Christopher Kovacs - Fine Art
July 13, 2024   6:44 am NL Time

A Bull in the Bay

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A Bull in the Bay


Status of Original Painting – Sold at Charity Auction

All prices are in Canadian dollars

Size: 21 x 16  inches

Medium: Watercolour on 300 lb Arches

Price: $1,200


Humpback whales are most often depicted breaching, waving a pectoral fin, or flipping the tail. Instead, here is the tail a moment before it fully breaks the surface, water streaming off, as the humpback starts its plunge. I love how the whale’s passage creates surrealistic swirls, colours, and chaotic patterns in the water. In the moment your attention is on the magnificent whale passing quickly by, and you don’t have time to appreciate what it’s done to the water.

That’s the Bay Bulls Lighthouse on the colorful, rocky cliff. The Town of Bay Bulls in Newfoundland was not named after cattle but instead a particular bird called the Common Dovekie, which is locally nicknamed the “bull-bird.”

A male humpback whale is a bull; hence, a bull in Bay Bulls…in case you are still wondering about the title.

This is my third humpback whale painting after “Into the Depths” and “Newfoundland Breach.” I’m sure there will be more.

I took the reference photo in July 2017 while on a whale and iceberg watching tour with O’Briens. That was a very worthwhile afternoon for me because it’s resulted in six paintings already, including “Into the Depths,” “Blue Haven,” “Toward the Light,” “Amid the Stacks,” “Coloured Water,” and now this one. There are other photos of whales, icebergs, cliff faces, and boats from that trip that I plan to turn into paintings.

The humpback approaching the lighthouse recalled to mind Ray Bradbury’s haunting short story “The Fog Horn.” A lonely leviathan or sea monster, the only survivor of its kind from prehistoric times, surfaces from the ocean depths, thinking that the lighthouse’s booming signal is a mating call from one of its own. The unresponsiveness of the lighthouse to his passionate call makes him think the lighthouse is a haughty flirt. I’d have to change this to a night scene for it to work though…as I’ve experimented with in Photoshop, below. That story later became the basis of a movie, “The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms.”


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