Tuesday, April 8, 2014

A Fish Tale: More Island Inspiration

Years ago, I spent hours underwater as a scuba diver while many a Midwestern lake or quarry and a few warm water locales floated in front of my mask. But it was long enough ago, that what remained were mere wisps of memory, more emotional traces than visual imprints. Until recently. 

The trip I took with family last month triggered something in me that won't rest. I feel as if I were set back in my native environment, my gills breathing anew after having flopped about on the beach of life. Having long been a tropical fish aquarist, I set up a saltwater tank (reef-friendly) to remain a bit closer to the source while continuing to draw inspiration from video and images shot on site and underwater. While not yet having a specific image in mind to make into a larger piece, I am exploring a variety of themes for which I created a couple of oil sketches. 

The first is based upon a pen sketch I published back in March just after returning, in which I was snorkeling in about 10' of water and leveled off at the bottom to swim up to the base of a coral-head. As I approached it a fairly large Green Moray Eel swam out to greet me. Lodged in my head is the moment she came rushing out taking me by complete surprise. 

Moray! 12 x 6, oil on panel

The other image is based upon one of many videos captured using my iPhone with a plastic-bag type affair. Though close to shore and fairly picked over, the diversity of life on the reef was none-the-less stunning. Every nook and cranny was filled with life as schools of fish worked their way around sea fans and coral, the scene caressed by the dappled sun. 

I hope it is none too soon before I once again feel the stinging of the salt in my eyes as I am bathed in the crystal blue waters of life. 

Karen's Cove, 12 x 6, oil on panel

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