This painting was inspired by the lively colors and patterns displayed by the Ochre Sea Star (Pisaster ochraceus). Found in Pacific coastal waters, these creatures prey primarily on the California Mussel, which can also be seen in this picture. The Ochre Sea Star is what is known as a “keystone species” because it plays a critical role in maintaining balance within its ecosystem. Thus, there is a small keystone drawing hidden in the painting – can you find it? Though some sea stars can have up to 40 legs, Pisaster Ochraceus has just five, creating a regular pentagon shape on the top of their bodies. As a nod to the beauty of this mathematical shape appearing in nature, I painted in 5 extra pentagons in the rocks around the starfish.