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    In the days of my youth, my high school buddies and I took a Spring Break road trip to Daytona Beach.  After a few days of enjoying Daytona, my buddy Rocco, while studying a map of Florida, said, "Let's go to to Key West. You know it's the southern-most point in the continental United States?"  So off we went. 

   The crystal clear, turquoise blue water of the Florida Keys was like a dream. When we arrived in Key West, we drove straight to Smathers Beach. I couldn't wait to go snorkeling, and boy was it beautiful. I came across small coral heads with brilliant colored tropical fish. The one that stood out the most was my encounter with a Flying Gurnard. As I swam upon it, it spread its stunning, pectoral fins and slowly swam off. That moment changed my life forever.

I would return about every six months for more exploring, and the Atlantic Ocean would run through my veins for the rest of my life.

   Four years later. After finishing my studies at Cooper School of Art, I packed

my car, gathered my portfolio, and headed for South Florida and it's amazing Atlantic Ocean.  Building my freelance illustration career gave me the freedom to pursue my passion: scuba diving. During down times, I couldn't wait to get in the water. The ocean's marine environment would become my subject matter of choice for my own personal creations. That was a no brainer!  Over the years, I've created paintings of reef scenes and also created works that I guess you would describe as "something different." Check it out. 

   My medium was gouache, and my technique was predominantly realistic airbrush, along with hand painted brush work, colored pencil, and assorted sponges to create textures.  I’ve often said God blessed me and made me an artist, then messed with me by making me a realist!  

   The digital revolution eventually took over the advertising and publishing industry, so I followed suit and transitioned into creating digital images. I could achieve the exact same look as my traditional technique with incredible flexibility; I sometimes wonder how I even painted those originals!

   Fishing piers are one place where diving of all types-scuba and snorkeling- are prohibited one-hundred and fifty feet around the pier.  When walking out on a pier, I've seen the huge schools of bait fish, and the predators looking for a meal, so I always wanted to get a look underneath.  About three years ago, I heard of a live-stream video from a camera that was placed under the Deerfield Beach Pier.  I checked it out and there it was.  I was amazed at what I saw.

   In the late spring and summer months, Tarpon, Snook and Barracudas would gather to breed and feed off the large schools of bait fish, and you'd never know what interesting passerby might show up, I would watch for hours, and I found it to be very addictive. Hell, I'm side-eyeing the stream as I type this!  

   On one particular day, I captured a screenshot to show my wife. After sharing it with her, I had an idea to use that screenshot for a background, then add whatever other elements necessary-to create the vision I had in my mind's eye. From there, I began capturing screenshots of all types of fish for my background. My first creation, titled "Alpha," inspired me to create an ongoing series.

   Since then, I've captured hundreds of screenshots of all varieties of fish and backgrounds, not knowing if-or how-they may be used in a future creation.

   The cool thing about this series is they’re not photographs. They're a compilation of multiple elements.  The scenes I've created never existed in any capacity-only in my mind's eye.  I've included some of the raw screen shots that were the inspiration and foundation for several of my creations.

   I hope you are as exciting seeing my work as I was when I created them. They will look stunning in your home.  Please feel free to contact me at or my cell 954-815-3347 

   I'll look forward to your comments. I’d also love to see and hear what you’ve been up to. Who knows, maybe we’ll go diving one day.


   Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you enjoy my web site!

Gary Penca


Copyright © 2022, Gary Penca. All rights reserved. Reproduction of any image on this site without permission is prohibited.

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