The Making of "Out of the Blue"


"Into the Blue" is my largest piece to date and is the 10th piece in my "Vanishing Thunder" collection which highlights at risk and endangered species. This collection means so much to me as I donate 20% of all the profits to the World Wildlife Fund to help save our most at risk species. I am so happy to say that to date, (July 2020), I have been able to donate almost $1000.00 to such a worthy cause. I am hoping to double that over the coming year and am looking at an exciting calendar opportunity for 2021!

When I first started thinking of doing this collection of endangered species, I knew at least one whale would be on my drawing table. I feel such a deep connection to the ocean and the life it contains. I should confess as well that I am partial to humpbacks. I remember the thrill of going on a whale watching tour years ago off the coast of beautiful Vancouver Island and seeing several humpbacks. Unfortunately I didn't get to witness their phenomenal acrobatic skills, but it was enough just to share peaceful ocean space for a few brief moments before they disappeared into the watery depths. It is a memory I will cherish for a lifetime!

This piece provided me with a few challenges...

  1. The size of the piece.  I know as far as art goes, you may think that 12" x 16" seems small, but please keep in mind I am working with the tiny point of a pencil, not the broad stroke of a brush. It was an intimidating size! I usually work around the 9" x 12"  or 11" x 14" size so it was a large piece for me. I chose it though because I thought that the subject matter demanded a larger surface, and I was feeling up for a challenge!
  2. My beautiful reference photo for the whale and the water was in black and white. I added in the seagulls and changed the mountains and waves but I knew I didn't want a black and white piece. So I got to go "hog wild" and let my artistic license run a-muck with the colours! I wanted to keep the colours similar in tones, so used primarily blues and purples, (but I did sneak in some reds and greens in the undertones of the whale, and actually used some creams and yellows in the water and sky- trust me, they are there!
  3. And last but not least, I reveal to you a secret- the water scared the heck out of me! It was so complex that I left rendering that to the very end, a bit in fear that I would mess up what I had already achieved. Actually, truth be told I avoided it. You see, I wasn't quite sure how to approach it. I've never done a piece quite like it. How do I create the movement of the waves and realistically capture the way sunlight seems to sparkle and dance across the surface of the water? How do I create depth and atmosphere in the piece? I had no clue but eventually had to put my big girl pants on and figure it out!
  4. And always a gluten for punishment, I also decided to use a grey surface to draw on instead of my usual white. What happens when you draw and shade on a coloured surface is that the colours distort somewhat when you are laying them down making it even more of a challenge to figure it out. I know I really didn't help myself on that account but I like to push myself out of the comfort zone, as that is how I will grow and develop as an artist.

I have to say that I am really happy with the final results, even though there were several swear words and more then a prayer or two involved in the process. I hope you enjoy the final results too! ;)

  • Humpback whales are beautiful, peaceful and enormous creatures — reaching the size of a school bus! They are perhaps best known for their haunting songs and for their amazing acrobatic skills when breaching the water.
  • The humpback song is a complex sequences of moans, howls and cries that can often continue for hours and be heard up to 20 miles away according to National Geographic. It is interesting to note that only the males do the singing, so it is thought that they are trying to attract a pretty lady whale for an intimate affair! ;)
  • Humpback populations were hunted to near extinction putting them on the endangered species list. Since being protected, the whales are enjoying a steady increase in numbers. Let us hope that generations to come will continue to be spell bound by their beautiful song and in awe when witnessing this amazing creature heave itself out of the water and come crashing back with a mighty splash and disappear once again into the ocean's inky black depths.