Going My Way (Best Friends)

mermaid painting process with sea turtle
This is where ‘Going My Way (Best Friends)’ started out – a pencil drawing and the darkest shadows sketched in. Notice the extra shoulder on the mermaid’s right (your left) shoulder.  Or was it going to be a wisp of hair? I don’t know; it got painted out in the next step.
This photo is a little darker than the true colors of the painting. It shows laying in the colors of the background. I used a lot of Golden Acrylics Teal, unmixed in the clear water, and on the ocean floor is Golden Titanium White, Blick Pthalo Blue, and Windsor & Newton yellow (I don't know the name, the jar of paint is written in Chinese).
This photo is a little darker than the true colors of the painting. It shows laying in the colors of the background. I used a lot of Golden Acrylics Teal, unmixed in the clear water, and on the ocean floor is Golden Titanium White, Blick Pthalo Blue, and Windsor & Newton yellow (I don’t know the name, the jar of paint is written in Chinese). This step lets me know my silhouettes are correct. I also extend one of her fingers out to give her arm a better line. In the reference photo by @zeroeye on Instagram, her fingers curled under and we couldn’t see them.

A photo posted by Mario & Sel Cisneros (@zeroeye) on

The finished background is somewhat abstract. The sandy ripples are impressionistic and were created with the flat brush.
The finished background is somewhat abstract. The sandy ripples are impressionistic and were created with the flat brush, held with the narrow side vertical and pulled horizontally across the canvas. Ripples on the bottom of the sea floor are structurally similar to the waves on the ocean’s surface, aren’t they! If I put a horizon line in and some baby blue sky this pair could float through the clouds. 😉
The shadows on the mermaid were the most challenging, but I trust my eye and mixed up the color I saw, not the color I thought it should be. And that choice is what gives her good form.
The shadows on the mermaid were the most challenging, but I trust my eye and mixed up the color I saw, not the color I thought it should be. And that choice is what gives her good form. Later I added some warmer tones, but here it’s all about massing the shapes.
I started to give her a rosy pink tail here, like my other popular mermaid painting. But it didn't pop. I love the coloring in this darker-than-reality photo, and will come back to this color scheme later. 'Going my way (Best Friends)' is actually quite a bit brighter and cheerier.
I started to give her a rosy pink tail here, like my other popular mermaid painting. But it didn’t pop. I love the ocean’s coloring in this darker-than-reality photo, and will come back to this color scheme later. Also her hair looks extra glossy at this step- this was the hair the model in the photo had. ‘Going my way (Best Friends)’ is actually quite a bit brighter and cheerier.
And here is the golden mermaid tail getting filled in. Quite a bit better and reminds me of a Koi fish tail. I haven't given her any extra dorsal or pectoral fins but maybe in the future I can have a more elaborate mermaid tail in a painting.
And here is the golden mermaid tail getting filled in. Quite a bit better and reminds me of a Koi fish tail. I haven’t given her any extra dorsal or pectoral fins but maybe in the future I can have a more elaborate mermaid tail in a painting.
Here I'm starting to refine the sea turtle by adding the segments on the shell and adding details.
Here I’m starting to refine the sea turtle by adding the segments on the shell and switching to a smaller brush, still a flat brush.
And here it is two brush strokes away from done. The lighting has blown out the top right but it just adds to the glowing effect of the sunlight filtering in the water.
And here it is two brush strokes away from done. The lighting has blown out the top right but it just adds to the glowing effect of the sunlight filtering in the water.
mermaid honu sea turtle painting
And here is the finished painting, with the mermaid and honu in conversation. It’s called ‘Going My Way (Best Friends)’ and the original painting, or prints, are available for sale at artistkatana.com

Author: Katana

Katana Leigh is a professional international artist with her paintings at home in Canada, the USA, Costa Rica, Australia, and more. Find her on Artist Katana Shop, Google! and Instagram

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