Manatee Mama

This week, while waiting for some more pictures of Jim for the portrait, I made a line and wash painting of a manatee mama and her calf. I love the slow gentle nature of these animals and the beauty of their curvy body shape. I would rather swim with these guys than dolphins any day, although octopuses are still my favourite. I think I would give my right arm to swim with an octopus!

Here are my process photos…

I have a strong preference for scientific styled paintings of animals and plants which usually have plain white backgrounds. However having some kind of background really helps a painting find connection with it’s viewers. This week I tried to make a smaller background by masking off a smaller rectangle around my main subjects and painting in a varigated wash using yellows greens and blues. Peeling off the extra masking was such a joy – like peeling the plastic protector off a new calculator or phone!

I stopped to savour the last bit and ended up photographing it.

Once this was done I painted my manatees. I began with big washes over the grey / brown areas and green areas (where the animals get covered in algae) and then moved on to the details.

Here’s the final painting…

12 thoughts on “Manatee Mama

  1. Lol, yeah. The whole micro worlds thing has been stuck in my head since I was a kid sitting in my first bubble bath building a city out of bubbles!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh this is properly funny! 😂😂😂 Especially if it was a Giant Pacific Octopus! Lol! The females sometimes pull the arms off males and sometimes the males are quite relieved because otherwise they could have been eaten! (I’m ambidextrous so I guess I could lose one arm to a stroppy cephalopod without it being the end of the world!)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I see what you mean about the second process sketch. The manatees have such graceful lines and that outline emphasises that part of their shape.

    Your idea about the maps is interesting too because as the algae grows on their backs in those map-like shapes it attracts huge number of other micro organisms who feed on the algae and some who feed on the algae feeders too. It is literally like whole micro-civilisations live on their backs!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. If a cooperative octopus should come along and offers to let you swim with it if you will give your right arm in exchange, I sure hope that as an artist you are left-handed! 😂😂😂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I love everything about this! I really like the way you framed them up…..looks great! And thank you for the process pics……very inspiring!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I really like the second process sketch—just the line art… clean and strong. And the final one: it looks as if they have maps on their backs.

    Liked by 1 person

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