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Jellyfish Art / Oil Painting

It took a lot of preparation before I decided to take on jellyfish as a subject for an oil painting. Before tackling the big decisions you make before you start a painting (composition, texture, colour palette, tones etc) it seemed important to get a better understanding of jellyfish. Are they often alone or in groups? (Which I found to be named a ‘Plume’ when they migrated and gathered together) How do they move? At what speed? What different positions would you find their tentacles to be in? And which movement does this represent? The only way to really find out was to watch them, thanks to YouTube!

There is something so peaceful and mesmerising about watching jellyfish, the way they pulsate their gelatinous bodies for locomotion and the tentacles fan out so elegantly. It was apparent immediately that the movement was the most important aspect to capture within a painting.

For the fished pieces ‘Bloom’ and ‘Plume’ I used oil paints (as always) onto primed wooden panels. The most interesting part of the process for these paintings were that they came together incredibly slowly. The tentacles, I always knew, would have to be the final part to paint due to their slenderness they would have to be painted onto a dry background (so as not to drag the background paints) meaning that there was an unfinished quality throughout the process. The application of the tentacles suggested direction, pulsation and fluidity which is the core visual you associate with jellyfish.

‘Bloom’ / Oil on wood panel / 47×47″ inches

'Plume' / Oil on wood panel / 30x30" inches

‘Plume’ / Oil on wood panel / 30×30″ inches

Both of these originals were exhibited at Smart Gallery (WEBSITE HERE) – contact for information. (‘Bloom’ sold) Where I spoke to lovely people about the strangeness of jellyfish and the process of painting them. The imminent release of ‘Bloom’ as a Limited Edition Print, a piece that was featured in British Vogue Magazine, meant that Smart Gallery have had exclusive access to the first prints, available to their clients for the exhibition of my work. Being an incredibly popular piece, it is great to see it available in a true to life print format, made accessible by fantastic galleries. A wonderful extra for the day, was the showing of framed original sketch studies, drawn to plot out compositional ideas for the originals.

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For any information on these originals, new Limited Edition Prints or original framed sketches head straight to Smart Gallery or their website (link here) to inquire. 

Keep an eye out for new releases and photos from my recent exhibition!

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6 Comments

  1. Allyson says

    Beautiful work! I’ve always been fascinated by jelly fish and you really captured their beauty!

  2. I own your original of plume and it shows a totally different perspective seeing them on a white background

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