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  • Michelle Fleur

Whale Watching and Watercolour Workshop


A couple of weeks ago I had the great pleasure of running another whale painting workshop through the awesome creative space Workshop Freo. This was my second workshop with them and it was just as wonderful as the first. But the absolute best thing about it was that there was the option to combine it with a morning whale watching tour with the best whale watchers around, Whale Watch Western Australia. Of course, I wasn't going to miss out on the whale watching fun and I had a great time out on the waters between Perth and Rottnest Island, hanging out with some friendly juvenile humpbacks. We were only ten minutes out from the jetty and we saw the pair of young males just quietly bobbing in the calm seas. Another boat approached them and they became more active and after a little while they were swimming right up to the boat, getting as close as they could and checking out everyone on board. They'd swim a distance away, disappear under the waves and then 10 minutes later they'd pop up right next to us. It's like they were playing a game of peekaboo with everyone on board. Now you see me, now you don't......oooo, now you see me!

They did a lot of gliding past on their backs and their white bellies glowed the most awesome turquoise colour under the waves. I don't know that there is anything more magical than watching a humpback rising out of the depths and slowly, surely, breaking the water's surface. It's simply mesmerising!

After a good long while with these two happy whales we headed back into Fremantle, content with our morning's interactions. But we were in for a special surprise! As we cruised towards the port a black lump was seen in the waters near the North Mole. The peeps at Whale Watch Western Australia weren't certain as to what it could be - a large seal perhaps? But no! It was a momma and baby Southern Right Whale! Oh my goodness, I was over the moon! I'd only just seen my first southern right whale 6 weeks or so beforehand and now here they were again right in my backyard! So exciting.

We didn't get too close for fear of disturbing them and attracting other vessels to the area, but it was just remarkable to see these beautiful creatures so close to home. There have been many sightings of a southern right mother and calf along the Perth coastline over the past month. I'm not sure if it is the same pair cruising up and down the coast or if they are different whales but it is really remarkable to see them this far north and close to the city.

After our adventurous morning on the boat with the whales we headed back to the Workshop Freo HQ above Bather's Beach and set up for our afternoon watercolour whales workshop. After my morning watching the whales I was more enthused than ever to share the whale painting love! Two of the wonderful Whale Watch Western Australia peeps joined in on the class and we were so lucky to get lots of whale stories and facts while we painted - yay, it was the best!!! Everyone who came to the workshop was so enthusiastic and focussed on their creative pursuit. It's lovely to be in a room full of quiet painters. I like to stand back and watch people engaged in the task of watercolour painting - the fluid nature of the paint makes it quite a relaxing past time if you let go of expectations. It's like a dance between your hand and the paint.

At the end of the workshop there were whales galore in the little Workshop Freo clifftop abode! I don't know how we fit all those painters and whales inside, but we did and it was as cosy as can be. I love sharing my techniques and seeing other people's whales come to life. All of them are unique and every painter hones their own special techniques and individual methods of moving paint around the page.

Thank you to everyone who came along. It was an absolute pleasure to paint with you!

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