This tropical fish painting is near and dear to my heart. It was inspired by a large piece of wall art I saw while on vacation a couple of years ago in Florida. We stayed with my good friend Jodi and she had a large tropical painting hanging in her guest bathroom. I loved the textures and the three dimensional aspects of it, so it stuck with me for a long time before I finally decided to make my own version.
Pictured above is the painting from Jodi’s house. It was actually a lot bigger than mine. I don’t know what it measured, but I would guess it was close to 48-inches wide.
This is me and Jodi. I had worked with her online since 2007 and we became close friends. She is one of my best friends on earth and I am very grateful to have met such a funny, kind-hearted and generous person. The world needs more Jodis. :) Love you girlfriend. If you would like to see more pictures of our trip to Florida, and get a great recipe too, head over to this post on my food blog – Key West Grilled Chicken Salad.
In order for my painting to have a similar three dimensional affect, I used a couple of products. For the fish outlines I used a white Americana Writer, and for the sea floor I used DecoArt’s paintable texture – Stucco. Jodi’s painting had a lot more of the bright, vibrant tropical colors. My decor is a bit more beachy-muted. So I chose colors that would work with my room’s look.
First I used pencil to draw the line for the sea floor onto the canvas. Next, I used a palette knife to add the Texture Stucco to the canvas. Using an old scruffy brush, I touched it to the stucco and then lifted straight up. When I was finished, I wanted it a bit thicker in a couple of spots, so I added just a bit more and texturized again. This had to dry for several hours.
Using the photo of the painting that Jodi emailed to me, I drew the fish out on paper. I’ve included them as patterns in the printable instructions below if you want to paint this yourself.
I found it easiest to turn the canvas upside down to paint the blue layer that sits above the sea floor. I used Spa Blue and painted a couple of inches above the sea floor section. Then I used Taffy Cream on the remainder of the background.
I used a dry brush method to blend the two layers together. Simply dip your brush in paint then run the bristles across a rag or paper towel to remove the excess. You want to get a lot of the paint off so that when you touch the canvas with the brush you have to really apply pressure for paint to show up.
I used pencil to draw on the seaweed and painted them with Green Mist. I also mixed a little Green Mist with black and with white for a little shading and highlighting. Next, I used a household sponge to add color to the sea floor. I dipped the sponge into the paint and dabbed off the excess onto a soft cloth. The first color I added was Desert Sand followed by touches of Natural Buff. For the background, I used Natural Buff over the Taffy Cream. To add more highlights, I used Light Buttermilk.
Now you’re going to need the patterns I’ve provided for the fish. I cut them out and traced around them with a pencil, then added in the few details. You could also use transfer paper for this step.
I used the Americana Writer to trace the pencil lines for the fish. This has to dry for a few hours. Once it was dry, I used the sponge to add Coral Blush to the center fish and Orange Twist to the two end fish. Dab all the way around the fish and a bit inside as well. To add the highlights in the center of the fish I used Light Buttermilk. Finally, I used Soft Black to add the eyes and the stripe on the fish on the left. Once everything was dry I gave it two coats of Americana Acrylic Sealer spray in matte finish.
Here are some close ups so you can see the texture a little better.
I hope you enjoyed this project and it sparks a little inspiration for you!
More coastal decor
If you like coastal or beach themed project, I’ve chosen some of my favorites for you below!