How to Paint a Sea Bass in Acrylic

Skill Level : 1 Beginner, 2 Intermediate

Medium : Acrylic Painting

Subject : Animals

Tutor : Dennis Clark

Class Length : 2 hours 53 minutes

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Class Description

You have freshwater bass, as well as seawater bass, and both have the characteristic of a very large open mouth. They are delicious to eat and it looks like this one is on it’s way soon to the grill. Just look at the determined look of the lure.

What you will learn:

1  How to brighten up the overall image
2  How to simplify the background and the seaweeds
3  How to add an extra for visual impact
4  How to add spice to the fish

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Class Tutorial

Painting the head and mouth

final-painting-fish-in-acrylic-head-mouth

By starting with the main dark markings and stripes, and painting them first, a quick basic picture is built up. The more visual the pattern, the easier it will be to paint in all the other lighter tonal ranges and colors. As you proceed you can also start adding the deeper shadows that indicate the rounding of the body.

Painting the eye

final-painting-fish-in-acrylic-eye

I normally paint in the eye as soon as possible, because this is the focal point of any living creature.

Painting the body

final-painting-fish-in-acrylic-body

We can now block in the other areas with White followed by the other middle toned colours. With a small round brush begin to paint in the smaller details and markings that add to the character of the face. The basic colours are Burnt Sienna and a darker mix with more White and Blue added.

A light pink tinge is made from White and a touch of Alizarin Crimson.

Painting the throat area

final-painting-fish-in-acrylic-throat

Paint the throat area with some of the grey mix we used previously. Some White stripes are added to indicate the gills, and darken up some of the shadows.

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Painting the fins and tail

final-painting-fish-in-acrylic-fins

The fins are painted in with some purple. This is from some of the Blue-Grey mix into which Alizarin Crimson had been added. The belly is also painted with this mix. Vary the tonal ranges in order for the different sections to be visible and stand out from each other.

This side fin is a little bit lighter than the others because it is catching more light. Add the subtle colour shadings into the fin before starting to place all the stripes. Lastly, we can now add the highlight into the fin edges.

Check where you need to add any more highlights to the fish.

Painting the top fins

final-painting-fish-in-acrylic-top-fins

The mix for these fins is from Burnt Sienna to which some Ultramarine Blue has been added to give it the brownish color. Just add more Blue into the mix for the darker ribs. Use some White to paint in the subtle highlights on these ribs.

Painting the fisherman's lure

final-painting-fish-in-acrylic-lure

Just to bring a story and some drama into this painting, I have added this lure. I specifically chose one that had an arrogant look to it – a look that says, “I'm going to catch you.” The red and green colors enhances this atmosphere. The hooks we will add later.

Painting the water

final-painting-fish-in-acrylic-water

We need a slightly murky water for more drama. We can use a larger brush for this. Obviously, we need a smaller flat brush to carefully bring this color around the body of the fish.

The water below the bass will be slightly darker than that which is above it. Blend them together and then go around the fish outlines at the lower part.

Complete the rest of the water and finish off the edges of the lure.

I have decided to show a bit more contrast in the water by showing a bit more light penetrating the water above.

Painting the weeds

final-painting-fish-in-acrylic-weeds

The bass has darted from his hiding place, so we need to show this. Start off by plotting the tall weeds in lightly at first. Once you are satisfied with them, you can begin adding some very dark Green for the bottom vegetation. This shows up the fish even further.

All the other vegetation in the deep shade is only painted in, in a very impressionistic manner. Don’t try to add any details as this will only spoil the atmosphere of the catch. Just a few subtle highlights will suffice.

Final painting

final-painting-sea bass-in-acrylic
how-to-fish-in-acrylic

About Dennis Clark

Dennis has been drawing and painting for most of his life (since 1944) and shortly after that in watercolours. During WWII there were no art books so to speak, so he had to teach himself through experimentation, sweat and tears. He teaches the following mediums online - Watercolours, Pastels, Acrylics, Pencil, Pastels, Pen and Ink and Oils.
Read more about Dennis Clark

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