Monday, September 21, 2015

Art of an animal that isn't a bird

This past weekend Sky Nursery hosted an exhibition and judging competition for a regional koi fancier society, and Tina and I went to check it out.  There were about a dozen pools filled with stunning fish.

We brought sketch books, but I quickly realized the fish were moving around too much to do anything other than rapid gesture drawings, so I opted for photos instead.

I did want to try painting from a photo later at home, and was taken by the classic orange and white koi as a good subject.

Though this golden koi also caught my eye -- incredibly beautiful.

I stuck with "classic" koi, as it had more color variety to work with.  I decided to try doing it in pastels -- I bought some months ago as part of my "year of art", to explore new media.  After doodling with them for a bit and getting frustrated by the fact I had no idea how to handle them, I put them away.

I dug them out again, and found a sheet of blue pastel paper lying around, and tackled the koi with a mix of soft pastel (the oranges, yellow, and white) and hard pastel pencils (darker spots and lines).  I tried a few different ways of blending, and had to go over the main body a couple of times.  Overall, it turned out pretty well -- but I'm not sure pastel is something I'd use a lot.

One thing I learned (a little too late):  wear old clothes.  There is now orange chalk dust all over a nice blue shirt I bought two weeks ago, which is not quite so nice now!


  1. For not liking chalk, you sure did a great job. It's beautiful. There sure is a stunning variety - who knew?

  2. Hello Alex, I would have liked to see extra photos of different stages of the artwork, which I must say turned out brilliantly. I would have liked to see the different blending and attempts. I have an ulterior motive. I have pastels bought some years ago ( too many ) and never had any success so there they lay for eons.

    1. Sorry, I thought of that only after I'd finished! Guess I'll have to try another pastel piece. I tried blending with tortillons, which took too much pastel off the paper. Finger worked better but was harder to get details worked in. Tissue paper worked okay. I had to go over it with several layers to cover the blue of the paper. I didn't have any fixative so need to get some before trying again.