This weekend I broke a world record: the least amount of time, for me, between starting and finishing a painting. This is both very new and somewhat of an accident. Usually I start working on a piece, slapping on some base colours and playing with composition and lighting a bit, then go off to do Life Stuff. I’ll go back to the canvas to do a little bit more when I can, but the whole process can take weeks depending on the scale of it. On Friday evening I picked up an old 8 x 10 canvas board I’d abandoned and started fleshing out a new manta ray painting, as I simply love mantas but have never painted them (my piece “Takeoff” was a pencil sketch that I coloured digitally). On Saturday morning I decided I hated everything about the water and painted over it… and over it. And over it. While my fourth attempt was drying, I dug out another 8 x 10 and decided to do something different.
I admit it – orcas really aren’t that different for me. They’re my favourite animal ever (ever), and like many people around the world I was very concerned about the pod that was trapped by ice in a remote section of Hudson Bay last week. I was thrilled to hear about their apparent escape, but the footage I saw of them surfacing and spyhopping stuck with me. The colours of that scene were incredible. I’ve been meaning to paint an icy scene involving orcas for a couple of years now (and have quietly tried a few unsuccessful times), and thought this would be a good time to give it another go. That stunning colour palette would be quite different for me, and I wanted to remember those whales and their story. I was quite touched to learn that the people of Inukjuak had planned to make their own breaks in the ice to help the pod had they still been trapped, and to hear of their joy when they discovered they’d been able to move on. It’s a testament to how deeply we care about these animals no matter where they are – the world watched as a small and remote village prepared to step in where we couldn’t, and we all shared the relief as the whales left.
Starting something on a Saturday and finishing it the following Monday (around work) isn’t a bad start to my year. I hope I can be as productive for the rest of it!