Don’t be Koi… #7 finished

Don’t Play Koi With Me

11”w x 11”h watercolor on 140lb WC paper

The final part of the water kingdom is done on her left side bringing the darker blues continuous behind her with a quick absence bleed of color at her back tail fin. This is how I give an impression of movement in the water there. The final touch I feel drawn to do is some darker splatters throughout the water for bubble impressions. I am pleased with her bright moving attitude! C’est fini!

Don’t be Koi… #6

#06

Don’t Play Koi With Me

11”w x 11”h watercolor on 140lb WC paper

The underwater world keeps going as I proceed on her right side adding cobalt blue, Prussian blue, ultramarine along with violet. The trick for me is to not do too much. I don’t want it to be a solid background, instead wanting to see variance and depth. the other side of that is that I don’t want the water to compete with the main subject of the sassy koi. Hoping to get not too much and not too little. Slowly and carefully I proceed.

Don’t be Koi… #5

#05

Don’t Play Koi With Me

11”w x 11”h watercolor on 140lb WC paper

Our lady koi is ready to enter into her world. How is she going to look underwater? This is my favorite thing about watercolor painting. Wet on wet! I absolutely love the way that the colors bleed pool and spread when you give them water to travel on. There is no better experience than carefully wetting where you want color to transform and then dropping color and watching the magic in front of your eyes. Beginning at the extreme curve of her body and working my way under her chin her underwater world appears.

Don’t be Koi… #4

#04

Don’t Play Koi With Me

11”w x 11”h watercolor on 140lb WC paper

I continue to add color to her scale areas getting the majority of her done. The next area is her back tail where I am opting to give her a real colorful fin to stand on for her statement. The tricky part for me here it to give her an impression of standing on two legs without giving her legs at all. How do you make fins kind of sort of be legs? Well here is my best stab at it.

Don’t be Koi… #3

#03

Don’t Play Koi With Me

11”w x 11”h watercolor on 140lb WC paper

At this point I begin to add the areas of different colors on my koi character taking turns between adding scale patterns and shadow shape. She is colorful with white, gold, orange, red and black patches. I add darkness in layers we are able to see the depth of her open mouth which makes her expression have much more impact. The darkness on her right chin makes her lips seem to jut out toward us. As I work with the eyes I darken where the shadows are along with her iris. Isn’t it great how watercolor allows you to carefully bleed the edges of the shadow to gently show a curving eyeball? I noticed her dorsal fin is not right and am able to correct that with darkening in the back that reduces it to the correct size.

Don’t be Koi… #2

#02

Don’t Play Koi With Me

11”w x 11”h watercolor on 140lb WC paper

You may notice that I was in the middle of doing a couple’s wedding portrait but I put it aside and did this real quick because the meeting was the next night. I have had to learn to be able to quit one project and hop onto-the-next whenever customers put a hold on something. It works well for when I tend to procrastinate too long too.

Don’t be Koi… #1

Don’t Play Koi With Me #01

11”w x 11”h watercolor on 140lb WC paper

 

This little watercolor was a challenge from the Spokane Watercolor Society (SWS), which is a club that I love being part of. It is great to be able to see fellow artists every month throughout the year and be able to learn from and inspire each other.

At these meetings each month we are asked to paint something and then bring it to the next meeting for show and tell. This challenge was to paint something “Fishy”.

When I thought of what to paint, I immediately thought “koi” because of the great techniques discovered while watching Vicki A. West for an evening as we both showed people how-to-paint at the SWS art show opening the month before. Vicki is quite a talented artist, and it was an eye opener to see her quick and decisive strokes blossom into beautiful koi images. My brain immediately took this koi idea to another kind of comical path envisioning a talking fish saying, “Don’t you play koi with me!”. The old time movie that I thought of was “The Incredible Mr. Limpet” where Don Knotts plays a mild-mannered bookkeeper who falls into the water and becomes a fish.

 

The painting begins with a quick pencil sketch showing a fish with mouth open and eyes wide-open, standing with its left fin pointing up and out and it’s right fin reaching down to it’s hip. The character I saw was a sassy woman putting her right hand on her hip and her left hand up in the air pointing as she declares her powerful statement to the world.

 

I reserved fin areas with transparent yellow and then proceeded with putting a real light wash of shadowed scale pattern on her body. My main goal was just being able to see the roundness of her form before putting her colors on.

Art Collectors are a blessing

Last Friday night (4/6/2018) I was downtown Spokane WA for First Friday at the Spokane Watercolor Society Membership Show 2018 opening receptionThe host of our show is the Inland Northwest Land Conservancy, which is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that helps willing landowners place conservation easements on their properties to protect land in watershed areas. The show location is their Community Building lobby, at 35 West Main Avenue, (corner Browne and Main) all hanging art will be on display from April 6th through April 27th 2018.

During the reception I was helping teach watercolor techniques at a table we had there. A great thing for me as I find it difficult to mingle with large crowds of people I don’t know, exchanging meaningless pleasantries. Public events can make me feel down, hearing careless comments about “starving artists” and the general low rumblings from fellow artists about low sales and other struggles of the industry.

There was a bin setup on the side that I had placed some small pieces of unframed art (I did not want to keep anymore).  They were not marked with a price, and I was fine with them being free giveaways.  I am trying to clear out excess inventory in the studio with a goal being to find a nice home for my art children if possible.

A beautiful lady went through the pictures and prints that were in the bin, Quickly picking up a small watercolor that I had entitled, “Chocolate Delight”.  She asked how much it was and who painted it at the front desk so they came over to me asking if it was me, and how much etc.

When I saw the absolute love on her face as she held the piece close to her chest I felt instant joy all over . I said, “Yes, it was me,” and asked her “You like it?”

“Definitely, it is emotion and…”

I shared with her that I remembered painting it as a testimony to how I feel when eating a piece of Dove chocolate. She absolutely got it, loving the way that the facial features showed the rapture of chocolate flavor almost to the pint of having tears come from her eyes.

In my mind I thought, “The illusion of the tears on the piece were more a watercolor lucky imperfection than a planned process by me. I love how watercolors give me those surprises.” A comforting envelope of relief came over me as I signed the back and endorsed it with her name, Darlene. Next I was telling her the price was free, and she immediately replied, “No, I insist to pay for it.” It is funny that I was worried about not making sales and should I keep making art earlier and her love of my work just blew that worry away. The emotional connection is what is important, not the money. I collected the funds she offered, thanking her with another hug. An angel just when I needed it. She and her husband enjoyed the rest of the show and left shortly after.

A daily art creation routine is really a creative venture or experiment where the artist tries to share their innermost soul with the world, our feelings and emotions that touch us so very very deeply. It is always my hope that my art will be able to give the same depth of feelings to any collector feeling drawn to purchase it.

I was given a gift from Darlene worth more than money. She gave me undeniable assurance that my work does touch hearts and is worthwhile. I may need to offer it up for discounted amounts to clear the inventory in my studio, but that does not mean that it then becomes worthless art to the people that receive the gift.

title…giving me a problem

Just finished this watercolor of a view straight out my studio window. I just can’t seem to pick a good name for it.  I was thinking,

“Look outside at what is looking inside!”

No. But I know that is just way to long… and just naming it deer isn’t cool so… Please. Do any of you have any suggestions? HELP!!!