Koi Painting work in progress painting…

Trying to pull together several painting so they can be finished, one for a customer, one for a show and one just for me.

Below you can see several paintings I have sitting about my studio space… I am working on all of them at once…. trying to get them either finished or started.   I work this way sometimes because its best to let some paintings sit rather then work on them too long.  They become over worked and stagnant if painted for hours and hours.   One is an oil painting which I just need a few adjustments and it will be complete…  its the water painting with the yellow trees.  The next looks like a light blue and purple combination, its also a water painting and we do not know where its going but I have a pastel kinda monet feeling for it so it will start in that direction.

The one on the floor is the one I started yesterday and I  will work on it today.  Its the only watercolor in the bunch so I’ll have to clean my pallet before I start painting it again.

This painting is sitting on my back porch to dry Its a combination of Gesso and watercolor painted on canvas.


Adding texture to the ply wood (step 2)

When preparing your wood for panting, you may wish to add texture. Sure you can add texture with paint but paint is a bit expensive and Gesso is usually less expensive.
Here are just some of the tools I use to create texture with Acrylic Gesso. A cake decorating spatula, (or a large palette knife) paint brushes, plastic lids of various sizes. Anything from a butter container to a coffee container will work fine. Your hands, rags, rubber shapers, (you can make your own from ink erasers) & various types of nap rollers, smooth to rag, it all depends upon the effect your looking for. Really anything you have around the house can add texture, just look around and find things you would like to introduce, such as lace, screens, webbing, fabric,  & stamps, etc.

In the two examples you can see the variety of looks you can achieve. The first is my pencil box which I have painted in watercolor on textured gesso and sealed it with a clear gloss, the other example is a block of wood covered in gesso, sanded lightlyt and also painted in watercolor but this time sealed with a matt seal coat.

It would be a good idea to try both and see what combination fits your style.

This is a close up of gesso on the spatula doesn’t it looks like frosting?

You may want to put the gesso on the reverse side of the spaula, it makes it easier to apply.

Below is a rubber shaper, you can push the gesso around before it dries or use it to pull gesso off the surface.

Palette knives can put small lines of gesso on the canvas or wood panel if the gesso is applies from the side.

Scumble anything over the surface and it will skip making some really great texture.

Here I’m going for  the look of water..

Using the very smooth roller I’m making almost no texture I want this area smooth for  the figure.  Too much texture can be distracting,  try to find a bit of balance in your piece.

Here I have applied tape to the wood and after painting gesso over it, pull it off to leave a negative shape

In the photo below, I’m using a small butter container lid to put the gesso on in large swaths. You just have to cut the roundness off of one edge and create a nice curved or straight edge so the gesso will roll onto the wood.

This is the final photo showing how the Plywood looks. When it dries it will be ready to paint on or draw if that is your choice.

work in progress


I have finished one section of my work in progress and decided to post it here. I plan to finish it later this week.

I love this piece, the fish are really intertwined and this is frequently how you will see koi, they tend to swim in groups.   I’m glazing now, painting the piece in an upright position.      

The painting is  dry and I paint layer over layer to create a sense of depth and  multiple color layers changing the color and sometimes strengthen it.

This is about 18 by 33, watercolor on paper.

40″ by 40″ work in progress, yipee!!! Its finished

Koi Connection

40 inches by 40 inches watercolor on paper. I finished this piece this week and wanted to post it. I really enjoyed painting this piece because it just seemed to come to me very easily and quickly. I had three weeks to finish and tomorrow is the deadline so I’m always happy anytime I can beat the deadline. I spent one week of planning, looking at reference, drawing value studies and thinking and composing the design of the piece. The colors were given to me by the client but of course I had free rein as to how to make it work. The second week I painted it, I set aside three different times for painting sessions with several days between each session. This is to give me time to look at the painting to see what it needs. Also, I showed it to other artists and I take into account what I hear from them yet remain true to my own interpretation. The third week is set aside for final details and on this piece I really did very little in the detail area. For example… I didn’t make the eyes realistic or put in scales or water plants and such. All these things, I could have done. I didn’t feel the piece needed it and I felt it would just put too many shapes and things into the piece which would take away from its main beauty, the water and the movement. Regarding the design….I wanted something that resembled a circle but also had the box within a box feel. I made it circular with an open ended upper left hand corner.   I think this gives the piece a nice circular feeling but yet also opens up the circle at the top so it isn’t  completely closed.      I wanted to give the feeling of connection or interconnection amongst the koi while allowing them to be individuals.   You’ll see they all look a bit different.  I love that about the fish, its as if they are one big family and you have little Kathy and Jason and Mark right there with uncle Jack and Aunt Martha.     I still have to name this piece and I’ll figure it out and let you know. 

OK I have it.. Koi Radiance is the name
It radiates color, light and movement. The Koi represent mankind struggling thru life which is represented by the water.

WIP close up of my new painting right side

Koi wip

Here you can see I negatively painted in several fish below the directly painted fish. I usually do this to add a layer of depth to the water, and to the entire piece. I glaze over the existing color with a darker color in the same family … leaveing out the koi. Then I shade the koi to create form. form.

WIP 35 by 35 watercolor on paper Koi

Here is another shot of my wip Koi “under the falls”.   I want to repaint the koi on the left, which I’ll do this week some time. This piece is 24 by 24 acrylic.DSCF2053  Here is my newest start.. it is 35 by 35 inches DSCF2050  Here is how it looks after I have wet the paper and have painted the first layer of paint.   Koi painting wip Its pretty wet and I use towels to sop up all the water from around the sides and under the bottom.DSCF2050   Its a long way from being complete but you can see how I start with a wet into wet underpainting. Then while its wet I pull out the fish and then when its  only damp, I paint in the shadows and the parts of the fish I want softened.     I have included a close up so you can see the thickness of the paint… also  notice…that I don’t blend the paint.  I have the paper wet on both sides on a slanted plexiglass and I tilt it and rotate it so that the colors run together to form interesting mixes. Mud will result if you over mix when its this wet and when you use so many compliments.   close up of paint on paper Here is a photo of one of my best friends, Sam, he loves to watch me paint.   sam down underCheck back with me again and I’ll try to take more photos as I go along.