Blog #12 Something’s Fishy

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.  

‘Three’s A Crowd’ Matted 14″x12″
‘Something’s Fishy’ Matted and Framed 16″x21″

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.

‘Blue Lagoon’ Matted and Framed 23″x17″