The boy and shark are joined as one item, only a few fins are left over, along with a few bubbles. The painting was intentionally made empty. This keeps you focused on the subject matter. The waves above and reflections below are only to illustrate the shallow beach scene, keeping them more abstract than real. Another words not wanting to take away from the main focal point, boy/shark.
Originally the artist had plans for other items in the scene. But as described above, simplicity was best. You can still see some sketches within the painting, as they were initially not removed. Why? It’s the Artists defiance towards perfectionism and commercial art. It’s a treasure hunt for you to find these items later, some stick out strong, while others are very subtle.
Setting the scene
Spending time on the beach for any boy is a wonderful exploration. However, when seeing a shark, any normal child would flip out and start swimming for the shoreline – steadfast! But not this American Boy, No-Sir-Ree-Bob, when opportunity knocks, you take it! Never mind the immediate danger of the shark and other serious issues like air, rip tide, etc… let the fun begin!!! Everyone can see sand and shells. But not everyone can say they rode a shark!
The shark and boy where reluctant to work together for a photo shoot. Thus improvising was a must for this outlandish display. The artist used several photos and sketches, along with software manipulations to obtain the scene he desired. However, even from a collage of photos and sketches, the artist improvises onto the canvas the final layout.
Do sharks have eye brows? Not dark black ones, that's for sure. It was challenging for the artist to illustrate a shark with character, without going cartoon. Providing a small eyebrow is a way to show an emotional state, even if its anatomically not feasible. If not mentioned, perhaps it would have never crossed your mind. This is the luxury of an artist, changing the perception of the world, and your treat of knowing this secret.
This painting is less abstract than most of the collection. However, the artist still leaves bits and pieces of raw art to discover. Understanding how to keep a painting true, with layout, composition, values, etc., and also leaving behind rough sketches, is an art within itself; when to stop, or cover, repaint... For an example, you can see the boys leg outlined "under" the sharks pectoral fin, you can also see a pencil sketch outline of the sharks belly in the upper right of the photo. Some places the artist chose to cover the dark black outlines, and others he chose not to.
Rather than a timid scrubbing of paint, you can visualize the artist having strong, deliberate, and fast brush strokes. These -so called- "imperfections" are absolutely deliberate. As you can see in most of his painting series. It truly is Defying Perfectionism. It shouts, this is a painting not a photo!
Similarly the red Fin. At a distance its painted sufficient enough but close examination you see the reflection of the waves behind the fin. A more opaque color of red would easily cover up the reflection of the wave. However, allowing this type of imperfection in the painting is exactly what the artist is trying to capture. However, if you purchase an Embelished Giclee this can all change.