The orca print: beneath the surface

Taking a Dive | Behind the Scenes | Orca Print

Hello all, thank you for showing interest in discovering more about my Orca Print. Welcome to the first of a little Behind the Print blog series that I am excited to share with you! Discover the emotional journey behind each of the current collections and a bit about the painting itself. I thought we’d kick off with what seems to be a collective favourite – the Orca Print.

Orca Print | Original Print | Pigments by Liv
So here she is, the nameless Orca, launching herself out of the ocean. To tell you the truth, the orca print collection was a last-minute addition because my Dad genuinely thought it was a Penguin and my boyfriend thought she was too fat.

I’m glad I didn’t listen to them because boy did you guys prove them wrong by turning the Reusable 500ml Orca Water Bottle into one of our best sellers. You go, Glen Coco!

I wonder if this blog is just going to turn into a bunch of Mean Girls references…

Finding inspiration for the Orca Print

When I was doing art A-Level trying to find inspiration was such a drain, it felt so forced, like there was no allowance for epiphanies. Whereas, in the real world, inspiration is always leaping out at you. I’m not sure whether these are just moments of pure curiosity or admiration. However, for me, it is the combination of these that makes the natural world an infinite source of inspiration. 

The inspiration for the Orca print leaped straight out of a book. Voices in the Ocean: A Journey into the Wild and Haunting World of Dolphins is a non-fiction book written by Susan Casey, an award-winning journalist with a deep admiration for the mysterious ocean.

Voices in the Ocean

Voices in the Ocean Book | Beneath the Surface Orca Art Print | Behind the Print Series
The book dives beneath the surface of the extreme myths and legends surrounding Dolphins as well as their relationship and struggle with humanity. What struck me was the intelligence of these species, which was so well conveyed by Casey using both scientific and emotional evidence. Their ability to communicate, socialize, and have emotions seems unparalleled by the rest of the animal kingdom. It’s very magical.
However, like yin and yang, where there is light there is dark. She explains why dolphin encounters are life-changing to some, but also why the mass slaughter of these magnificent creatures should be considered genocide and why the captivity of dolphins is so cruel.

Side note: The Cove

The book hit me hard, so  I had to follow up and watched a documentary called The Cove – just watching the trailer now has me in bits.If you have the time, give it a watch.

How I choose books: finding voices in the ocean

Anyway, back to the book! I love to read and I’m not too fussed about what genre, but when it comes to buying books I have a few weird rules:
  1. I only buy second-hand books: there are way too many unwanted books already sitting on people’s bookshelves getting dusty, so there’s no need to waste resources on printing new ones. Therefore, I generally only buy books from charity shops – which is a win, win really! I don’t pay a lot, but the money I do pay goes to a good cause and no new books are printed. However, since the lock-down, the charity shops have been shut so I found a company called World of Books, who buy secondhand books from charity shops and either sell them online, donate or recycle them.
  2. The books are rated 4* or above on Goodreads: just to make sure the book is worth reading! This way, I don’t have to worry about the genre or author but know it’s still going to be a good book.
Following these rules, I picked up Voices in the Ocean in a Sense charity shop in Crawley. It was one of the two books I bought that day, usually, I am disciplined enough to buy just one book. So that, and the fact it was a non-fiction book (I love a story-line), meant it was a bit of a weird buy for me. However, I am fascinated by Orcas, who is one of the biggest dolphins, so I was sold.

[Can anyone else not get over how big whales are? Like, mind blown.]

Via Giphy
I would 100% recommend this book to anyone interested in biology, marine life, or Whales and Dolphins in general. For me, a good book is one that leaves a lasting impression and this book changed me. Shout out to my family for listening to my dolphin rambling for months after I finished reading!

A Killer Whale Painting

In these moments, it is hard not to be inspired. Painting a Killer Whale is hard, from an art perspective painting anything that’s jet black is difficult, especially in watercolour! The lack of light means paintings risk looking two-dimensional. 

Blue base | Orca Print Close up | Watercolour Killer Whale Painting
White overlays | Orca Print Close up | Watercolour Killer Whale Painting
Watercolour is such a great medium because the paint is so thin that you can capture the magnitude of colours. However, jet black still overpowers other colours. The contrast between black and white is iconic for any Killer Whale painting, so despite this, I wanted to use black as the base colour for my Orca Print.
It took a long time, but I found that through slowly building up layers-upon-layers of purples, blues, and soft yellows and whites, the Orca finally began to take shape and lift out of the paper. Having seen the Reusable 500ml Orca Water Bottle I am so excited to see these colours have survived the printing process! I’ll tell you a secret: I think the Killer Whale Painting is my favourite too.

I apologise if you didn’t expect this blog to be so intense, but art is married with passion and education. I hope you’ll be inspired to either read the book, paint your own Orca or even just buy a bottle!

‘Til next time!

Liv

xxx

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06/06/20

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