Monday, January 9, 2012

Big Fish, Small Pond

I've painted koi fish so many times because they are really pretty and fun to paint.  I had this incredible piece of textured mulberry paper that I purchased well over a year ago but I'd never used it because it seemed almost too special.  I thought a watery subject would be perfect for it.  Of course, when I think water, I think koi.  I used acrylics thinned down like watercolor for this.  I knew I wanted some intense darks and didn't think I could achieve them with watercolor because this paper needed to be sealed before painting on it and in the past, when I've used watercolors on sealed paper, my darks are pretty weak.

This paper had no sizing in it at all and it acted like a blotter so I used acrylic matte medium to seal it first.  I guess I didn't seal it enough though because the paint creeped and seeped all over the place.  As I added more layers of paint, that became less of a problem because each layer of acrylic sealed the paper more.

Having so much texture in the paper was fun and frustrating at the same time.  Once I relaxed and let the paint do what it wanted, I enjoyed the process.  Below is a close-up of the paper to show the texture.  I shot this photo in the sun because I thought the texture would show better but because of the shadows, it looks like there are deep grooves in the paper when actually the areas next to the shadows are raised.


Using acrylics very thin like watercolor is really fun.  It's nice that I don't have to worry about disturbing previous layers (because once they dry, they are permanent) and I can still get the interesting effects of glazing.  Watercolors are still prettier and more interesting in my opinion because of the sedimentary qualities of many of the watercolor paints.  Acrylics tend to look a little more flat.

Big Fish, Small Pond
Image Size 22" x 30"
Acrylic

12 comments:

  1. Hi Nancy, That turned out to be great effects for painting koi! like the colors in the painting and liked your process of painting too - successful experiment!

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  2. Votre travail avec ces poissons rouges est magnifique. J'admire la qualité avec laquelle vous avez donné vie à cette oeuvre. On pourrait entendre doucement le petit bruissement de l'eau à sa surface...
    Splendide...
    Gros bisous

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  3. Wow Nancy, that's some serious texture. And you're right - it's perfect for a water scene. Ain't it fun to try out new materials?

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  4. Thank you Prerana. I love to experiment.

    Merci Martinealison. Vous êtes trop gentil

    Yes Deborah, it's great to find new art materials and I don't think a paper could have more texture than this and still be called paper.

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  5. Very nice..love to see your process

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  6. The texture of the paper is truly exquisite, Nancy. It adds so much depth to the water. Beautiful painting!

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  7. I have never seen paper like this! I love the looks of it and will pay attention to what I see in the oriental papers from now on. I have enjoyed working on masa paper this year and would like to try this, also. Beautiful color in this painting and I also like how you achieved the look of the fish underwater.

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  8. I got the paper from Hiromi Paper in Santa Monica CA. You can order from them on-line but I'm not sure what this paper is called. I'm planning to go up there within a couple of months so when I get it this time I'll send you the info.

    Getting the fish underwater was easy. I paint the fish first, then add glazes of the colors of the water over that. With the acrylic, since the previous layers are permanent, the fish just got covered up rather than the colors mixing and making mud.

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  9. I really love this one, Nancy!! I have a Koi pond in my backyard and have tried in the past painting them but it never comes out right...this one is really nicely painted..Awesome texture...I love it!!

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  10. Beautiful painting and I really like the effect you got with the paper! The close up is amazing!

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  11. Thank you Hilda. How fun to have these guys in your yard. I would sit there all day watching them. They are so soothing.

    Thank you Theresa. The paper is wonderful. I'm going to have to use it again.

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