Creatures of the Lost Sea

This 20 foot fish swam over what is now Kansas. Meet the Lost Sea super-predator Xyphactinus (pronounced "Zi fak tin us".
This 20 foot fish swam over what is now Kansas. Meet the Lost Sea super-predator Xyphactinus – pronounced “Zi fak tin us”. (original artwork by Charlie Frye)

Millions of years ago, the Great Plains were covered by the Lost Sea. It was full of amazing creatures. Think sharks and sea turtles in Kansas.  The Xyphactinus (above) was so fierce, it was known to swallow 6-foot members of its own kind.

Then the Lost Sea vanished, taking the creatures with it. Evidence of its existence is only left in fossils and bones.

A map of the The Lost Sea. 65 million years ago, stretched from the Gulf of Mexico in to Canada. It is also called the Western Interior Seaway.
The Lost Sea. 65 million years ago, it stretched from the Gulf of Mexico in to Canada. It is also called the Western Interior Seaway. (Charlie Frye image)

Folk artist Charlie Frye brought the creatures back to life for the Lost Sea Expedition TV series. The artwork is stunning – part southern folk art, part nautical nightmare.

Charlie owns Frye Art Studio in Lenoir, North Carolina. Over a four month span, he painted over 35 original paintings for the Lost Sea Expedition series. I decided that after traveling across America in a wagon, we weren’t going to use digital clip art for the illustrations. So all the maps you’ll see are painted on boards.  And Charlie’s painted creatures swim across acrylic seas.

IMG_5148 Folk artist Charlie Frye and me the day I picked up the Lost Sea paintings. Charlie painted the 35-plus paintings over a 4 month period. (Lenior, NC) 8
Folk artist Charlie Frye and me the day I picked up the Lost Sea paintings. Charlie painted the 35-plus paintings over a 4 month period. Many of these painting are BIG, measuring 24″ by 48″. They look stunning on your TV screen! (Frye Art Studio, Lenoir, NC)

We are currently raising funds to bring the Lost Sea Expedition to public television. Your donation pays locals artists like Charlie Frye. Please help this extraordinary artwork reach an even wider audience. Thanks.

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