Fishboy’s Story

Fishboy was born several years ago when my partner obligingly pulled a silly face that inspired me to create a whole scenario around its combination of wide eyed innocence, hope and fear.

In his first outing Fishboy was being chatted up by a bunch of mermaids who were clearly up to no good.

In 2016 year six paintings followed.

In January, inspired by Angler Fish, Fishboy tried a spot of deep sea fishing, only to find that a monster fish was less than impressed by his attempt at poaching.

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Poaching partrol, Fishboy comes acropper by Erica Madelin

Deciding that life on land might be easier afterall, Fishboy visited a small harbour town only to find the local cat population was rather too interested in his lunch.

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Shore Leave by Erica Madelin

Around the summer time he thought his luck was in when a foundered ship deposited a large box of tuna tins on his home beech. Free food! Alas, it was not to be because where was he to find a can opener?

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The Lord Giveth and the Lord Taketh Away by Erica Madelin

Food is of course not everything in life, love is food for the soul afterall. In the autumn, possibly following an inapproprate conversation about Hentai, Fishboy found himself in the arms of an amorous octopus.

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Cuddles by Erica Madelin

In December I took pity on Fishboy and sent him a bicycle. I heard that Archbishop Desmond Tutu once said: “Give a man a fish and feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and feed him for a lifetime. Teach a man to cycle and he will realize fishing is stupid and boring.” I think Fishboy knows that, deep in his fishy little heart but I somehow doubt he will ever get this bicycle on the road.

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Bicycles for Fishboys by Erica Madelin

Finally, as the New Year loomed I thought it would be nice if Fishboy got a present….possibly from his friend the octopus. Soggy, many armed Christmas jumper anyone? Still, it’s better than socks!

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Fits where it Touches by Erica Madelin

I don’t yet know what the new year will bring for Fishboy but I have so enjoyed doing these. I think I paint them like a child does, telling myself the story as I go and giggling slightly.

 

 

 

 

 

Do Fishboys Need Bicycles?

Almost from the moment I first noticed the man who was to become my boyfriend I wanted to paint him. I  remember him looking over his shoulder at me as we sat in a friend’s car and being struck by his eyes; greyish, blueish with a golden centre and set off by an intriguing scar under the left lid. He had long, thick black hair and lips like a pre-Raphaelite angel.

Unfortunately I had only just got back into painting then and attempts to paint him never worked. I think this is partly because we take our idea of a person not from a static image but an ever-changing memory reel of moments. No portrait can ever capture all those movements, micro-expressions and emotions. I would try to draw him from pictures and from life and we both decided my attempts weren’t up to much.

The years passed and then, how many years ago I don’t really remember, he pulled a particularly silly face, puffing out his cheeks and sticking his lower lip out in a pout. I think it was probably meant to look puppyish but somehow “fish” was what sprung to mind. With Arthur Rackham’s style in mind, I did a quick ink and watercolour of a pouting merman being teased by a group of mermaids.img_9688

Last year I did a further six fishboy paintings charting hapless fishboy’s search for the good things in life – mostly fish to be honest but he is also looking for love I suppose. I will put the full set on here shortly.

This year I also, finally, got as close as I have come so far to capturing his likeness in a proper portrait. It’s not quite right (get an angle wrong by a fraction of a degree and a likeness is lost) but it is a fair attempt.

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My question though is this: Which works best as a portrait? An oil in fairly traditional style, or a series of jokes poking gentle fun at my partner’s sometimes simple needs (tuna, love and bicycles)?

Flowers for a Friend

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A friend of mine asked me to do a sunny, happy picture for the room where she does positivity training and life coaching. I prefer slightly gloomy, wistful scenes (more of which later) so this was a bit of a challenge for me but she was adamant the flowers couldn’t be dying (not even ever so slightly!) so I decided to give it a go in oils.

Because I saw it as just a bit of fun I completed it in three sittings and used bright, opaque pigments. At the end of session two I stood back, quite pleased and then realised I had made a perfectly adequate advert for sunflower spread. The slightly abstract swirl into the blue sky that I had intended to express freedom and sunshine now looked suspiciously like margarine.

For session three I added some hints of brown into the petals (purely to stop it looking like an advert and nothing to do with my need to paint decay, honest gov!)
My friend was delighted though, so all’s well.

A taste of a book to come, hopefully

A taste of a book to come, hopefully

Since taking voluntary redundancy at the start of the year i have been hard at work on a project to paint a children’s picture book about a mother bat’s advice to her little battling. Maintaining the momentum has been hard but now i am just one picture away from finishing. I thought about using water colour pencils but just couldn’t get to grips with them. I found them too bright and i just coudn’t get the finish as even as i liked and so returned to my favourite medium- gouache. I don’t kid myself that finding a publisher is not going to be very hard work, but this was something i felt i had to try.