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Submitted on
July 27
Image Size
428 KB


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Despedida Vaquita ( 'Goodbye Vaquita' ) by namu-the-orca Despedida Vaquita ( 'Goodbye Vaquita' ) by namu-the-orca
Species depicted: Vaquita, Gulf of California porpoise or Desert porpoise (Phocoena sinus)
Time taken: unrecorded, but many
References used:…………………
Tools of the trade: Photoshop CS5

The Vaquita, or Desert porpoise, is not only one of the smallest of all cetaceans but also the most endangered of all marine mammals. Only an estimated 150 remain in the northernmost tip of the Gulf of California, and dozens die each year in the gillnets of local shrimp fishermen. Vaquitas are gorgeous little porpoises, handsomely marked with big black spots around the eye, varying shades of grey on their flanks and black-lined lips that give them a haunting smile, even in death. With the Baiji lost to us only so recently, it would be horribly sad to lose another cetacean species to human activity. And we will lose the Vaquita, soon, if nothing is done about the situation. Several groups are working hard to find a solution that will not only help the Vaquita, but will also allow the fishermen to keep making a living. You can go to for more info on the Vaquita, what's being done and how you can help, or watch this beautiful video:…

As a member of the Muskwa club, a student-based organisation whose aim is to prevent the Vaquita from going extinct, I had promised a painting like this for quite a while. The early beginnings were already made in April, although the painting looked very different back then; it showed a couple of Vaquita, dead on a stainless steel table - the whole inspired by this very sad photo:… However, I got stuck trying to make an actual, finished painting out of my quick primary sketch, and it was then that I threw the whole idea out the window. In a flash of inspiration out came the sunset, the beach and the unfortunate Vaquita, and it's the idea I stuck with. So now, almost three months later, it is finally finished. Some parts were fun to do, some hard and some plain boring, but I am overall very pleased with the end result.

I hope you enjoy it as well and maybe have learned, or will learn more about this exquisite porpoise's plight. If we work together, we hopefully never will have to say 'Despedida Vaquita' and can cheer 'Viva Vaquita!' instead :)

All submissions in this gallery, be it photos, paintings or drawings, are copyrighted to me, Namu-the-orca (Frédérique Lucas). No one has the right to alter, distribute, copy or use my art without my written permission unless stated otherwise. My submissions are NOT stock
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Ahzuriel Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
This is a beautiful and extremely moving piece. You are an incredible artist. Thank you for raising awareness of these poor little guys!
namu-the-orca Featured By Owner Nov 15, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you for your wonderful words! It's very sad indeed, but at least not sad without a cause. If only a few people have learnt about the Vaquita's plight this way, I'd be extremely content already :)
Hysazu Featured By Owner Nov 5, 2014
Stunning and heart wrenching. Your art continually inspires me! 
namu-the-orca Featured By Owner Nov 6, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
It's a very sad thing indeed, especially with the latest news on the species. Very glad you enjoyed the painting though :)
TheMentalJournal Featured By Owner Sep 26, 2014
Vaquita recovery fund:
Please take a moment to vote for 
Monterey Bay Diving for a grant from Chase for their Side Scan Sonar to help clean the Ocean from lost fishing gear and trash. Currently in the Monterey Bay area a fair number of whales and other marine life are getting caught/trapped in fishing gear. Cast your vote at the link below! Thank you for your support!…
namu-the-orca Featured By Owner Sep 27, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Voted! Thanks for letting me know :D
Viergacht Featured By Owner Aug 13, 2014  Professional General Artist
This is one of the most beautiful paintings I've ever seen.
namu-the-orca Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you so much :love:
TwiggyStone Featured By Owner Aug 11, 2014  Professional Filmographer
Wow, this is very good. Poor little thing. ):
namu-the-orca Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks! Very sad indeed though :(
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