This old painting was hanging in a local antique thrift shop for years… I had passed it over about five times, until finally deciding I wanted to bring it home to give a bit of a refresh.
Painted in 1950 by Jean Godwin, the canvas board was warped and coming out of the frame. There were a few chips out of the paint. The original artist did a lovely job of the ship and the colour of the water. I repaired the framing, gave it a gentle wash, then started my plan for making it a bit more fun…
I started off sketching out my plan for the octopus, deciding where the tentacles would be wrapping around and playing with the ship.
Then I painted in the first layer in white… this gives a nice base for the paint to stick to, as well as it helps the brightest colours I’ll add be more luminous. It’s always a bit scary starting out… it’s a bit like miniature graffiti, painting on a vintage painting / print, in that it has a permanence about it… if I make a mistake that’s it!
Yellow seemed the best colour for this one, as the artist had used yellow ochre in places for little zings of colour. I added little flecks of aqua in the octopus, to tie in with the artist’s colour choice for the water.
I also finished off the edges of the water… using the original artists texture, I hit it with some white to brighten it, then using photo reference added in detail of the water droplets flying through the air where the waves hit the ship and octopus.
You can watch the work in progress here on Instagram… be sure to follow me @heather_castles_illustration to catch the latest reels! I always post more detail here on my website, but it’s a bit more in-the-moment on Instagram.