Volunteering Takes the Helm, a BayLines Original Article

Article submitted by Nina Blois

During the two weeks I was visiting California from Texas, I designed and painted the Open Sea mural for MSI. It is now being used as the Plankton Lab.

I was very excited when I initially heard about the project, but when I actually saw the blank nook I was supposed to paint (which is about 8′ tall and 16′ wide), I was, to be honest, a bit intimidated.

The first step, of course, was research and sketching. I decided to loosely base the mural on the Open Sea exhibit at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. For me, it is so beautiful and awe inspiring, and I wanted my mural to convey that feeling of wonder.

Planning was hard. I wanted to fit in every ocean creature that exists, but in the end, I had to narrow it down to a few favorites.

The next step was actually painting. I had never completed a project so large prior to this, and although it may seem obvious, I was still surprised at how long it took. One day I spent nearly 8 hours painting! There were many other challenges I faced while painting. Did I want the animals to be perfectly to scale? How exactly would light look in the open ocean? Figuring out each problem and progressing further really boosted my confidence.

It was so exciting to be a part of this amazing experience, from the first sketch to the last brushstroke. It taught me about patience, confidence, and how to plan and have a good work ethic. Everyone at MSI was so supportive, helpful and welcoming, and made my time there so much fun. Overall, it was an incredible experience that I will never forget.

Marine Science Institute would like to thank Nina, for submitting this article and helping to liven up our teaching areas!


Corporate and individual volunteer opportunities are always available. To learn more please visit our webpage at www.sfbaymsi.org or contact the Community Outreach Coordinator at 650-364-2760 X16 or by email volunteer@sfbaymsi.org


This article is featured in our BayLines Spring Edition 2015.

BayLines Spring Edition 2015

BayLines Spring Edition 2015

Marine Science Institute is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization ©2015. All Rights Reserved


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: