The sardine run is one of the largest and most spectacular animal migrations on the planet. My hope is to draw attention to this annual phenomenon which begins off the west coast of Southern Africa. These birds, among other predators like sharks, seals and whales, all participate in a feeding frenzy, a mass hunt to secure themselves a portion of the millions of schooling sardines. Cape Gannets are specialist underwater swimmers, hence the title “Ocean Divers” which describes more accurately their nature and activities. Of interest to me is the bird’s unique aquatic ability that characterises and urges it to dive into the ocean after its prey. I also enjoy the abstract elements in a work like this. The power of the dive as the bird enters the water creates a plume of bubbles resembling a vapour trail. As the bird encounters its target, the energy of the dive is broken into an exploding mass of bubbles, feathers and fleeing sardines, distorted by the water and light flooding through the ocean. The challenge for me in painting a scene like this is to communicate these elements and maintain a balance between abstraction and realism.
Description: Diving gannets
Medium: Oil on canvas
Dimensions: 98cm x 67cm
Award of Excellence
Awarded by the judges at the SAA 2013 Annual Exhibition Opening
Held at The Bennington in Bennington, VT.
The Award of Excellence is the highest honour presented by the Society of Animal Artists.