Top Marine Artists Pick Favorite Fishing Paintings

Fourteen great fishing paintings by 14 great marine artists

Even though it may be akin to asking a parent to name his favorite child, I nevertheless asked 14 top artists of marine fish and fishing scenes to reveal his or her favorite fishing paintings. Those are presented in this gallery. (In the spirit of full disclosure, several ended up narrowing down to a couple of faves and, well, I did the dirty deed and picked one.) If you like what you see, be sure to visit these artists' web sites and enjoy more. The artists, by the way, are listed alphabetically.

Al Barnes

INCOMING marine painting by Al Barnes
"INCOMING"
Oil on canvas
22 x 28 inches
2012
Al Barnes

“The late Stanley Meltzoff created a very large wake with his underwater paintings and many off us jumped on it,” says Al Barnes. “After some time, the field became somewhat crowded. That's when I decided to go above water and concentrate on seascape paintings that could contain fish or fishermen. Mainly, the painting should be a depiction of the places we go to pursue our sport.”

Al Barnes fishing artist headshot
About the Artist: Al Barnes resides in South Texas; he spent decades painting scenes depicting fish and fishing. Barnes also paints wildlife (and has been the national Ducks Unlimited Artist of the Year and twice the featured artist at the International Game Fish Association annual banquet. Barnes' work has been features in many magazines, including Marlin. See more of Al Barnes' work.Courtesy Al Barnes

Dave Baroncelli

MELLOW YELLOW marine painting by Dave Baroncelli
"MELLOW YELLOW"
Acrylic
18 x 24 inches
January 2014
Dave Baroncelli

Dave Baroncelli says of this work: "The piece depicts the silence and peacefulness of the underwater scene just before the violence ahead."

Dave Baroncelli fishing artist headshot
About the Artist: An avid fisherman and an artist for many years, Dave Baroncelli applies his experiences on canvas to create visions that few have seen. A resident of Babylon, New York, he travels extensively to capture nature's true colors that photographs can't duplicate. This provides him with a knowledge of the natural habitat of marine wildlife and each piece is crafted to reflect such wonders. His work has been published in many magazines. See more of Dave Baroncelli’s work.Courtesy Dave Baroncelli

Kevin Brant

UNDER THE DOCKLIGHT marine painting by Kevin Brant
"UNDER THE DOCKLIGHT"
Oil on canvas
24 x 48 inches
2013
Kevin Brant

Anyone who’s fished around lighted docks after dark can relate to the vision presented in this painting.

Kevin Brant fishing artist headshot
About the Artist: Raised in Florida, Kevin Brant made his love of fishing the subject matter of his art. During the 1970s, he served in the U.S. Coast Guard as a search-and-rescue crewman on HH52A Sikorsky amphibious helicopters. After his tour, Brant studied commercial art at the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale. See more of Kevin Brant’s work.Courtesy Kevin Brant

Craig Brumfield

IONA LOUISE 127 ½ marine painting by Craig Brumfield
"IONA LOUISE 127 ½"
Silkscreen ink and oil on canvas
13 ½ feet x 4 feet, 10 inches
June 2014
Craig Brumfield

In addition to more traditional art, Brumfield travels to ports where he can make gyotaku (Japanese fish rubbings) of fresh trophy blue marlin. This shows the result; it’s the 843-pounder that won the 2014 Mississippi Gulf Coast Billfish Classic.

Craig Brumfield fishing artist headshot
About the Artist: Craig Brumfield says his work "evolves through the studies and sketches of marine life, wildlife and trees." An avid saltwater angler and outdoor enthusiast, Brumfield has spent years working and fishing at the Chandeleur Islands in the northern Gulf of Mexico. See more of Craig Brumfield’s work.Courtesy Craig Brumfield

Carey Chen

LAST HOOK UP marine painting by Carey Chen
"LAST HOOK UP"
Acrylic on canvas
30 x 40 inches
December 2012
Carey Chen

The play of light on the water, bright colors, and detail in the leaping sailfish typify the work of Chen, for many years one of the mainstays in the world of saltwater-fishing art.

Carey Chen fishing artist headshot
About the Artist: The only "art school" Carey Chen ever attended was the ocean and time spent on it, fishing and observing, from flats to blue water. The ardent angler spent most of his first 18 years in Jamaica and has been a south Florida native since then. In addition to his painting, Chen's art includes jewelry, clotting, woodwork, tile, glass and even a wine label. His works have appeared on covers of more than 400 magazines and he's been featured in dozens of tournaments. Chen's altruism is well established, with the artist donating many works over the past 15 years to a variety of charities. See more of Carey Chen’s work.Courtesy Carey Chen

Steve Goione

MIKE’S GRAND SLAM marine painting by Steve Goione
"MIKE'S GRAND SLAM"
Watercolor/pen & ink
20 x 24 inches
2012
Steve Goione

“Not only did ‘Mike’s Grand Slam’ take me away from my billfish-dominated studio commissions,” says the Steve Goione, “but it even allowed a quick illustrative foray into one of the other loves of my life ... baseball! Working hand-in-hand with Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt, studying and illustrating the laces of a baseball, combining a wahoo, tuna and dolphin to create an appealing design for the Winners Circle Charity, all in a effort to raise awareness and funding for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation — now that's a favorite!”

Steve Goione fishing artist headshot
About the Artist: Steve Goione grew up fishing the Jersey shore where boats and fishing were part of his everyday life. Influenced by a budding talent and inspired by his everyday surroundings, Steve put pen and ink to subjects both mundane and beautiful. He pursued an art degree from the Ringling College of Art, then supporting himself with commercial work while building his marine art portfolio. Goione is well known for the paintings he creates for tournaments and his print collection, but he says his greatest satisfaction often comes from doing commissions for private-boat owners: "I genuinely love rendering sport fishing boats, each one has its own look, but the devil is always in the details and individuality of each boat." See more of Steve Goione’s work.Courtesy Steve Goione

Guy Harvey

BLACK BEAUTY marine painting by Guy Harvey
"BLACK BEAUTY"
Acrylic on canvas
4 x 10 feet
1995
Guy Harvey

Considering the depth and breadth of Guy Harvey's career as a marine artist, it is interesting to see what he considers a favorite — and easy to understand why, the scene capturing the drama of a huge black marlin and a school of black skipjack in surging swells.

Guy Harvey fishing artist headshot
About the Artist: Guy Harvey is a unique blend of artist, scientist, diver, angler, conservationist and explorer, fiercely devoted to his family and his love of the sea. Growing up in Jamaica, Harvey spent many hours fishing and diving with his father along the Island's south coast. He was obsessed with the creatures of the sea and began drawing pictures of the many different fish he observed. Guy's artwork can be found in art exhibits, stores, galleries, restaurants and at fishing tournaments. The 10th-generation Jamaican of English heritage, Harvey received his doctorate in fisheries management from the University of West Indies after earning a degree in marine biology from Aberdeen University in Scotland. His observations while diving and photographing free-swimming billfish help him capture the detail in his paintings that contributes to the popularity of his work. Harvey is a passionate conservationist and advocate for protecting the marine environment; much of his work goes toward his efforts in that regard. See more of Guy Harvey’s work.Courtesy Guy Harvey

Mick Hetman

BLACKFIN RISING marine painting by Mick Hetman
"BLACKFIN RISING"
Acrylic on canvas
18 x 36 inches
September 2008
Mick Hetman

"This painting," says Mick Hetman, "is based on a real fish caught in these weather conditions at the Marathon Hump" off the central Florida Keys.

Mick Hetman fishing artist headshot
About the Artist: "I'm an avid angler who happens to be an artist, photographer and product designer," says Mick Hetman. "I love the challenge of fishing from smaller boats in big water." One of the favorite sights in the world for this resident of northern Florida is free-jumping tuna. See more of Mick Hetman’s work.Courtesy Mick Hetman

Jason Mathias

STRIPED GEM marine painting by Jason Mathias
"STRIPED GEM"
Oil on canvas
Size: 36 x 72 inches
September 2013
Jason Mathias

This painting didn’t come easily: “It took about three months to complete and was very challenging,” says Jason Mathias. “There are literally well over a thousand baitfish in the painting, each one painted differently with different coloring and sharpness to add three-dimensional depth within the bait ball and make it look real. All of my work is created using only a paint brush, canvas and oil paint.”

Jason Mathias fishing artist headshot
About the Artist: Floridian Jason Mathias was born in Stuart in 1981, where some of his earliest memories are of the ocean, aboard his grandfather's charter boat, Do Stay. As a student at the Ringling School of Art & Design, Mathias became to known to students and faculty as "the fish guy." He used his underwater footage for reference in his growing portfolio of realistic marine life. He's been a featured artist of the IGFA, CCA and in many galleries and museums in many parts of the world. He strives in his work to "create the feeling of actually being immersed underwater," noting the unique play of light beneath the surface. See more of Jason Mathias’s work.Courtesy Jason Mathias

David Pearce

STRIPES marine digital art by David Pearce
"STRIPES"
Digital
2005
David Pearce

A brace of lit-up striped marlin patrols around a school of baitfish in this depiction by the Australian artist. David Pearce painted it after “watching a striped marlin devour a bait ball, an amazing experience I’ll never forget!”

David Pearce fishing artist headshot
About the Artist: For nearly 10 years, says David Pearce, "I've been lucky enough to merge my love for art and for fishing." The artist creates original paintings, prints, koozies, clothing and boat wraps with art depicting saltwater and freshwater game fish. See more of David Pearce’s work.Courtesy David Pearce

Diane Rome Peebles

TARPON PASS marine painting by Diane Rome Peebles
"TARPON PASS"
Oil on canvas
22 x 40 inches
2002
Diane Rome Peebles

Diane Peebles acknowledges the difficulty in picking a favorite painting. “I think I chose this one because it combines fish and classic Florida landscape,” she explains. “One time at a show, a man looking at my paintings made a very insightful and complimentary comment about this painting. He said it went beyond being a beautiful depiction of the ‘what’ (the tarpon) and captured the ‘why’ (the whole natural setting and experience that fishermen enjoy).”

Diane Rome Peebles fishing artist headshot
About the Artist: At age 10, Diane Rome Peebles began painting under the guidance of locally prominent landscape artists in New Orleans and Baton Rouge. She soon developed an interest in scientific illustration and later received a full scholarship to attend Tulane University, where she studied biological illustration, art history, and the natural sciences. After receiving her degree in 1982, Peebles moved to Florida's west coast to begin her career as a professional illustrator. Because of her lifelong love of fishing, she decided at this point to specialize in fish illustration, using pen-and-ink and dry-brush watercolor. By 1986, Peebles had begun painting in oils again, allowing her to balance the hard regimen of scientific illustration with the freedom of oil painting. In the past few years she has expanded her subjects to include landscapes once again. Peebles’ artwork has appeared on the covers of sport-fishing periodicals and on numerous marine conservation stamps/prints and educational publications produced by several state governments. While her work continues to grow in popularity among private collectors, Peebles still maintains an active illustration career, with her first priorities going to projects that enhance conservation of our natural resources. She is a member of the international Guild of Natural Science Illustrators and an honorary lifetime member of the Florida Chapter of the American Fisheries Society. In 1998, Peebles began serving on the Board of Directors of the Florida Foundation for Responsible Angling. See more of Diane Rome Peebles’ work.Courtesy Diane Rome Peebles

Mark Ray

WORKING THE CROWD marine painting by Mark Ray
"WORKING THE CROWD"
Oil on canvas
22 x 40 inches
2002
Mark Ray

The artist’s favorite painting shows a scene exciting to any angler, a school of yellowfin tuna running for their lives with a big blue marlin in pursuit.

Mark Ray fishing artist headshot
About the Artist: Mark Ray grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio, (where he was born in 1966) fishing the area's creeks and streams. The artist recalls that, when grounded for punishment, he put his confinement to good use, sketching and painting. While serving as deputy sheriff in Palm Beach County, Florida, for 12 years, Ray began to sketch images of fish he encountered while fishing offshore. Although he's never had any formal art training, the artists cites many hours of practice and "some God-given talent." Ray now resides in Atlantic Beach, North Carolina, where he works full time as a marine wildlife artist producing tournament T-shirt designs, commissioned paintings and paintings for sale. See more of Mark Ray’s work.Courtesy Mark Ray

K.C. Scott

DOUBLE DOWN marine painting by K.C. Scott
"DOUBLE DOWN"
Oil on canvas
48 x 60 inches
2013
K.C. Scott

K.C. Scott’s favorite painting offers a compelling perspective looking upward at a dolphin (mahi), school of scads and the ominous silhouette of a seabird.

K.C. Scott fishing artist headshot
About the Artist: K.C. Scott grew up fishing and diving Michigan's Gull Lake with his father and chasing tarpon, snapper, grouper and other species each winter when his family vacationed in Florida. But growing up, it was golf, not art, that dominated Scott's life, culminating in his qualifying for the PGA Tour's Buick Open in 2003. It wasn't until after taking a break from the world of golf in 2008 that Scott revisited his passion for art, fish and fishing. Studying fish he's caught and also underwater in their natural habitat, Scott "wants people to feel as though they are face to face with the fish." See more of K.C. Scott’s work.Courtesy K.C. Scott

Jeroen Verhoeff

SAILFISH 1 marine painting by Jeroen Verhoeff
"SAILFISH 1"
Acrylic on canvas
40 ½ x 21 inches
Jeroen Verhoeff

Dutch painter Jeroen Verhoeff painstakingly transfers 3-D into 2-D in paintings such as his favorite, “Sailfish 1.”

Jeroen Verhoeff fishing artist headshot
About the Artist: Jeroen Verhoeff says many years of field and technique study, combined with a unique working method and a stubborn view about wildlife art, make his paintings both extraordinary original and lifelike. The amount of time and effort he expends in his "3-2-3-2 system" borders on the absurd, he says. Transferring the 3-D reality into a 2-D design helps him to create a 3-D scale model to use for accurate renderings on the canvas. The artist combines his passion for both nature and wildlife with that of painting, which he describes as a self-acquired skill. When not painting, Verhoeff works as a wildlife: photographer, documentary film maker, writer, guide, cartoonist and illustrator — and spends time with his wife and four children. See more of Jeroen Verhoeff’s work.Courtesy Jeroen Verhoeff