WIP - The Dark Salt Sea (Moby Dick)

I probably read Moby Dick by Herman Melville for the first time only about a year or two ago. I was playing catch up on various classic works of literature that I had never gotten around to reading but had always wanted to. The quest for the white whale seemed like a good place to start over a hot humid summer. I had actually originally read the non-fiction book In the Heart of the Sea, which was the true accounts of the Nantucket whaler Essex, which was rammed and sunk by an enraged bull sperm whale around the year 1819 or 1820.

This actual maritime disaster (the men aboard the ship spent three months at sea adrift for the most part, and resorted to cannibalism in their dire hunger and thirst), inspired Herman Melville when he wrote the end of Moby Dick, in which the white whale rams and sinks the Captain’s ship.

In this artwork, I wanted to depict Moby Dick as an ancient and almost elemental figure, and to that end I decided to stylize him almost like a piece of driftwood.

WIPs are below:


  • kafka
    kafkaover 4 years ago

    Great WIP/demo Lynnette! – it really shows the amazing amount of work that you have put into this painting – love the very clever driftwood idea, it also reminds me of those carvings that used to be made on whalebone, but this is like a ‘revenge’ for them!

    Will you think about posting a copy of this WIP here.. – I’m sure you will get a lot of interest from the group members

  • Ok sure! Actually I have a bunch fo WIPs that I’ve posted in my journal. I may post another couple there ?

    – Lynnette Shelley

  • I think those carvings were called Scrimshaw. I know what you are talking about though I’ve never seen one in person. I read about them a bit in that book I described above. You should read it if you are into non-fiction at all.

    – Lynnette Shelley

  • Michael Scholl
    Michael Schollover 4 years ago

    Oh wow!!!! I can’t wait!!!

  • You don’t have to. It’s up on RB already. lol. Thanks Michael

    – Lynnette Shelley

  • kafka
    kafkaover 4 years ago

    Please do Lynnette! – I’m trying to encourage more group members to post demos and WIPs (everyone loves looking at how a work is made!:-) so the more the merrier…….x

  • Ok I posted four WIPS. I’ll try and remember to post them there in future. Thanks! Also I’m going to have to get busy reading some of your and other’s posts there!

    – Lynnette Shelley

  • Maryann3
    Maryann3over 4 years ago

    Very interesting story about the Essex. And I love the painting so far.You can still buy things that look like scrimshaw, just not ivory like it used to be. (At least I hope not) I have some done on a plastic. They are beautiful.

  • eoconnor
    eoconnorover 4 years ago

    well done posting lynette !LIZ

  • Alan Kenny
    Alan Kennyover 4 years ago

    excellent work