This 16″ × 20″ original collage is constructed of hand cut vintage images on hand painted watercolor paper and accented with watch gears and thread.
It won 1st Prize in the San Diego County Fair Fine Arts competition.
Each child also available individually – please see portfolio.
This original artwork and story are copyright 2013 Ramona Szczerba. Neither artwork nor story can be reproduced without my express written permission. Thanks!
Difficult though it may be to imagine being bored on a Caribbean tropical island, children can manage to be bored anywhere and so Claude, Amelie and Trejean slumped glumly against a seawall on the white sandy shore of Martinique. Sand castles had been erected, shells had been gathered, sand crabs sought after and now the three friends could not think of a single thing they wanted to do. But the sun was so warm and the tradewinds so gentle that soon they each dropped off to sleep amidst the discarded crusts of their peanut butter sandwiches.
Of course grownups know that napping near the tideline is ill advised, but the sleeping children never anticipated the giant yawning wave that opened wide and swallowed them all in one neat gulp. They thrashed, they tumbled, they swallowed quite a bit of water and ate a little sand before being whisked into still water by a lovely mermaid. She kissed each child primly on the lips and to the children’s surprise, they could breathe! Claude’s shoulders started itching first and Amelie and Trejean were astonished to see an iridescent set of fins unfurl as they watched, and even more astonished when they each got their very own set as well.
The mermaid clapped with delight and motioned for the children to accompany her as she flicked her tail and dove deeper into the clear turquoise water. The coral reef was colorful as a carnival, teeming with damselfish and graceful jellies, and the mermaid gently moved aside some sea fans to reveal a barnacle-encrusted trunk. Inside, the children found vintage hats, greatcoats, monocles, goggles and a lovely frock and got themselves up winningly in no time at all. The mermaid pursed her lips as she looked them over, twirling a strand of lavender hair around her pale finger. She grabbed a giant conch and blew into it mightily, causing fish to scatter like quicksilver.
The water shimmered and churned and eventually spit out a charming nautilus-shell craft buoyed by an enormous blowfish. Claude clambered up into it immediately, assuming a dignified Napoleon-esque stance. A spotted squid bearing a telescope saluted briefly before attaching himself firmly to the bow with suction-cup tentacles. Following closely came a graceful craft fashioned from a curvy moonsnail shell held aloft by three elegant Jamaican flying fish. Amelie made a delighted little squeal as she gathered up her frock and climbed in, accompanied by a scrabbly little hermit crab named Edith with whom she’d become fast friends. Trejean’s boat came last, a Giant Tun carried forth by an enormous goggle-wearing octopus that was helpfully outfitted with a compass and torch.
And the flotilla was off! Claude had declared himself Captain, Amelie was first mate and Trejean a happy boatswain as they set off to tour parts of the lesser Antilles rarely seen by mere grownups. Under the mermaid’s protection, the children were safe from the hungry barracudas, the sleek giant manta rays and the humorless sharks that occasionally crossed their paths. They bounced on giant blue and fuschia sea sponges, played hide and seek with craftily camouflaged cuttlefish and coaxed conversation out of shy anemones before the mermaid rounded them up to head back to shore. Under a sky shot through with glittering stars, she gave each child a shell that would summon their ships in any ocean they entered until their twelfth year, and laughing her lovely mermaid laugh, dove under the waves and left the children to their frantic parents and the warm Caribbean breeze.