O-fish-al Art Recap

The #SundayFishSketch is a Twitter hashtag that encourages like-minded individuals to incorporate art and fish into their weekly lives. It is a great community to join for beginning sketchers and is also a way for seasoned artists to continue to practice. Many of the #SundayFishSketch themes can be fun getaways from your current life while others touch on relevant and current holidays or world topics. Continue reading for highlights of some of the #SundayFishSketch themes, facts, and art that occurred over the last few months.


#EARTHDAY

Every year on April 22nd is ‘Earth Day,’ a holiday dedicated to promoting the protection of our environment and hosting celebrations that support this effort. Since beginning in 1970, Earth Day has become a worldwide event and in more recent years often supplemented with yearly themes. As lovers of nature and all things fish, I asked our artists to do something to support protecting our environment. Whether it was picking up some trash or using recycled items or drawing materials to make their art. This supportive and Earth-conscious community did their part

Caroline posted an image of waste that was removed from the banks of the St. Lawrence River.  Pollution is a worldwide problem, and waste in waterways has numerous adverse effects on organisms living in those systems. Whether it is the leaching of chemicals to physical entrapment and/or feeding on indigestible material, pollution in our waterways is a global problem . Proper disposal, environmentally friendly choices, and cleaning up your local waterways can all help prevent these types of pollution.

E and his brother H went big for this event. Creating a basking shark (Cetorhinus maximus) by recycling/reusing plastics and cardboard. We love seeing such an environmentally-conscious community. 

Why not combine food with art? Ben agrees, and created an orange-peel fish. Not only that, he provided the community with an ‘art over time’ aspect, showing his fishy creation days later and…. crispy.

#FATTYFATCATFISH

There isn’t much to say in the scientific or informative sense for this theme. Basically, catfishes (Siluriformes) are a group of fishes that can be found in both freshwater and marine systems. This group of fishes possess barbels on their faces, reminiscent of the whiskers of a cat. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and some catfishes…. can also be fatty. One of our community members, @TheCageySea, suggested drawing some fatty fat ones for this theme. Our artists rendered some truly fantastic and fat catfishes. Their work will be sure to put a smile on your face.

Titus included humans for scale in his rendering of both a big, and big and fat catfish. Looking at their colors and caudal fins, it’s likely these are two different species. Maybe a channel catfish (Ictalurus punctatus) and a flathead catfish (Pylodictis olivaris)? Two large freshwater species found in North America 

Adam illustrated a wels catfish (Silurus glanis). A large species found in Europe; they are voracious predators and have often been filmed eating birds. A great contender for this theme.

Although not the ‘biggest,’ Jennifer sketch what is certainly a very rotund catfish. The gulper catfish (Asterophysus batrachus) from Brazil swallows its prey whole, where it ends up in the catfish’s greatly extended stomach. So great even, that its stomach can even impair its swimming ability. Truly a dedicated eater.

#CUBED

Cubism was one of the most influential art movements of the 20th century. Always wanting to expand our artists horizons, I asked them to sketch a fish in the cubist style. This means breaking down and reassembling their fish species of choice in an abstract form, depicting it from multiple perspectives representing a greater context.

John’s piranha school (Serrasalmidae) overlap in a sort of tiled and pleasing manner. Although not life-threatening alone and mainly feeding on insects, molluscs, fruits, and fish, a school of red-bellied piranhas (Pygocentrus nattereri) can decimate a larger animal effectively (usually already sick, weakened or dead).

Solomon went the AI route and digitized this Cuban ci-GAR (Atractosteus tristoechus).

Marsh illustrated different species of fishes in a net. A really neat take on the Cubism theme.


ARTIST OF THE MONTH

What is it like to participate in the #SundayFishSketch? Just ask our artist of the month, Alex Lovegrove (@ATLovegrove), professional artist and scientist extraordinaire.

How long have you been participating in the #SundayFishSketch?

I’ve been participating on and off since 2019.

Why did you decide to participate and has it been difficult to sketch on a semi-regular basis?

I’ve always been fascinated by marine creatures, especially fish, and I work on a lot of natural history art, so it seemed like a great way to keep up a regular practice and share my art with like-minded people.  There’s a fantastic community of artists and scientists that like to share and appreciate each other’s work and it has been very enjoyable to participate in.

I sometimes take extended breaks from social media, so I haven’t always participated regularly, but it’s always been a good source of motivation to get something done.  I tend to take a long time on my personal artwork, so having a weekly day to work on something a bit more quickly is useful!  I’m more mindful of setting aside some time to keep up regular practice lately.

Do you believe your art has improved since joining the hashtag? 

Definitely.  It’s a great way to practice and I’ve had a lot of fun working with colour and on new gouache techniques.  Some of the themes can be fun to experiment with and try something new, which is always good for improving!

What has been your favorite theme thus far and why? 

Any of the themes that require a bit of thinking, especially if I have to look up and draw a fish I’ve never heard of before.  It’s a great way to learn about the world of fish and see what other people produce!   I particularly liked the “Fool other fish” theme from this April, which had a lot of creative entries.

Check out Alex’s website, instagram, and Facebook for additional fantastic (although often non-fish related) art. These are absolutely worth exploring.


START SKETCHING

Interested in participating in the #SundayFishSketch? Join us by posting your fish art on Twitter using the hashtag! Are you are interested in learning how to draw fishes but are unsure of where to start? Check out my previous post on ‘How to draw a fish’ as a place to begin. We look forward to seeing your fishy creations!

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