The History of Diving Museum in Islamorada hosted its first-ever “pop-up” event with renowned marine life artist and conservationist Wyland. The painter treated audiences to live painting in the museum library in a traditional Japanese style where lines are omitted by the painter but mentally filled in by viewers. The one-of-a-kind originals were auctioned off to benefit the museum as well as the Wyland Foundation. Wyland’s “Aquarius’’ was also on site and will be on exhibit at the museum until Dec. 31. The piece honors legendary ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau as well as the Aquarius underwater habitat. The water-based oil paints were non-toxic to marine life, Wyland assured everyone. The conservationist completed the entire painting on one tank of air, in “plein air style painting, but underwater,” he said. As a special capstone, Wyland invited Cousteau’s grandson, Fabien, to paint his grandfather’s iconic red cap. In true Wyland humor, the artist joked, “I fixed it afterwards. Don’t tell him (Fabien).”

Wyland’s “Aquarius” was painted underwater on one tank of air and will be on exhibit in the Museum Research Library until Dec. 31. HISTORY OF DIVING MUSEUM/Contributed
Groups received docent-led tours of the History of Diving Museum as part of their admission to the pop-up event. HISTORY OF DIVING MUSEUM/Contributed
Dr. Sally Bauer, the founder of the History of Diving Museum, poses with artist Wyland at the pop-up event. HISTORY OF DIVING MUSEUM/Contributed
Artist Wyland uses a traditional japanese painting method to create a pirate’s skull, which was sold to benefit the History of Diving Museum. TIFFANY DUONG/Keys Weekly
Wyland’s actual palette that he took underwater to paint his tribute to Jacques Cousteau. TIFFANY DUONG/Keys Weekly
Artist Wyland describes how it was to paint his tribute to Jacques Cousteau and the Aquarius habitat underwater on one tank of air. TIFFANY DUONG/Keys Weekly

If you would like to have the Weekly delivered to your mailbox or inbox along with our daily news blast, please subscribe here.

Tiff Duong is a self-made mermaid who loves all things cheesy (romantic and dairy) and thrives in the 3 am hour. She believes in leaving it all on the field and has never met a (mis)adventure she didn't love.