I was recently commissioned to do a 2.5'x4' custom jellyfish painting - I'd like to share my process of creating it with you.
The client was very open minded and said two little magic words I long to hear when it comes to custom work, "Go Wild!". It is such an awesome feeling when someone loves your art enough to just let you do your thing with a soon-to-be-theirs painting.
Excited to get started, I went and found some beautiful blue paint at the hardware store for the background.
I had to have the painting done in 2 weeks. Unfortunately, right after these photos I got sick and spent about 5 days in bed, wanting to get started but not feeling physically able to. This gave me plenty of time to visualize in my head, so by the time I felt better I had a pretty clear idea of the composition I wanted to do.
I've looked at enough jellyfish photos to remember their general characteristics, so I didn't need to look at a photo for this painting, I just used my imagination.
I began by improvising and laying out the basic shapes and composition with a lighter blue paint, trying to give the feeling of floating and slow graceful movement. I watered down the paint to make it thin enough to create drips, and waved a wet brush over the canvas to create splatter droplets. I really like the spontaneous look they give to a painting, also the splatter reminds me of underwater bubbles.
I love contrast and popping colors so I thought red would be a great contrast with the blues. I wanted to give the jellies and glowing effect so I added yellow to the mix.
Using opaque house paint and acrylic is great because you can go layer by layer, and always paint over something if you don't like it. This allows me to improvise as I go, tweaking things here and there.
Next, I worked on the bottom jellyfish in detail with acrylic until I was happy with the look so I could use it as a model for the other two.
Once I got the other two matching the bottom one I just tightened up the details and refined them further. I added a red and yellow outline to each jellyfish to really make them pop. Then I used a darker blue to paint around the edges of the canvas to add to the glowing effect.
Here are a couple close up shots...
The custom clients were very happy with their painting, which made me incredibly happy! I really enjoyed creating something special for someone knowing that they will have it on the wall in their home for years to come.
I hope you enjoyed this inside look at my creation process. Hopefully it inspired you to get your own creative juices flowing, and to give me a call to make a custom piece for you or someone you love.