Thursday, February 17, 2011

making waves

Painting waves in watercolor has always been a bit tricky for me but I decided to try again a few days ago. Since it's impossible for me to just paint nothing in particular I added a couple of characters who obviously have some sort of entertaining game going on between them. It's not perfect but it's kind of neat and I hope you like it.

The very good news I read today has been far more difficult to obtain than my forays into painting a pretend sea. It seems that after 23 years of Japanese fishing fleets heading of to the international waters of Antarctica to 'research' whales (more than 10,000 of them have been killed), the fleet is going home, hopefully forever.

For many years the Sea Shepherd group has been chasing and harassing the factory whale ships of Japan and it's definite that a lot of the kudos belong to them. It also must be noted that a lot of international pressure has been directed at the country's whaling industry. Chile has banned the practice in its waters and their navy closely monitors Japanese ships in its territory. Whale meat sales have plummeted in Japan largely because of international disapproval.

It's wonderful that the barbaric slaughter of these gentle and intelligent beings may be ending. Perhaps the next step will be to stop the US navy from using the Sonar that deafens the animals.

Hurray for all the wave makers that do it the hard way like: Ray McGovern, ordinary Egyptians, and your average Wiscontonian :-)

There may be troubled waters ahead but you have to admit there's enjoyment and great benefit to be found in surfing these waves.


  1. I love your painting..the figures play together in your wonderful waves. I like how you decided to depict the waves in watercolor.And that is good news. I have only seen whales from far away years ago when we drove highway 101 in California. I thought they were smooth rocks until they sounded!!! I was so excited we about wrecked the car!!!

  2. I was wondering what came first, the good news or the attempt at painting waves with watercolors? Which, by the way, look just splendid to me. I like the way the slender person is poised on the shell. He or she looks especially natural, since they are, after all, talking to a fish. They must be very used to the deep. :-)

    Oh, that such great news about the ship turned back. Thank you for posting this, Susan. Your sharing of this made my heart light today.


  3. A lovely painting, Susan, I love how you did the waves. and the characters are wonderful. I'm sure they are as happy about the good news that I am. Thanks for letting us know. Did you know that Captain Paul Watson is a Canadian, and was a co-founder of Greenpeace here in Vancouver? Yay for the whales! And waves back to the wavemakers you've linked to!

    (By the way, blogger is doing odd stuff like telling me I can't acces blogger blogs, not just yours, and now sends me to their site to register for a blog with them intead of letting me post my comment...grrr! Let's see if this comes through.)

  4. kay - It's one of my continuing series of practice pieces while I try to refine some techniques for larger paintings. I'm delighted you like it.

    I lived for many years on the west coast and it was always a huge thrill to see whales passing through the Georgia Strait. Once or twice I saw them from ferries.

    pagan sphinx - The painting came first and finding the whale story this morning was serendipitous. I was so glad of that news I would have posted the story even without the painting.

    It's supposed to be a young man on the shell but the underpainting didn't work as well as I'd hoped. Still, it was a funny idea to paint and I'm glad it made you smile :-)

    marja-leena - It's always nice to read sweet words from you about my pictures. Yes, I actually was living in Vancouver when Greenpeace was formed and had a good time participating in the early start-up work in a small way.

    I'm sorry you had trouble with blogger. Happily your comment came through just fine and we'll hope it goes back to normal from now on.

  5. I love this painting! The expressions on the faces are delightful - definitely some kind of game! I think the waves came out quite well (cold and wet) - particularly the way you made them on a slant, not level on the page. That makes it seem like the play is happening well out on a large body of water. The spray coming off the fish is perfect - I can almost hear the drops falling, and anticipate the splash to come.

    And the colors and pattern you chose for the fish are all yours.

    Pagan mentions a shell, but I think that's a leaf... and, for me, that sets the scale of both players in this game. I guess the large body of water might be a goldfish pond, in that case; it makes me think.

    The news about the whales and Japan is wonderful. I have been angry about that for many years - and at the world's inability to shout out what has been so obvious about their "studies." Disgusting. Criminal, really. Glad there have been some willing to stand up.

  6. Your waves are beautifully bubbly and foamy, just the way they should be!

    Great news about the whales - now to get to work on the Icelanders and those few others still hunting ...

  7. There is a fairy tale in that picture. Very Nice.

    Great news about Japan backing off the whales. Proof that a small dedicated group can create positive change in not just a nation but foe the World as a whole.

  8. I wish someone would research the politicians of the world. Now that I've gotten the violent impulses out of my system, I'm gonna stare at your drawing.

  9. another of your lovely, fantastical paintings..i love your imaginative work!! there is something so wonderful and 'childlike without childish' about the water, the sky and the fish jumping up as well as the sweet swimmer with the shell in the world you did this water is amazing...

    and to read that FINALLY the japanese have thrown in the towel and we can hope they actually mean it, just makes me thrilled to pieces...i have not understood how they could get away with this but so they have and this could not have happened soon enough. as always, a wonderful post. xxx

  10. What a perfect post this is from to top of the painting (I adore that fish's sweet face), encompassing the news about the fleet going home (I had not heard this yet), to your sign-off that ties it all together. :)

  11. I adore that smiling fish. So sweet and so appreciative of his friend's attempt at seaworthiness.
    We watched the reality show with the Sea Shepherd people. What a show. And what courage and dedication those people have. It's extraordinary.

  12. steve - You're correct that my original intention was to make his conveyance a leaf but then I decided to change it into a kind of pod. It's strange how natural forms follow similar algorithms making a shell a reasonable assumption. I'm glad you like it and I'm looking forward to the next time I have a plan for a real painting that has a water element. Maybe a fountain?

    It was good news about the Japanese ceasing the whale hunting. I really wish we could stop using the world as both an infinite resource and garbage dump.

    francis - Thanks. I hope to do even better next time.

    The breakthrough with Japan was a big one that we can only hope is emulated elsewhere.

    mrmacrum - Thanks.

    The Greenpeace activists are some of my favorite heroes.

    randal - Researching politicians and CEO's is an idea whose time has come. Now stare away.

    linda - Only when we get old enough can we really appreciate childlike, eh? In order to paint the water II spent some time as Maryann with the shaky hands :-)

    The news about whale hunting ending in the southern ocean was great. It's gone on far too long and is akin to murder of sentient beings.

    lydia - Why thank you! I was incredibly delighted to read about the fleet going home so the whole thing just came together naturally.

    belette - I'm glad you like the little picture. Yes, the Sea Shepherd people have been doing amazing work under very difficult conditions for a long time. This was good news.

  13. i see absolutely nothing wrong with you painting waves. in fact, i encourage you to continue.
    it's delightful.
    i love the foam the fish makes jumping out of the water.

    "all the old paintings on the tombs
    they do the sand dance don't you know
    if they move too quick
    oh way oh
    they're falling down like a domino
    and foreign types with the hookah pipes say
    ay oh way oh
    ay oh way oh
    walk like an Egyptian"

  14. sera - When it comes to a choice, mine is to paint waves rather than make them. That's not very brave of me but it's good to stretch limits in my own fashion.

    'All the old leaders on the move they do the "scram" dance don't ya know
    Now they're moving quick, (o-whey-0) they're falling down like a domino.'

    It's pretty amazing to see what going on these days.

  15. I love the sky in this painting. You have a very mischievous sense of humor and it shows in this piece.

    Sorry it's taken me so long to come around--that school work on the web is killing me, a SERIOUS time suck.

  16. Steve is right. The patterns and colors on the fish are you. I could pick them out of a painted fish line up.

    We're watching enormous history right now. Perhaps the tides are turning just a little. (such an easy pun)

  17. liberality - I wanted it to look like a sunny, breezy day and I think that worked. I'm delighted you like it. Never worry about visiting :-)

    lisa - A painted fish lineup sounds just like something out of 'Dragnet' :-)

    As for history making stuff, I think people everywhere are beginning to comprehend just how corrupt are the powers that be. They won't stop until they're stopped.

  18. Good news...and lovely art by you.

  19. Your painting is absolutely wonderful - I can't look at it without smiling like an idiot! :)

    And the news about the Japanese whalers is like Manna from Heaven!

    A stellar post all around, Susan!