I’ve always found it very difficult to narrow down my favourite kind of shark. With approximately 400 species to choose from, I can’t blame anyone for not being able to single out just one. For many years I’ve had a soft spot for blacktip reef sharks, which I’ve always considered particularly beautiful, and blue sharks, whose elegance is impossible to deny. But since moving to the United States whale sharks have become quite literally a big part of my life. They’ve always been fascinating to me, but little prepared me for actually seeing them in person: a wall of white spots gliding by, punctuated by a caudal fin taller than I am (not a huge feat considering my lack of height, but still). It’s especially remarkable to consider how little is actually known about the largest fish on the planet. I’m personally very proud to be playing a role in educating people about this fantastic animal.
In the Gulf of Mexico, hundreds of whale sharks gather in the same place at the same time. My friend @para_sight (follow!) is the lucky bugger who gets to study them, and he’s been out there this past week. You can see some gorgeous pictures and footage from the trip right here, and follow the fabulous Deep Sea News blog (which is a wonderful marine science blog all round) for more posts. And if you’re developing a particular affection for whale sharks – it’s OK, it’s hard to resist those faces – you should definitely be following @wheres_domino, a whale shark with the impressive ability to type, who documents his adventures. He’s lovely.
It’s this ability to be able to digitally come along on the journey that prompted me to paint. I’d only completed one whale shark piece up until now, and it was coloured using my computer tablet, so painting one with acrylics was long overdue. I’ve got big plans for this one: lots of spots, of course, but also an entourage of juvenile golden trevally to add a pop of vibrant colour. Doing a close-up like this allows me to further appreciate just how awesome they are.