Today, I drew underwater in the lagoon of La Saline with Fred, an illustrator who’s passionate about the riches of tropical waters!
With Elsa, my 8-year-old niece, I decided to take up the challenge offered by Frédéric that’s as instructive as it is enjoyable: immersing myself in the lagoon of La Saline with a drawing board and chalks that can be used in seawater.
Frederic is an illustrator from Reunion Island who had this original idea to discover the teeming life beneath the surface, sometimes less than a metre deep and just a few steps from the beach.
Protective footwear, lycra to prevent sunburn, mask and snorkel: and we’re off! We’re a dozen budding artists all listening to Fred’s advice. He’s an artist, a real one, but also very knowledgeable about corals and tropical fish. He introduces us to the lagoon’s inhabitants: butterfly fish, damsel fish, wrasse … A true carnival of shapes and colours, just below the surface! Elsa asks me a few questions: “What’s the name of that flute-shaped fish? Are there fish like Nemo?». Fred has all the answers.
First we have to find the right position, head under water, to begin our work on the drawing board. Elsa quickly understands we have to move slowly, with no sudden movements, so as not to frighten the fish. And that we really mustn’t walk on these beautiful corals, which form the basis of all life in the lagoon. Young and old, everyone gets caught up and focuses on the job in hand.
Underwater landscapes take shape, Fred takes a look at our sketches, advises us, encourages us. Then it’s time to head back to the beach and put the finishing touches to our day’s work, to add the colours. Warming up our boards, the Reunion sun reveals the pigments of our magic chalks: amazing!
With Elsa, we bring home two unpretentious paintings that will long remind us of this wonderful moment we’ve shared. And what riches there are in this Reunion Island lagoon, which can also be discovered by paddle, kayak…