Octopus painting in blues

Teal Octopus 36x48

“Teal Octopus” is a large 48×36″ heavy gallery wrap. Metallic golds and some gold leaf accents make this quite stunning in person. AS you walk by, the various textures and metallic highlights peak out.

I have such a love for all things ocean! Continually designing paintings dealing with water, reflections, beaches, mermaids, tropical islands, surf and underwater scenes.

If you happen to look at my website, you will notice how many paintings I have created in my pursuit of discovering and creating pieces of art that give people joy. They hopefully can relate with my love for the sea.

Island Mermaid

“Above or Below the Sea” is an original mermaid painting that I painted after returning from St. Kitts. Oils are so slow to dry and I am learning that wet on wet blending is more difficult than imagined. I worked on this for over a month and a half because of the drying time to add more paint. Oil paints are more vibrant and thick than acrylic ( which is my preferred medium. )

Originally I was going to add seaweed and coral surrounding her but liked how this painting can be viewed two ways: She could be sitting on a rock above the surface…or could be sitting on a rock on the sea floor. Which way did you visualize her?

More oil paints on the horizon!

Above or Below the Sea 48x36


For a commissioned project from a company in the UK, I needed mermaids that were more rectangular. The three original mermaids were tall and slender so I had three canvas giclees printed and then I painted more underwater landscape on the sides.¬† After I finished painting, I varnished each canvas and will sell as hand embellished giclee prints. Each are 20×16″.

This one I am calling “Bubble Bath”.

Bubble Bath

Highland Mermaid

Highland Mermaid

Siren Turnaround

Turnaround 2

Here are the original paintings that were too narrow for the project.

Before mermaids

Underwater scene on a grand scale

For a year after painting a manta and sting ray collection of underwater paintings, I had in my mind to do a very large painting with all kinds of rays gliding through the water. Working on a 60×48″ canvas is never easy since my studio is rather small. I had to put most of the canvas on my larger easel and rest the other end of the canvas on a small table. I do find that painting large is much more energetic and after several hours, my muscles are sore so I try to work on other smaller pieces for awhile.

“Gathering Rays” is completed and looking for a nice large wall to enhance a room. I figure it would be like being in an aquarium, right?

gathering rays 60x48

details of impressionistic paint strokes and decor idea


gathering rays detailgathering rays fish

Octopus in Blues

“Teal Octopus” is a large fanciful impressionistic painting. 48×36″ gallery wrap. I embedded gold leaf details and some 3D elements for interest. Using large brushes and bold strokes along with twisted medium brush details teaches me to be deliberate with my strokes and to not overwork.

Teal Octopus a48x36Teal Octopus detail

Seahorse paintings

Commissions are tough since an artist can never really guess completely on what a client truly will love. I had an art collector ask me to paint 2 seahorse paintings as a set to accent her room. I went ahead and painted¬† four or two sets so she would have a choice. Each painting is 20×10″.

Tryptic of Underwater Sealife

Finally completed this commission that goes up a staircase. Each panel is 36×18″ and I had to figure out how tall the steps were and how many inches between the paintings as well as how far they were staggered. Trying to carry the scene over three panels was very difficult. The coral and seaweed needed to flow onto the next painting so I held the one canvas up 7″ to carry the scene over.

Cummings Underwater trypticCummings Underwater topCummings Underwater middleCummings underwater B 36x18

This was the four piece scene on the top of the collector’s wall that I did 8 years ago or so. I have tweaked all four now to go more with these three new ones, adding more detail and additional cool blues and toning down the orange by adding peaches and pinks. I will get photos next week of the transformation of the ABOVE WATER sequence.

Cummings wall layout sold

Octopus Blue ~ Painting

Its odd how ideas occur. I was looking at the distressed door to my studio with its paint scratchy and rough looking and had just finished some underwater landscapes in the last few months (between the beach and sandpipers and mermaids)….when an inspiration arose. I sketched out my octopus design and mentally mapped out how to achieve my vision. Many stages of different materials which all have one to three days of drying time between layers needed to be planed for. First I took a white gesso 36″ square gallery wrap.

Painting the entire large canvas with palette knives and modeling plaster (or you can use joint compound form the hardware store) took the good part of the first day. Let that dry for 3 days because it was thick in some areas.

Then I made a mixture of copper and gold acrylic paint and painted the entire dried surface. Before it got completely dry, I took a bunch of towels and rags and gently wiped it back a bit. Then I made a mixture of different whites to dry brush over the dried metallic surface. After that the painting evolved with some large brush glazes of thinned colors over the octopus. Let that dry a few days.

Finally, I spent four days with various palette knives and heavy mixed paints creating the coloring and texture enhancing. With thick paints, let each layer dry a day for nicer jutsapositions of colors.

Enjoy “Octopus Blue”.

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