I did a commission last year of a Koi Carpe fish, A3 watercolour. After sharing it on social media, I was asked by someone else to paint a large painting of the same subject. I wasn’t confident to do it on a large format, so I suggested 3 separate A3 paintings, in watercolours, that could be framed and hung together.
The only request was to make them look like they were under water as I had done in my first Koi Carpe painting. This time I had no image reference so I had to scour the internet looking for ideas of fish, ripples and ponds. Then I needed to come up with the composition for 3 paintings.
I choose watercolours because I had used them on the first Koi Carpe commission and I was aiming to get the same underwater effect. This has proven to be the trickiest part of the project, getting the background to look like water. I used masking fluid to retain highlights on the water ripples and made sure I painted darker shadows around them. I found that getting a good contrast with the shadows of the fish is what makes it jump of the paper.
I felt this project was quite difficult. I even had two other paintings which didn’t make the cut. I usually give up on a painting if I can’t get it to work. I would rather take the time and start again from scratch instead of fighting with something which isn’t working.
The first painting was no problem to complete, but after that I stated having battles with what I was producing. I disliked the composition and the tones were flat. I finally decided to do the 2nd and 3rd paintings together stage by stage. I think you can tell they were painted at the same time looking at the three of them together. I think I should have done all three at the same time. This was ideal for me because while having to wait for paint to dry, I could move on to the other, colour mixes were exactly the same and it meant less paint was wasted (I can’t stand waste).
I know in my gut if something has worked but I also like to call my 9 year old daughter in for the ‘gasp’ test. Her reaction (with a little gasp hee hee) tells me all I need to know.
Then I photographed them and sent them to my husband for an honest opinion. I also got them framed at P & J framing in Liverpool (www.pandjframing.co.uk) I was very happy with the finished result and so was the client.