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Betta channoides as Totem by Ravenari Betta channoides as Totem by Ravenari
Also known as the Snakehead Betta. Male is shown.

ETSY store (this has the actual flash/iridescence if you want to see the photos that show it!)

Honestly, I had a lot of complicated feelings doing this series of Bettas. It mostly drew my attention to the awfulness of the pet trade, that linebreeding for aggression has produced a lot of beautiful but overly aggressive pet fish that rarely live out their full lifespans in distress, even when they are kept in large tanks. Looking at the original species, instead of the B. splendens line (which, imho, is the pug/bulldog/boston terrier of the fish trade -> overbred, partly destroyed, beauty-over-temperament, aggression-over-soundness), highlighted how few people know these beautiful species exist, and those who do are often exploiting them for the aquarium trade. Many are declining in their original populations, or even Critically Endangered, exposed to population, exploited.

They are known as 'fighting fish' but in the wild many will live together and coexist with enough room to maintain territories. They are paternally nurturing. They are capable of more intimacy than some other species of fish and they are shy and easily intimidated by larger fish (one of the main reasons 'wild-type' Bettas can't actually be housed with some other species is because they are harrassed and then refuse to breed).

Spending time with these beautiful, but misunderstood energies has been a disturbing, enlightening process. These are vastly misunderstood animals, that are in their natural state, not inclined to fight to the death, and prefer to keep to themselves, in their own territory. They are shy, easily intimidated, and prefer dark places. For most people, the Betta that you have been raised to understand, is not the Betta you'll find in nature.

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Keywords:

Paternal instinct. Nurturing. Social instincts. Sensitivity to chemicals and pollution. Streamlet magic. Exploited beauty. Aggression and powerlessness. Exploitation. Confinement. Small spaces. Adaptation. Integration. Filling every niche. Every place has purpose. Guardian of decomposition and decay. Dark energies. Grounding your emotions. Shyness and intimidation. Needing a place that is only yours. Understanding the necessity of the labyrinth. Flashes of insight. Intimacy. Needing a certain social order. Hierarchy and authority.

*

Watercolour pencil / pencil / ink / metallic and iridescent acrylic -> Crescent cold-pressed illustration board ->  18.5 x 20.5 cm (or 7.2 x 8 in).

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:iconravenroseserpent:
Ravenroseserpent Featured By Owner Mar 8, 2019  Student General Artist
Woah think is my favourite colour Betta just love the flaming sunset outback orange with the black with colours behind which kinda look like water at sunset with lots clouds in the sky
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:iconravenari:
Ravenari Featured By Owner Mar 24, 2019  Professional Traditional Artist
Thank you so much! I loved colouring this one.
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:iconjaonnaatkinson:
Jaonnaatkinson Featured By Owner Mar 7, 2019  Student Artisan Crafter
Beautiful and so Amazing and so Beautiful!❤😊
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:iconravenari:
Ravenari Featured By Owner Mar 7, 2019  Professional Traditional Artist
Thank you very much :D
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:iconsj-the-fox-bat:
Sj-the-fox-bat Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2019
Good art
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:iconravenari:
Ravenari Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2019  Professional Traditional Artist
Thank you so much :)
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:iconsoulofwinter:
soulofwinter Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2019  Professional General Artist
Yay for fish totems! Love all the colors and details you packed into this series, these guys fit your style well. Also, I appreciate that you mention the terrible practices in Betta breeding. I've been a fish enthusiast since I was a kid, and that was one of the pieces that really broke my heart early on. People tend to pick gimmick over caring for life, and I've noticed they get away with it more in places like the fish trade, or even plants. Putting awareness of it out there is much appreciated!
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:iconravenari:
Ravenari Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2019  Professional Traditional Artist
Yeah I think you're right, they do get away with it more in the fish trade, and I find if you parallel the practices to say - dog breeding, where people are aggressively against line breeding, or against selecting for coat colour over temperament and physiological soundness, we really don't see the same practices at all in the fish pet trade, even amongst those who at least know to give Bettas larger tanks. It's really disheartening, and I was sort of surprised at how profound it was to work with these fish (and grateful too!)
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:iconlethal-woman:
Lethal-Woman Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2019
Very pretty colors. Brilliant work 
FREE FOR USE by IME54-ART
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:iconravenari:
Ravenari Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2019  Professional Traditional Artist
Thank you! These little guys are so small too, only about 2-3 centimetres! (The smallest of the discovered Bettas so far).
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:iconlethal-woman:
Lethal-Woman Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2019
That's amazing you certainly drew a very beautiful image of them Fish 3 
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:icondoll-ladi:
Doll-Ladi Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2019
Your work is always amazing
Fabulous 1 by LA-StockEmotes
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:iconravenari:
Ravenari Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2019  Professional Traditional Artist
Thank you so much <3
Reply
:icondoll-ladi:
Doll-Ladi Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2019
Reply
:iconrosiecrafts:
rosiecrafts Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2019  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
beautiful design and colors!Fish- -F2U- Clown Fish (right) 
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:iconravenari:
Ravenari Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2019  Professional Traditional Artist
Thank you! :D
Reply
:iconravenheart1984:
RavenHeart1984 Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2019  Professional Traditional Artist
Betta Fish 3 Betta Fish 2fantasticFish 3  
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:iconfractaldragon:
Fractaldragon Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2019  Professional Artisan Crafter
Fish as totems, now that's a different idea! But lovely work as always.
Reply
:iconravenari:
Ravenari Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2019  Professional Traditional Artist
They have been totems or significant in spirituality for thousands of years, the Salmon is probably one of the most famous, as well as the Shark and Sturgeon!
Reply
:iconfractaldragon:
Fractaldragon Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2019  Professional Artisan Crafter
You're right! I forgot about the Salmon, and living in the Northwest, I should know that! :)
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:iconravenari:
Ravenari Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2019  Professional Traditional Artist
We don't see enough about them! I think they're easier to forget about than say, bears or wolves :D
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Submitted on
March 6
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