Art Challenge 11 – Painting Fish (seen when snorkelling)

Having had a wonderful early morning snorkel from the beach at our Red Sea hotel in Egypt I decided to paint the key sealife characters I had seen.

I have taken my Reeves set of watercolour paints on my past few trips. The set is small with a great range of colours and has space for a paintbrush. The colours are vivid and give good coverage, despite being watercolours.

For the first time I wanted to draw and paint the fish. I love the colours and shapes of the Red Sea fish and coral.

I used a biro to draw the outlines, (note to self, pack a pencil and eraser too for the next trip).

I would love to be able to draw the fish from memory but I find that once I get out of the water I struggle to recall their exact form. So I drew them from the small Fishes of the Red Sea book By Geodia, a handy little guide that gives key info about the most common species of the over 700 found in the Red Sea.

I have seen stingrays, eels, a turtle and thousands of fish on trips to the Sinai peninsula and Hurghada, my favourite are the parrot fish and I always like to find Nemo in his sea anemone home.

I carefully drew the fish then started to add paint adding a base colour first the. Adding the detail as carefully as I could. I was able to add the next colour soon as the paint was quickly dried by the sun.

The first fish species of note onmy 8 am snorkel were shoals of the piteously unremarkably named Common Bigeye. They are nocturnal so I was surprised to see them in caves close to the surface of the reef. They were not swimming but appeared to be suspended in the darker water.

Swimming on I saw five Onespot Snappers, these are larger fish these were close to the normal maximum length of 60cms. My book states is as a nocturnal predator.

Next was a large shoal of bright yellow Striped Butterfly fish. My book says they rarely leading a solitary life, and as I swam on there was a shoal of maybe 60 then a huge on of over 100. Stunning almost like fairy lights against a blue night sky as the yellow shone in the deep blue of the underwater environment, quite magical.

I saw a fish I haven’t seen on many occasions and he was a good size, the Bluespine Unicornfish. He looked petrol blue in the water, however my book shows him as green so I was torn between painting the colour I saw and the colour depicted in the book. I am least happy with his painting.

Final stand out fish was one of my favourite species, liked for its curiosity which means it often swims very close and it can feel like there is a connection as he/ she looks ate and I him/ her. On this occasion I spotted the Klunzinger’s Wrasse swimming with maybe 10 babies with the same distinct markings and I guesstimate they measured just 4 cms in length. Delightful to see but the parent became protective and se towards me to discourage going close.

The resulting paintings exceeded my expectations so it was a positive task which is idyllic what sat on a hot beach, bathed in sunshine whilst the waves lap the shore. It is November but still the sun is hot and soothing.

Part Two –
I often find that these art challenges make me want to explore a style or art task further so I am adding a section to the blog of secondary tasks in which to capture these.

I am quite a private person but public accountability and stating intention helps me to focus and gives me an output which gives my art explorations some feeling of purpose which alleviates my own hang ups about my art journey being too self indulgent when considered in the context of the world’s issues. I hope that this is a stage of my art development that wil enable me to develop my skills, increase my learning and will enable my style to emerge. If those who are intrigues to read the posts enjoy, feel some sense of inspiration or pleasure at reading the posts and seeing the pictures then that is wonderful and I am content. I only hope to have a more positive imprint on the planet than any negativity which my humanity creates.

Thank you and enjoy.






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