I have had a longtime love affair with painting tropical fish. Initially I recreated accurate existing fish species, but over time I learned that it was much more fun to create my own. What freedom! Fish are a marvellous subject to imagine and design. You can conjure up outrageous patterns and body shapes, fin styles and oh the colours you can use.
Watercolours are my medium of choice when I paint my tropical fantasy fish. Those paint colours just glow and sparkle right off the page. And watercolours seem to be in sympatico with painting a creature that lives in water. My painting approaches can differ when creating my tropical fish. Sometimes I might outline the image in black ink before painting. Sometimes I like to focus on one fish and other times I like to group a bunch together all swimming in different directions.
I might introduce aquatic plants in the background or often I like to do a wavy pattern to suggest moving water surrounding my fish. As you can see in my painting ‘Something’s Fishy’ at right I threw ‘the kitchen sink’ into that background. Geometric lines and bars, ribbons echoing seaweed and circles a nod to bubbles. There really is no limit to what can be added to your painting to make it pop and be interesting.
‘Blue Lagoon’ below was a departure for me. The final effect looks like a wood block print. I outlined my fish shapes with teal blue/green acrylic fluid ink then carefully painted everything else without touching my ink line. That created a white gap (the untouched watercolour paper not white paint) on either side of that line. I really like the final effect especially once I got that jazzy blue background in. I hope this might inspire you to pull out your paints and make some waves with your own fishy ideas.