This is painting I made for my sister. She was instrumental in my pursuit of becoming an artist and her encouragement over the years has been a treasure. I chose to paint a seahorse because that has been her favourite animal for as long as I can remember.
The colorus that I used to paint this seahorse are:
- Ultramarine Turquoise
- Lemon Yellow
- Cerulean Blue
- Ultramarine Blue
- Payne’s Grey
- Quinacridone Rust
As with most of my paintings, I began with a pencil drawing of the subject. I do my drawings on a separate sheet in order to save the paper I paint on from the wear and tear of erasing and re-sketching.
Once the sketch is complete, I turn the paper over and hold the drawing against a window. Looking through the page, I then rub graphite over all the lines that I can see. Next I cut out the drawing so that I have a better idea of how it will fit on the watercolour sheet. Once I’m happy with its position, I tape it in place. Finally, I transfer the graphite by re-tracing over the lines. The result is a soft outline that fades during the painting process, but provides enough structure so that I know where to paint.
Now the fun part begins. Here is the initial wash. A layer of Cerulean Blue at the top and mixtures of Ultramarine Turquoise and Payne’s grey on the seafloor.
Here I deepened the colours by adding more layers of paint. I used a combination of Q. Rust and Payne’s Grey for the initial wash of the wreckage. A greater ratio of Payne's Grey was used for the wreckage interior.
I mixed a tiny amount of U. Turquoise to Lemon Yellow to create the greens for the seagrass. I added a little more U. Turquoise when painting the darker side of the leaves. At this stage I also began adding more details to the ocean floor.
The fish near the wreckage were painting with U. Blue. The ones in the foreground were painted with Lemon Yellow. I added more layers of blue to the water at the top of the page and defined the “eye” (bubble) of the seahorse by creating a shadow around it.
Seagrass & Fish
I applied a little glue to opening of the wreckage and added a small amount of gold leaf to it. Once the glue had dried, I brushed away the excess gold leaf with my brush.
Adding Gold Leaf
Using more U. Blue, I painted shadows on the background fish. And using a combination of U. Blue and Q. Rush, I painted shadows on the ones in the foreground. With a white gel pen, I added a few scattered bubbles around the painting. I placed the bubbles in areas that were a bit darker, so that they would have greater contrast.
After a couple more passes of adding details and contrast, the painting was complete.