Composing Sea Nymph

by Richard Ong


For this project, I wanted to do a close-up portrait of beautiful sea nymph in acrylic (Daler-Rowney FW; Liquitex) almost as if I had a studio located behind the glass wall of an immense aquarium as she patiently posed for me behind the coral.

I started by rendering the dark background water using 90% Prussian Blue and 10% Cerulean Blue. Two layers of paint were used in order to simulate the absence of light under a deep ocean floor.

The sea nymph’s eyes were loosely patterned after that of a Striped Bass, using a ring of Process Yellow for the iris surrounded by an outer ring comprised of Flame Orange, Burnt Umber, Process Yellow and Naphthol Crimson.

The dominant colour combination used for the forehead, arms and breasts were 10% Flame Orange and 90% Process Yellow. The lower half of the face, neck and upper chest were painted in 10% Cerulean Blue and 90% (plain) White.

Naphthol Crimson was used to dot the surface of the sea nymph’s body. I enjoyed working on layers upon layers of crimson that streak her lustrous hair.

The corals in the foreground are a wild combination of Pink, Process Yellow, Deep Violet with the whole lot dotted with Iridescent Copper.

The scanned image was tweaked using Photoshop to increase the vibrance of the original colours. A lens-flare effect was added on the tips of three of the snake-like siphons protruding from her forehead.


Copyright © 2016 by Richard Ong

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