Saturday, 8 February 2014

The Making And Inspiration Of My Under The Sea Paintings

Near the end of 2012, I was staying in Durban and saw the paintings below at the hotel that I was staying at (for the life of me I can't remember the name of the hotel). I loved the boldness and brightness of the colours in these paintings as decided at some stage in the future to try something similar for myself. I stupidly didn't take a note of the artist either - so if you painted these, or know who did, please let me know so I can credit them!

Inspiration for my own "Under The Sea" series

Last year over Easter time, I went to the 2 Oceans Aquarium with Frosty and his family and I took some awesome pictures of some of the ocean life there. When I got back home, I decided to make the 4 pictures below into an "Under The Sea" series of paintings, using the bold colour pallets of the paintings above as an inspiration.

Clown Fish
Amphiprioninae - Clown Fish

Puffer fish against red background
I have no idea what type of fish this is - any suggestions would be welcome!
Edit: this could be a puffer fish, but I think I'll take a trip to the aquarium to verify as well!

Bright yellow baby box fish
Ostracion cubicus - Yellow Box Fish (juvenile)
Jellyfish under UV light
Medusozoa - Jellyfish (unsure of the exact type)
I started off with the clown fish and really enjoyed putting this painting together. I love the contrast of the orange, black and white that are on this fish and it fits in perfectly with my "bright and bold" theme!

How to paint a clown fish 1
Outline in pencil

How to paint a clown fish 2
Filling in the base orange colour

How to paint a clown fish 3
Putting in some details

How to paint a clown fish 4
Adding in the black and shading in the white areas

How to paint a clown fish 5
Putting the background together

How to paint a clown fish 6 completed painting
The final product of my first part of the series!

And the original image - for comparison

I then moved on to the, at this stage, unknown, fish. I chose this one because I loved how the red background and angle of the photograph made a rather plain and simple fish look so much more interesting.

How to paint a puffer fish 1
Pencil outline getting the basic size and shapes in place

How to paint a puffer fish 2
Starting off with the base coats to give underlying form to the fish

How to paint a puffer fish 3
Adding on the next layer to get the top looking more realistic

How to paint a puffer fish 4
Putting in some more details like fins and spots

How to paint a puffer fish 5 completed painting
The final product - bold very red!

Again, the original picture

I decided to do the juvenile yellow box fish third and found this one more difficult than I originally thought it would be. I actually got to the "almost completed" stage and then left it for a few months because I started to get over trying to make it look nice, for a while. I remember learning at school and varsity that blue and yellow provide one of the most visually noticeable
contrasts and I think that this yellow box fish verifies this idea. 

How to paint a box fish 1
Getting an idea of the basic layout that my painting would take

How to paint a box fish 2
Filling in some yellow. You can see here that the underbelly of the fish isn't looking
great at this point...

How to paint a box fish 3
An almost completed image

How to paint a box fish 4
With bubbles and a slightly better looking underbelly

The fish from the photograph

I lastly put together the painting of the jellyfish. I've always found jellyfish to be rather mystical creatures and love that when they are lit up in the aquarium, it almost seems that the light is radiating from within them.

How to paint a jellyfish 1
I usually start most of my painting off in pencil, although I don't often put
the details in with pencil

How to paint a jellyfish 2
This time I decided to paint the background first and then move on to the actual jellyfish.
This is a great example of what "negative space" is. Basically you concentrate on
drawing everything that surrounds the object and you don't focus on the object itself.

How to paint a jellyfish 3
With a light coating of blue in the jellyfish and a forgotten slice of background
colour within the jellyfish tentacles

How to paint a jellyfish 4
The painting is starting to come together at this point, with the top of the jellyfish starting to
look as though light is emanating from within it

How to paint a jellyfish 5
The completed jellyfish, along with cute little "stars" to add to the mystery of the creature
The jellyfish that I found at the 2 Oceans Aquarium

And finally - the completed series of paintings all together!

Jellyfish, clown fish, puffer fish, box fish paintings
All 4 paintings together. They make quite a handsome group, even if I say so myself.
I'm really looking forward to hanging these up - I think that my aim of putting together something that was bright and bold really was realised by this series of paintings. 

Each of these paintings took me about a weekend, on average, from start to finish. Some only took me a few hours while others took a solid day to 2 days to complete properly.

Now I just need to find some inspiration for my next set of paintings! Any suggestions are welcome!

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