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Whale Stories

Watercolour of a whale  in art deco japanese prints style
This is the finished whale picture, as you can see, it’s probably one of my most graphic looking.

I mentioned some stories in my earlier post about whales, Famously Jonah spent three days inside a whales belly after an argument with God.
Sailors had trouble with mistaking whales for Islands and were shipwrecked as a result.

More recently, O my Best Beloved Rudyard Kipling described how the whale got his throat in his Just so Stories.

Perhaps one of the most famous stories about a whale is Moby Dick by Herman Melville, it was first published in 1851. It is considered to be one of the Great American Novels. Captain Ahab is consumed with his desire to kill the “white whale” after it had destroyed his boat and bittern off his leg.
Melville was inspired to write his book by actual events. One was the sinking of the Nantucket ship Essex in 1820, after it was rammed by a large sperm whale. The other was the alleged killing in the late 1830s of the albino sperm in the waters off the Chilean island of Mocha. The whale was rumored to have twenty or so harpoons in his back from other whalers, and attacked ships with premeditated ferocity. Well wouldn’t you!

The sperm whale has the largest brain of any animal. The name comes from the milky-white waxy substance, spermaceti, found in the animal’s head. spermaceti was one of the reasons that the sperm whale was hunted by whalers in the last three centuries. It was used as an ingredient in cosmetics and as a lubricant.

The hunting led to the near extinction of large whales until bans on whale oil use were instituted in 1972. The International Whaling Commission gave the species full protection in 1985 but hunting by Japan in the northern Pacific Ocean continued until 1988.
There are a number of whale species that are listed as endangered or vulnerable by the IUCN (International Union for the Conversation of Nature) including, North Atlantic right whale, the Sperm whale and the Blue whale.

Whales were little understood for most of human history as they spend up to 90% of their lives underwater, only surfacing briefly to breathe. They are the largest animals on the planet. Many cultures, even those that have hunted them, hold them in awe and feature them in their mythologies.

Whale painting in progress
Above you can see the painting in progress,as you can see I was keen to get a balance between the pinks the golds, the blues and finally the black ( I use ultramarine and burnt umber mixed together, you get move of a blue back that way.)

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  1. July 26, 2012 at 7:32 pm

    Wonderful!

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