restEddy designs - Fine Art Prints and Greeting Cards

Shadow Spider
©2013, 20" by 16", Watercolour

This painting has been in progress for a very long time. It is based on a photograph that I took ten years ago. I knew even then that I would have to wait until my skills were sufficiently advanced in order to paint it the way that I originally saw it.

But let me explain...

  The Shadow Spider Original Photograph  
This is the original photograph of the shadow spider on which the painting is based. It is not the way I originally saw it.


I first discovered the shadow spider in May of 2003 on Serpentine Lake in the Apsley area of Ontario. I had just finished supper, had set up my camp site, and decided to go for a relaxing paddle to watch the evening wane. I quickly found myself in conditions I'd never seen before, and have rarely seen since: the water was so incredibly calm that, looking at the shoreline, you could not tell where reality ended, and the reflection began. I can remember getting disoriented when I looked down into the water, and found myself looking up into the sky. It was like I was canoeing on a perfect mirror.

My peaceful calm was about to be disturbed however because, as I paddled around a bluff, I was shocked to see the shadow of a 10-foot spider on a rock wall in front of me.

Once my initial surprise subsided (and after a quick reflexive glance over my shoulder to make sure that I wasn't about to be eaten by Shelob), I examined the unique optical illusion before me. The setting sun was casting the shadow of a tree with four bare limbs onto the rock wall ahead of me, and those same four branches were being reflected in the still water to create the illusion of a gigantic spider. Adding to this effect were two conveniently placed rocks creating the insect's thorax and abdomen. I was in the right place at the right time (the spider was only visible for about ten minutes), and worst of all, I DIDN'T HAVE MY CAMERA!

Cursing myself for not thinking of bringing a camera, I sketched a quick drawing of it, thinking at the time that it would make an amazing watercolour.

I came back a few weeks later to see if I could get a picture, but the conditions weren't nearly as good, and I vowed that I would one day paint it the way I saw it originally.

The only change I made to it was to add the duck. I've painted her so that the ripples show she's changed her direction swiftly after having spotted the spider, and is now looking over her shoulder nervously hoping that spiders don't eat ducks.

Shadow Spider by Dwayne James
Click on the image to see a larger, uncropped version
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Signed Prints Greeting Cards
20" x 16" 14" x 11" 10" x 8" 7" x 5" Single Pkg of 4
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Original Painting also Available - $2,500.00

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