Sunday, January 20, 2013

"The Strong Silent Type" - An Ocean Wildlife Painting of a Shark

"The Strong Silent Type"     5" x 7"     Acrylic on Museum Quality Claybord
BUY NOW from my Daily Paintworks Gallery

I am just so in love with painting ocean wildlife right now! I'm not exactly sure why I love it so much, but for some reason if I had to paint only one single subject for the rest of my life it would be ocean wildlife for sure. Perhaps it's all those gorgeous puzzles I used to do as a child - I think I had the whole set of them... You know, the "Seascapes" puzzles which featured Robert Lyn Nelson's art. Man oh man, those are some of the most beautiful images I have EVER seen in my entire life! I still have his puzzles buried away somewhere, waiting until the boys are a little older so we can enjoy doing them together (and honestly, mostly so they don't eat up all the pieces. Silly boys!). Seriously, I can't wait to dig them out and go to town on them together as a family!

Perhaps, however, my love of painting ocean themed work is just my simple love of the ocean. I prefer the "cold water oceans" more than anything else (possibly because I've never seen any other kind out here on the freezing San Francisco Coast, well, other than Seattle's coast, which is even colder!) and I seriously think there is little more beautiful in the world than the waves crashing against the shore and the feeling of soft sand between my toes.

And I know for a fact that all of our visits to the Monterey Bay Aquarium has a huge part in my love of painting these works too, as I've said before many times. But either way, I just love painting sharks and octopuses and all sorts of ocean creatures, like jellies and starfish too, and really had a blast painting this long awaited shark painting (on my part that is!). Then again, it was a little mind wracking too...

I really wanted this to be a more subdued, moody painting, where it looked more like a true glimpse of a shark in the murky waters of the ocean, on his own turf. I was hoping to make him look a bit foreboding, trying not to use any truly vibrant colors. But I'm not exactly sure if I went a little too far with it or not. I mean, I'm quite pleased with how it turned out in the end, but the true test is how others view it. That's an entirely different matter altogether. Then again, I guess that's true with any work of art. You never know what people will really like, and what might be your favorite might make others cringe, while the one work you absolutely abhor gets sold the instant you post it on your blog. Sometimes it can be so mind boggling how these things work...

One thing I do know is that I had a ton of fun with all the glazing of this piece, especially building up all the layers of kelp and water. The shark was a bit rough going there for a while, but in the end he turned into a shark, and I can't ask for much more than that! =) And the final glaze of paynes grey with a little baby blue, cream, and I think pthalo blue and burnt umber as well, was quite the experience, let me tell you! Nothing is quite as nerve wracking as covering your entire painting with a thick glaze, and then sitting back hoping you get the results you were going for because if not, you totally just ruined all your hard work.

Well, to be quite honest though, in times when you're debating whether or not to glaze I say it's good to just go for it, because you never know if that final little touch is going to take a piece from mediocre to something absolutely incredible in an instant. And even if it does the opposite, you can always go back and try to make something beautiful from the ashes, rather than just give up, as with all things in life. I feel like that's where I'm at right now with everything in our lives right now. I have this choice to be overwhelmed with all that's happening to me medically, emotionally and spiritually; with this glaze that's been washed over me making me look and feel like a completely different person than I was two years ago, and I can either learn to embrace it and fall in love with the new "me" that I am, or I can fight it and lose all the potential beauty that God is trying to build up in me through all these trials.

Wow, I'm sorry, I went on WAY longer than I meant to on this post, but I don't know, we're just dealing with so much right now and the only time I seem to get out of the house is for all my millions of doctors appointments and that's about it. Seriously, I just got majorly excited about getting to go grocery shopping yesterday, because it's the first time I've been somewhere "non-Kaiser" in FAR too long. So my outlet is this blog, and you, my friends, are the best listeners ever (that is, granted you made it all the way to the end here... If not, I totally don't blame you, not that you'd know it if I did anyways, because you'd have no idea I even wrote all this in the first place! Lol!)!

Well, thank you all for listening and I hope that if the case is that you are being "glazed over" right now through trials and difficulties galore like we are over here, that you will try to find some peace in knowing that in the end, even if it's scary and you don't know how things may turn out, that there is a chance for there to be so much more beauty and wonder in your life because of it than you ever could have imagined before, you only need to embrace it and not fight the change. Easier said than done, believe you me, but it's well worth the effort if you can get there. With the help of the Lord, my amazing family and friends, and in particular a very wise and Godly woman who has been a great encouragement and witness to me in this time, I sure am trying to do this the right way!!! I  really thank God for her and for everyone God has brought into my life who has helped us through all of our difficult times, for we are so blessed by all of you, and it's my prayer that you all have someone to mentor you and help you be a better person.

I prayed for two years for someone to come into my life to help mentor me because I so desperately needed it and guess what? I got TWO mentors, not just one! I am dying to meet with one of them again - we only got to meet shortly, but I know God has some major plans for the two of us, and I know he will use her greatly in my life (and hopefully use me a little in hers as well) to grow me and help me to become more gentle, calm, loving and Christlike. And my other mentor who I've been trying to meet with somewhat regularly is also exactly who God had planned for me all along - she even has a nerve disease much like my own and is helping me and my family to cope with all these crazy painful changes in our lives. And what's funniest about all of it is that when I asked her, I didn't even know her a tiny bit, but in all the time since that I've grown to know her, even as short as it's been, she has shown me so much about embracing the fact that I am not who I once was, but that it's okay to not be the "me" I used to be, so long as I can find joy in that and show love to others as the new "me" that I am now. I have to find new ways to love and serve and bless those around me, and it's not going to be easy (I've had so many ugly, despairing melt-downs over this it's not even funny), but it's my life and I can and will find joy in it because I know in the end that it's what God has had planned for my life all along, even before I was in my mother's womb. I'm Melissa 2.0 as my mentor endearingly calls me, and I love her for it!

I know I've totally talked your ears clean off by now so I'll leave you be (FINALLY, right?! Lol!), and I'm sorry again for the epically long post! I seriously hope you have a great day my friends, and that you can find the joy and peace in each and every circumstance thrown your way! =)

After all, "We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. May your unfailing love rest upon us, O Lord, even as we put our hope in you." (Psalm 33:20-22)


  1. I have to confess I've never done anything with the glazing. I'm probably one of those "I'm too scared!" types! LOL Very nice shark!

    1. Are you serious Kyra! Well, let me tell you, your work doesn't need it a bit! Man, seriously, I am totally in love with all your art. Would you possibly be up for an interview after this 30 Days is over? I really want to start getting some interviews of my favorite artists, and I'd love if you could do it! Let me know, okay? Have a great day and thank you!

  2. What a great post. Would love to hear more. I have had quite a journey these past 2 years. Your shark rocks! I am using aqua board.. crowquill pen and ink and watercolors varnished after....HAve painted creatures all my life. Enjoy seeing your work on the 30 day challenge.

    1. Well thank you so much Susan! I'm sorry you've been struggling so much as well over the last two years. If you're comfortable sharing on here, I'd love to hear about what has happened to you and where you're at with it right now. That way I can pray for you, if you don't mind it.

      I'm so intrigued by the medium you've chosen! I've never really used pen and ink by choice, though we used it a little during one of my art classes back in college, but I would really enjoy trying to get back into it and even just playing around with making those full on doodle type drawings, where the entire page is covered with random yet coordinated designs. I just thought that'd be fun, especially now that I know how to do henna. It's like a whole new world of possibilities opened up for me after having learned how to do that. Anyways, I hope things are going well for you and that you have a good night. God bless!

  3. I like this just the way it is, Melissa. You have a nice watery feel to it, and it looks like the shark is swimming right toward the viewer. Great painting!

    1. Thank you so much Claire! I keep vacillating between really liking it and being really worried about having added the final wash, but the more I see it around the house the more I like it. I guess I just needed some extra time to get used to this one. =)


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