival, and pleasure.
Thanks so much, Sarah! 😃💕I’m so thrilled you liked this! A bit of a departure as I am easily distracted as you know! hehe
Very nice starfish.
Thanks so much, Pamela! 😃💕
I’ve always had a hard time getting my head around the fact that sea stars (I’m giving in to your identification) don’t have brains – that’s just counterintuitive to what I understand about life. Maybe they are not really animals but plants, giving new meaning to the old excuse, “I spent the whole day just vegetating.”
At least you, Charlie, painted a star fish – er, sea star.
Yeah, it’s a mind-blowing though… that combined with the lack of blood. Nature has many surprises. But I do like the idea of bringing new meaning to vegetating! 😃💕
Very interesting. Thank you!
Thanks so much! 😃💕Glad you liked this!
Since you’ve initiated discussion of brains and such, I thought I’d chime in. While it’s true that humans have a higher degree of cephalization than do starfish, this does mean that starfish don’t “think,” or that humans do it more than any other animal. Watch a starfish locate, manipulate and devour a clam. They’re probably not good at calculus but…
True! That’s a very good point, Larry! And how many humans ever really need to use calculus anyway. 😉 hehe
Gorgeous painting Charlie, so evocative of summer on the beach 😊. And what a fascinating post, I’ve learnt something today!
Thanks so much, Phil! 😃💕 And yay! hehe.. glad I could share my knowledge…. errrr… love of trivia at least! 😉