Defend – Conserve – Protect.  Do you know whose slogan this is?

If you guessed the Sea Shepherd, you guessed correctly.  The Sea Shepherd movement involves defending, conserving and protecting our oceans and marine wildlife, combating illegal fishing, sea life rescues and many years of pilot whale defense campaigns, actually virtually forty years of campaigning.  Their 40th anniversary is quickly approaching and one of the ways they are marking this momentous occasion, and organisation, is by hosting an art exhibition at the Waterside Pavilion at Hobart Docks, Tasmania, commencing Monday 2nd October through to Sunday 8th October.

I was thrilled to have been asked to participate.  The theme is quite broad – conservation. I thought I’d have a go at what most people associate with Sea Shepherd and that is whales.  I’ve never painted a whale before and I have always found painting water particularly challenging.  So, my first plan of action was to buy paper that had some resist (unfortunately I didn’t take note of the name of the papers I bought.  I just went with feel but I will go back to the shop, buy more, take note of the names and will come back to report my findings).

Watercolour paper absorbs the paint too much for the watery effect that I’m seeking. This is a painting I did two years ago on Daler & Rowney 300gm Aquafine Aquarelle Watercolour paper.

unfurling and fernssml

I wet the paper and then applied watered down Ecoline ink to create a watery background.  Aquarelle paper has quite a bit of resist and this lack of absorbency allows you to create this look.

Ecoline ink
liquid watercolour

I tried doing the background for a whale painting on the Aquarelle paper and I wasn’t impressed with the first coat.  It doesn’t have as much resist as I would like. I wet it all again and tried lots of splattering.  I’m happier with this and will give it a go.  I’ll see what the end outcome brings.

background painted on 300gm Aquarelle Watercolour paper

I painted this humpback adult and young whale on a paper with a lot of resist.  It feels like it almost has a plastic coating.  It was so much fun to paint on.

Humpback Whale
Humpback Whales for Sea Shepherd Art Exhibition

I wet the paper and then applied the watercolour paint.  It was really, really wet so I left it to dry and went upstairs to make a nice cup of tea (I love hot cups of tea!).  A couple of hours later, I checked on it and discovered the paint in the bottom part of the painting, had formed the coolest bubbles ever!  They are soooo cool.  I’m just in awe of them.  Had I known this was going to happen, I would have applied this colour to a lot more of the painting.  I think this colour may have also helped to make the whales look more like they are underwater too.  Unfortunately the photos don’t accurately capture the life-likeness of the bubbles created.


I’m going to continue to try a variety of papers with resist and I will let you know how this goes.  Do you think I’ll have a repeat of unintentionally creating the coolest bubbles ever?  Has any of your painting experiences resulted in cool bubble-making??  I’d love to hear about it!

Thanks for reading,

by Patricia (Pj), the unfurling artist


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