This is a close up shot of one section of my latest Koi painting. The actual size of the painting is 22 by 30. This is the second step in this lesson ( see previous entry for step one).
In this shot you can see that I painted the negative space to create more fish. This will help to create a better illusion of depth. Of course it works because it appears as if there are more layers. The fish that will be further under the water or further away will be painted in less detail or possibly not at all. The fish I wish to present as closer to the surface will be painted more brightly and directly.
The process for this is pretty basic I stare at the painting looking for fish. When I see one that will enhance the entire image, I paint around it, there by creating it out of the existing paint.
When painting around a fish, I usually blend in the colors with the existing background but use a variety of colors so it does not become flat or boring. For instance if the fish is gold, I may paint around the fish with a darker version of the gold. Another way would be to glaze over the background gold with an analogous color, painting around the fish and over the gold with say… red which will enhance the gold underneath yet allowing for some contrast and will cause the gold fish to be pushed forward.
In the shot above, looking at the fish on the left…. I painted green around the fish on one side and purple and blue on the other side, basically just increasing the intensity of the background colors already there. At this stage I don’t usually start to paint the white fish yet but wanted you to see how the illusion works. The fish painted with red will ultimately be one of the fish closest to the viewer.