Octopus Painting

My wife loves cephalopods. I’m not sure where it comes from, but we have octopus art throughout our house. I like it too. Something so alien about them.

I decided to paint a picture for her birthday, and went looking for some inspiration.

Previously, I had created a print of Lord Bodner’s Octopus, similar what is described in this blog post. That was straightforward because the image is beyond copyright, and I was just printing and framing. In this case I wanted to paint it.

I was looking at search results for “octopus” and came across this stunner on a LitHub article.

"Screen capture of LitHub.com 'the alien is among us'

And I knew that was the image I wanted to use as inspiration.

This time, I knew that the image would be under copyright. Often people will use something off the internet for personal use, because who will know, right? But I wanted to a) blog about it b) correctly source the image.

So I put that image into a reverse image search (thanks Tineye!) and it lead to iStock.com.

It was roughly $14 to buy a license to use the photo, both on my site, and as inspiration to derive art from.

"Octopus picture"

The photographer, “TheSP4N1SH”, has some amazing photos


To start painting, I actually used Paint.net to process the image to a “pencil sketch” and to also play around with some colour schemes.

"Octopus image processed to look like a pencil sketch"

I think that Paint.net is one of the best programs that I’ve ever used and I wish there was something close on the Mac.

From the sketches, I first did the ocean background and then laid out the basic color blocks for the octopus

"4 panels showing the progress on painting"

Once I had that done, I started with more detail. I was surprised that as I was painting it, it moved from yellow & cream tones to more purples & teals.

"4 panels showing the final progress on painting"

Hanging it up

The final painting looks like this

"Octopus painting"

Cindy loved it, and I knew where I wanted to hang it in our room. It’s on the wall near our door, and it looks good from her side of the bed.

"Painting hanging on the wall of our room"

Overall, pleased with how it turned out. I’m not a good painter, but it was fun to do something that I knew she would appreciate.