My next piece is already underway, journeying into the underwater world of Esox. Depicting one of the most celebrated times for pike anglers, the post spawn, when pike put the feed bag back on to try to recover from the arduous task of passing the torch to the next generation of water wolves.
Fuelled by hundreds of hours chasing pike and the unforgettable memories witnessing pike hit the afterburners to grab their target, this piece aims to stop time and appreciate the tremendous power and force these fish impose on their targets. As burst predators relying heavily on ambush, pike are notorious for spending a great deal of time, when the water is still cold, in shallow, weedy environments where their camouflage and patience often rewards them.
This was a heck of a challenge to complete and I’m really happy with how it came together. I had a very vague image in my mind of how I wanted it to turn out and put a lot of faith in the process. The vision for the piece continually evolved the more I worked on it and slowly took shape. Throughout the process, I took the painting off the easel and looked at in a mirror and stood back to see how it balanced. I wanted to take the viewer into the pike’s world and give an “in your face” experience.
Having the lighting coming from the back of the subjects, made for an interesting challenge. I had to think outside the box and create the illusion with lighting showing through the fins and having the shadows cast towards the viewer. The effect was challenging but I think adds a unique element to the piece. We’re used to seeing paintings and photos with front or side lighting, so pulling this effect off took a bit of extra thinking.
And lastly, adding the finishing details was one of my most fun parts of the piece. I added little swirls of blood coming from where the pike’s teeth are penetrating the sucker, pearlescent scale highlights on the pike, and I hid a perch in the lower right of the painting as well.
All in all, I had a lot of fun with this one and I’m glad the journey is over. =P I’m finding the more paintings I work on, the moment when I put the brushes down is a great moment. It’s closure on weeks of being absorbed into a painting.