Puffins Go to China and Their Boat Finds an Admirer
I was looking at boats for something else and found a photo of a Chinese junk which reminded me of a fish, due to the finny look of the sails, especially the one in back, which was the only white one… That made me think of this mirror image idea. Then the pilot fish crowded in, like they do (they might show up in another piece that occurred to me before this one, and which I have not been able to get straight yet in sketches - so this one jumped ahead in line). Then the cranes, because the junk also needed something black and white in the foreground, to balance the pilot fish. Then the boat needed occupants. I don’t remember how the puffins got to be here (why puffins, rather than something else).
Once the main characters were all set, I realized I wanted other striped fish. I thought of clown fish, and was delighted to find that Malaysian clown fish are nearly black where the typical clown fish is orange, which made them a perfect segue between the pilot fish and the orange variety. If you know my work, the yellow fish shape on ultramarine blue background is a signature item. Finally, the second junk and the pelican rounded out the cast and provided some depth and scale.
Painting this was like watching a sunset over a bay on the China Sea. I enjoyed this more than most.
18 x 24 inches, watercolor, ink and Prismacolors on Arches 140 lb hot press paper.