How to Paint a Fly Fisherman in Acrylic

Skill Level : 2 Intermediate, 3 Advanced

Medium : Acrylic Painting

Subject : Landscapes

Tutor : Dennis Clark

Class Length : 2 hours 58 minutes

Avg Rating : No Ratings Yet

Silver Level or Higher Class

Class Description

Fly-fishing is a game of skill coupled with tremendous patience. Skill, in knowing what food the fish are eating and then sorting out which fly or flies to use for the occasion. In this acrylic painting we will capture the tranquility of the scene and the beauty of the surroundings.

In this  lesson you will learn:

1.  How to brighten up a dull photograph.
2.  How to change the colour of the water and liven it up a bit.
3.  How to change the colour of the clothing to enhance the focal point.
4.  How to add the thin fishing rod and line.

Latest Reviews

Dennis, this was a great instructional video. You do such a wonderful job of showing and describing how to do every aspect of the painting. I really learned a great deal about techniques and interpretation. I have no problem copying a photo or a painting exactly as it is. I have difficulty enhancing the colors, rearranging, replacing, and omitting objects, in the photo, to make it an eye catching and interesting painting that will draw the viewer into that special world where his imagination holds him captive. This I need to do to make the painting my own. You taught this so well. I learned a lot about mixing colors and how to paint with a more relaxed and free style. I have several photos that I have been wanting to paint. I feel inspired and prepared to give it a go now! It\'s amazing that you can teach all of this from half way around the world! I look forward to learning so much more. The only thing I would like you to add is the size of the canvas you use in the description. I didn\'t see it anywhere.

Thanks so much,


Barbara Varney


Transfer the template to the canvas with carbon paper. In this template the only part with detail is the fisherman. Just a few guide lines for the rest of the painting.

The background green mix

Squeeze out some Viridian or Phthalo Green and Cadmium Orange. Mix the orange into the viridian until you have a very neutral and realistic green for the trees. Viridian on its own is much too brilliant and unnatural for normal leaves.

Block in the background

Paint the dark green and carefully go around the profile of the fisherman.

Add in some White and Cadmium yellow mix for the area near the fisherman.

Highlight mix for trees

Squeeze out some Paynes Grey and mix some Yellow into it. Look at the lovely dull green it produces.

Roughly block in some of the areas that are catching the sunlight.

Painting the branches

Use a pastry brush, and some yellow green mix, dab in the leaves catching the sunlight. Use the one corner of the brush and constantly twist the brush so that a regular pattern is not formed.

The water underpainting

Take some orange and add the Phthalo Green to it and then lighten it with some White. Block in the stream with this mix.

Paint the right hand embankment

Paint this embankment using mostly a small bristle fan brush for the taller grass.

Paint the stream movement

Use a small bristle brush to indicate the water movement. There are also small patches of foam caused by underwater objects.

Opposite embankment

Paint some small rocks and logs that have drifted to the edge of the stream.

Add the bush

Using the pastry brush, paint the bush on the left hand side.  This balances out the figure of the fisherman.

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The stream's edge

With a small brush, randomly spot in some small rocks and stones.  Add a bit of splatter as well to unify the effect. Add highlights to the larger stones.

The head and arms

The skin tones are painted with Burnt Sienna and a touch of white. Paint the shadows as well.  The grey hair is a mix of blue with a touch of Raw Umber (Paynes Grey)

The white shirt

The shirt is painted with varying tones of Paynes Grey.

Paint the pair of jeans

The mix for the jeans is blue, touch of orange, and then some white.

Block in the jeans and the shoes.

Add the impression of the folds in the trousers.

Paint the bag

The shoulder bag is a slightly greyed down green and use Paynes Grey for the markings. Don't try to detail it too much.

The fishing rod

Don't try to paint it. Line up a ruler to the handle of the rod and with a sharp craft knife scratch it in. Take care if you are using a stretched canvas.

The fishing line

Use the craft knife to scratch in the fishing line as shown.

Final painting

About Dennis Clark

Read more about Dennis Clark

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