Its been quite a journey moving to Port Elizabeth, settling into a work rhythm and choosing what next to paint has been surprisingly difficult. One of the reasons is due to fishing related distractions and setting up my studio. Never the less I have felt a renewed spirit. PE is a beautiful place, especially here on the wild side. It seems, nature is quite literally on our doorstep. I am inspired by so much of what I see here that deciding on what to paint next becomes a toss up.
I have been toying with the idea of painting another garrick / leerie painting for a while, but relocating gave me fresh perspective and cemented my decision that I was to paint a leerie.
I started with a huge amount of research, scouring my reference files of saved photos and sketches before even wetting a paint brush. Then came the finicky task of accurately drawing the fish combining my references in a mental choreograph onto canvas. This process is very important as it lays the foundation for the painting. The animal kingdom is very particular in terms of their appearance, movement and habits so portraying them natural them requires a careful eye. I always like to get feedback from knowledgeable friends to give me fresh perspective. When working so closely on a painting, one is blinded to a possible errors that pop out with a fresh pair of eyes.
Once I was happy with the proportions of the fish, the painting process began. I wanted a detailed lighting effect displayed on the fish and through the water, the garrick, being a predominately top water predator, allowed me to explore this to full effect. My desire was also to portray typical Eastern Cape murky water complete with bits of sea weed and other suspended debris to add to the believability.
After a few weeks of work, I managed to finish my leerie painting entitled "Leerie in Pursuit". The original, acrylic on board, is now available as well as canvas prints. I hope you like it!