Fantasy oil painting “Whale oasis”

Fantasy oil painting “Whale oasis” ©YueZeng 2023

Initial thoughts

The initial idea is to paint a whale flying in clouds. I love the paintings online that a giant whale flies in sky. However, I want to expand the story a little bit. The question is, why does the whale have to fly in clouds? What is the purpose of this creature? As we know, whale is marine mammal. It lives in the ocean. In contrast the landscape would be desert. So now I am thinking about a whale flying in the middle of desert. But why? What is the most rare thing in desert?

The oasis.

Now the whale has a purpose. It carries the oasis and flies through the vast desert. But soon I found out that only a flying whale and desert dune couldn’t tell how big the creature is. Therefore I put three African antelope on the sand. These wild animals not only show the huge size of the flying whale but also make the story more interesting. They are waiting to get on board the oasis.

So, the mystery oasis in desert is a legend. Because it is not on ground, it is floating and moving in sky. It hides itself above clouds so nobody knows. It will only show up when wildlife needs it. The giant whale which carries the oasis has a map on its body to indicate the place it has been and the place it will be going. There are palm trees, springs and sink hole (whale’s blow hole). The animals can have a rest in the oasis but they cannot stay there forever. It is a temporary pit stop. They will return to desert eventually.

Digital sketch

I don’t want to overdo the background clouds in terms of layering and blending. Thus I use very straightforward brush strokes to paint those clouds as the final painting above.

Digital sketch


I have to keep in mind that the yellow colors are so transparent. Next time if I need to paint something yellow I have to stop using burnt umber for underpainting. 😂

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My paintings are an outlet to express the imagination I have inside my head that I can not put into words. After trying many mediums, I always find myself coming back to paint and brushes. In my current artistic practice, I use oil paint and mainly create portraits of mythical creatures and animals transfixed in the shifting colours of seascapes and landscapes. There is a natural spirit and magic to these creatures and their energy draws me in. Choosing to paint these creatures as real living wildlife rather than abstractions, I use bold and vivid colours to express the imaginary intertwined with reality, finding magic between the seams. Using a saturated colour palette, I create bold and striking imagery, contrasted between foreground and background, subject and landscape, and light and darkness. Weaving their bodies and the surface of the landscape into each other through organic forms and flowing brush strokes, I find beauty, strength and innocence in these creatures that reflect my inner world.