the corky mural


I randomly come across a book that I had heard about on NPR titled, Listening to Whales: What the Orcas Have Taught Us by Alexandra Morton.  I bought it and was surprised by how deeply I was impacted by what I learned from this author.  I started to research more about the topic of Orcas, specifically Corky who lives right here in San Diego, and whose heart-breaking story really struck a chord within me.  While investigating orcas on the Internet, I discovered that anyone, with or without kayaking experience, could actually kayak with wild orcas in the same waters where Morton's book is set.  So I booked the trip, and Steve and I drove all the way from San Diego to Telegraph Cove.  This mural is very special to me, as it was created in response to our visit with the Orcas in the wild in Johnstone Strait, British Columbia.  Steve and I kayaked with the these magnificent creatures in the waters where Corky's family returns every summer.  We visited Orcalab and met the infamous Paul Spong.  We camped in the rain forest, ate wild salmon cooked over a fire, listened to the respirations of a pod of Orcas who passed our camp in the middle of the night, and were honored to be allowed to sleep on the sacred land of the First Nations


 How many orcas have died as "Shamu"?  (click the link to read the facts)

This is an image of the mural in progress.  I usually draw the entire mural before I begin painting, but this mural had a life of its own.  I had already fired some of the completed tiles before I had even finished some of the areas that were giving me a challenge in terms of finishing the design.

The finished product.

This was taken from my kayak!  Notice the rainbow above the rain forest.

This is the back of my head and that is a curious female killer whale coming in for a look at us.  Her baby stayed a little distance out.  You can see the baby in the top left corner of the photo.  I am actually sitting on a rock right on the edge of the cove of Little Kai (short for Kaikash) beach, which is a favorite rubbing beach.

Our group getting ready to break camp and head back to civilization after six days on the water and camping in the rain forest. 

We were told that a Grey whale and a bear had been spotted at this beach just the day before our arrival.

One of hundreds of bald eagles that we had the pleasure of observing.

 We had our tent in the clearing between the ferns.  The ground smelled of cedar and was so soft that I could easily go barefoot.  This was our campsite at Little Kai.


The view of Little Kai cove from our tent.




A First Nations petroglyph of a mosquito can been found on this sheer rock face.




You can see the image more clearly in this blown up version of the last photo.  The face is red and is in the center of the photo.

Self-portrait with baby orca.

The original drawing for the corky mural comes from Alexandra Morton's book.  It is about 2" x 3" and the mural is 3' x 4.5'.  I use a blueprint machine to blow up small images to large scale.