'I'm always looking for the Hows and the Whys and the Whats,' said Muskrat, 'That is why I speak as I do. You've heard of Muskrat's Much-in-Little, of course?'
'No,' said the child. 'What is it?'
- The Mouse and his Child. Russell Hoban.

Go here to find out more.

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Spoilt for choice.

I need to narrow things down a bit in this pet shop art malarky.
I thought I had done that by saying to myself at the start 'Fish Only!'  No gorgeous fluffy guinea pigs or soft-eyed, lop-eared rabbits, no happy, bouncy puppies, tongues lolling, looking at me beseechingly as I walk on past with my chair and fold-up table and paint brushes, tubes and jar of water.  No appealing kittens, no rainbow lorikeets, bright green love-birds, no azure and white budgies looking like a piece of Australian sky come down to earth, and not even the fabulous blue-tongued lizard.
Just fish.

But what a variety of fish there are here!  And of course, like everything, the more I look, the more I learn.  And the more I learn the more I enjoy.  I want to paint them all.  What to do?

Agressive stance - this one raises its top fin
and the black band is suddenly visible.

Quick, she's taking our photo!  

I finally settled on this female Blue Ram (Mikrogeophagus ramirezi) below.  At least, I think she is female because she has a blue haze over her second dark patch.  What gorgeous colors, don't you think? She comes from the Orinoco River basin.

Four hours later...  Just the tail and top fins to do.

Blue Ram. Conte chalk and coloured pencil on black paper.

Blue Ram.  Detail.


  1. Katherine, your beautiful, clear photos will mean you'll be able to work on those paintings long after you've left the Pet Shop. I think you chose the hardest one to draw and you've captured the "expression" on her face perfectly.
    Wish I could draw... or sing !!!You're great at one of those, can you sing too? ( I hate you if you do both well !!!)

    1. Helsie... Thank you for your lovely comments. I do find a combination of drawing from life and photos is a good combination.
      I sing, but very badly. Please continue to like me ! :-)

  2. Replies
    1. Aw thanks Fi. The photos have to be good and sharp for painting from. And of course they are a best from about fifty.

  3. Such patience! Such careful observation! One of these days I plan to make some more Art of my own - partly inspired by you - but I think I might start by turning one of my photos into a watercolour or line drawing. Fish don't stay still long enough!

    1. Wow. I'm honoured to influence you. Your photos would translate brilliantly into paintings.

  4. In your picture she (sorry to be a bit rude and not use her name but you didn't mention it) looks as though she is somewhere between coy and wanting to give the next fish she sees a big kiss.

    1. Heh. well Geeb, despite Helsie's comment, I don't think I have the mouth quite right yet. I'll give it some more work next Monday.
      You may name her if you wish.

  5. Your drawing is so perfect you could market it through Tracings 'R' Us....

    My entry in the naming contest: Bubbles

  6. Well, thank you Robert. But I don't deserve such fulsome praise. Just look at the depth of the body, for instance. Also the shape, size and placement of the mouth, and also the body shape just below the mouth...
    Bubbles. Um, well, OK.


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