Jen Richards

Wildlife artist

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Giant Pacific Octopus – Commission

Acrylic on canvas, 18 x 24

Acrylic on canvas, 18 x 24

It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of cephalopods, so when a good friend of mine asked if I’d be interested in doing a commission for his octopus-loving fiancée I jumped at the opportunity and spent a good chunk of my December working on this 18 x 24 acrylic painting. I really wanted to focus on the beauty of this species and add in some of my favourite details, like their simply gorgeous eyes and the fascinating double row of suckers on the arms. Did you know they can have up to 250 of those suckers per arm and can control them all independently because each arm has its own control system? Yeah, they’re awesome.

One of my favourite things about being an artist is seeing my work in people’s hands. Knowing that this octopus is now in its happy home with an owner who loves it is immensely rewarding for me, and Cat was certainly happy with her surprise!

Work in progress gallery:

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In progress!

In progress!

A sandbar shark was the first real shark I ever saw in person. I’ve always been drawn to their simple elegance: no distinctive markings or coloration, just an impressively large first dorsal fin to really make them stand out. But to me sandbar sharks are a classic among elasmobranchs for that perfect silhouette. If you ask someone to draw the outline of a shark, there’s a good chance it’ll look a lot like a sandbar. It’s a species classified as Vulnerable due to overfishing (both in target fisheries and as bycatch) and its numbers continue to decline. Sandbar sharks aren’t quite as well-represented in shark art as other species, so I did this 16 x 20 acrylic tribute and had some fun with it.