Ocean Painting

Paintings and Murals of Fish, Corals and Anemones


Archive for the ‘Posts on Fish Paintings’ Category

New Painting: Ghost Dance (Bangaii Cardinalfish Mating)

There are not many saltwater fish that can be easily bred in an aquarium environment. Bangaii Cardinalfish are one of the few that can. Cardinalfish are mouth-breeders, meaning that the male holds the fertilized eggs in his mouth until the fish hatch. Once they are big enough he spits them out and they are off on their own. It is this behavior that makes it possible for hobbyists to breed them.

I used to have 2 Bangaii Cardinals and they were a bred pair. Unfortunately the female mysteriously died one night after she and the male mated. I think she might have been worn out from mating and got caught in a pump (where I found her). The male had the eggs in his mouth after she died, but he ended up eating them so I was not able to breed them. I was fortunate enough to get a video of them engaged in their pre-mating dance before she died (see below). I still have the male and hope that one day I can find him a mate, but it will be difficult since these types of fix are hard to sex.

My latest painting is called ghost dance. It is a small 8″x10″ portrait of my 2 Cardinalfish engaged in their pre-mating dance ritual. Bangaii Cardinals are black and white with beautiful striped and spotted patterns. I wanted to accentuate their colors by doing a simple painting of a black canvas with only the white stripes visible. This painting, albeit simple in design, has alot of meaning to me since it is of 2 fish who had mated but are no longer able to. Maybe her ghost comes to visit her mate at night and they engage in this ghost dance once again. For now all I have is the video and the painting to remember her by.


New Ocean Painting – Room with a View

Those who follow my little blog may notice that I’ve been somewhat absent from posting anything. That is because I’ve been hard at work trying to hit a painting deadline. The Artists Network holds an annual competition and at the last minute I decided to enter it. They have a section for beginners and since I am a beginner I decided to enter that competition. Besides the main competition has some amazing artists submit work and my work does not even come close to that. I entered the Animal/Wildlife bracket.

I started painting again a few weeks ago after a six week break from shoulder surgery. I cannot lift my hand without alot of effort so for now I am restricted to painting small canvases. So I decided to do a grid painting of an anemone  with a solitary clownfish in it. My friend Gus is known for his stunning grid paintings and I must say that that inspired me to do one of my own for this competition. I had alot of fun painting this, feel I learned alot and noticed improvement from my previous work. Keep and eye out for more grid paintngs!

Check out the full piece along with details of each panel in my gallery.


Ocean Paintings Site Joins Twitter – Come Tweet with Me

Follow Ocean Paintings on Twitter

Follow Ocean Paintings on Twitter

Just a short note to let all my blog readers know that I just joined twitter.

What is twitter?

“Twitter is a service for friends, family, and co–workers to communicate and stay connected through the exchange of quick, frequent answers to one simple question: What are you doing?”

Twitter is the up-and-coming tool that is all the craze with the Internet kids. Actually it has been around for quite a while and just keeps getting bigger and bigger. It’s a good way to get quick updates from all your friends and family. The Ocean Paintings Twitter is mainly a marketing tool to help spread the word about my reef fish artwork and fish wall stickers, so if you want to follow me to get updates on my artwork, my decals and my aquarium, then stop by twitter and follow me!

If you don’t want to join twitter but still want updates, you can do that too! Just come by this blog every once in a while and read the side bar of my site that says “Twitter Updates”. You can also join my email mailing list and get a weekly digest of them to your email along with my other blog posts.


Painting Fish and Corals Again!

It has been almost 6 weeks since my surgery and I am able to paint again! This weekend I spent a couple of hours painting a new four panel clownfish and anemone grid painting. The image shows the pencil drawing of one of the panels that I haven’t started to paint yet. I had to position the canvas on a counter and paint with my arm around stomach height, but hey I’ll take anything now. I won’t be able to lift my arm over my head for a little while longer.

I have had alot of time to think about some new projects so I am excited to get back into painting again. Keep an eye out for my upcoming clownfish work.

To make things easier you can subscribe to the blog and receive an email everytime I make a post.


False Percula Clownfish in Frogspawn Coral Painting Complete

Before I had shoulder surgery, I wanted to make sure that I was able to finish my clownfish in frogspawn coral painting. If you read my last two posts on this painting (Work in Progress: Clownfish and Frogspawn Coral and Trying to Get a Painting Just Right) you’ll remember that I was having some trouble getting the frogspawn coral right. I got some great help from  people over at wetcanvas.com. It’s funny, I have found corals and anemones to be much more difficult to paint than fish. There is a certain shape, color and fluorescence that is difficult to convey with corals. But I am working on it and feel that I represented the coral well.

The female clownfish is the highlight of the piece with the male tucked away in the coral. In aquariums, clownfish will host pretty much anything and it is common for them to pick a large polyp stony (LPS) coral to host if an anemone is not present. Clowns have been known to readily host rocks, coffee cups, and even corners of an aquarium. Clowns need a home base and they will pick out any identifiable landmark. I have 2 false percula clownfish in my aquarium and they used to host in a huge colony of frogspawn corals. They loved it until I introduced a couple of red bubble tip anemones (RBTAs) to the aquarium. Then they instantly took to those. It was pretty cool to witness. Keep an eye out for more clownfish paintings once my shoulder heals. I’d love to hear people’s thoughts on this painting.


Trying to Get a Painting Just Right

I still have much to learn about painting. I wish I could say I knew it all, but in reality I don’t. In fact I probably know less about painting than most people. But I’m learning everyday and feel that my skill and technique are getting better and better every time I make a brush stroke.

I’ve been working on a clownfish and frogspawn coral paint for that past few weeks. I got it to a point where I was hoping to be done, but in the end I wasn’t pleased with the result. The painting was just too busy and the main clown wasn’t getting the impact I wanted. So, I posted the image over at Wet Canvas forums and asked some fellow artists to review my work. I’ve been posting alot of my work here and enjoy hearing people’s comments. Most of the time their comments are pretty spot on. It’s nice to get comments from people who aren’t friends or family because they don’t worry about offending you.

If you ever want to see what I’m up to (many times before I post here) do a search for johnstires (my username) over at wetcanvas. You’ll quickly learn that my paintings don’t come out perfect the first time. I usually have to do alot of refinement, mostly because I am my own harshest critic, but often to the comments of other painters at Wet Canvas. But as you can see from the comparison in this post, usually it is for the best. The top image shows what the painting looked like before and the bottom shows what the painting looked like after I toned down the coral’s tentacles. The main clownfish subject stands out so much more than before. I’m still not finished, but feel I am on a better track. I’ll be happy when I finish this 24″x48″ canvas. It’s been alot of work for me, but fun work. :)


Sergeant Major Fish

Sergeant Major Fish

I had to stop painting my clownfish and frogspawn coral painting for a little while. I’m not 100% happy with how it looks and I think it is best to take a step back and paint something else. I’ve started a new 24″x24″ painting of sergeant major fish. I’ve never kept sergeant majors in an aquarium because they are damsels and damsels tend to be pretty aggressive. I have seen them while snorkeling and I think they are absolutely beautiful fish. Like all damsels, they are full of personality and you often see them swimming in shoals. It is fun to watch because they do not swim in a synchronized manor although they keep relatively close. While they often scene swimming close to reefs, the painting I am doing is going to be of a shoal swimming without a reef nearby. As in usual shoal form, they will be scattered here and there, darting in every direction.

Sergeant Major Fish

Work in Progress: Clownfish and Frogspawn Coral

I want to continually post to my blog to show some of the work that is in progress. This photo is of a female clownfish darting out of a frogspawn coral. It is a closeup of a much larger piece. The entire peice is 24″x48″ and is my first foray into a larger more polished work. Up until now I’ve been mainly playing around, getting some ideas out and exploring oil paints, to which honestly I don’t know much about. Most of what I do is experimental, and while I am learning alot, I’m sure there is much much more to learn. I’m very happy that I was able to get the texture of the scales, that really tied it all together for me. Hopefully will have the entire piece done by the weekend. Keep an eye out!