Skip to content

Past Work - Plymouth Sunfish

  Design for   I'm one of the winners of a competition to design the decoration of 16 giant fibre-glass sunfish that will be installed around Plymouth as a tourist trail.

 I've called my design, pictured, "Smitten" as a pun on the Smeaton tower on The Hoe, the red and white section of a past Eddystone Lighthouse that has become a symbol of Plymouth. 

The design is in a similar style to the paintings of Beryl Cook, who lived in Plymouth.

Plymouth City Council sponsored my design and the finished sunfish will be sited outside the Civic Centre, a very prominent position at the southerly end of Armada Way.

The whole project is called "Making Waves".  Here's a link to the website:

  Peter Heywood preparing to paint his giant Sunfish in the Making Waves project I'm painting my fish in the Manuplas factory in Estover.  This is me just before I got started.
  White base coat on  First day - degreased the fish and painted it white all over using a small sponge roller.  The paint is very thin - goes a long way and drips very easily!
  Day 2 of painting Smitten as part of Plymouth's Making Waves project
 Day 2.  It took me 3 hours to draw the design on the fish and another 3 hours to paint the red stripes on one side.  I had hoped to finish the stripes today but there's a lot of work in it.  Will try and catch up tomorrow.
  End of Day 3 of painting a sunfish for Plymouth's Making Waves project Day 3.  Back on schedule.  Red stripes, pink stuff and hair painted on both sides.  I'm debating re-doing the arm coming out to the hand, to make it fatter so that it's a nearer match with the other arms.
  Day 4 of painting sunfish for Making Waves project in Plymouth Day 4.  Painted the eyes and the background of the base after getting it put on a trestle. Did some general tidying up - the "panel cleaner" I used to degrease the fish before painting is handy for erasing pencil marks.
   Face of Smitten - my sunfish in Plymouth's Making Waves project Day 4.  Eyes and mouth completed.  I didn't have to think about the mouth when I submitted the 2D design. I decided a human one would be in keeping with the overall theme.
  Day 5 of painting the sunfish for Plymouth's Making Waves project. Day 5.  Completed!
This photo doesn't do justice to the shadows (I hope) and the green isn't that livid in real life. 
Painting the shadows was stressful - I painted black lines and then spread them out by dabbing with a sponge.  It felt as though I was spreading dirt over work I'd strived to keep clean and sharp.
  Day 5 of painting a sunfish for Plymouth's Making Waves project Day 5.  The other side. In the cool light of day I think the top fellow's hairline is a bit wonky.  I had problems getting the eyes in the right place and now I can see why.  Too late to change it and I don't think it matters too much.
  Day 5 of painting a gian sunfish for Plymouth's Making Waves project Day 5.  Front view, now with my "signature".
  Repainted sunfish for Plymouth's Making Waves project I didn't like the way I made the shadows - dabbing with a sponge just made it look dirty - so I went back and repainted the individual stripes to make the shadows less smudgy.  Took 11 hours with hardly any breaks!
  Replica of Sunfish design for Plymouth's Making Waves project I painted a couple of small-scale replicas - one for the sponsor (Plymouth City Council) and one for me - in ClayArt, a paint-a-pot studio in Plymouth.

 Top coat completed on sunfish for Plymouth's Making Waves project
Now top coated
  15 sunfish on display outside the Civic Centre
Now on display, along with 14 other sunfish, outside the Civic Centre.
  Sunfish and me on the launch day, in the rainOn the launch day, in the rain

‹‹ Back