It's been awhile since I painted fish. I got a little burnt out on them. But I wanted to put some small pieces in the show - things under $100 - so I thought I'd paint a small (5" X 7") single goldfish. And to get me back into it - I thought I'd do a step-by-step because these are always fun - right?
I started with a background wash of light blue, sap green, and a darker Prussian blue. I also dropped some clean water on there and let the colors mix and mingle. I left most of the fish body unpainted, but I did paint over the fins and then lifted them out. It will give them a thin, transparent feel.
When that completely dried - like overnight dried - then I put some colors in the fish's body. I started with pinks and grays on the belly and then oranges and reds on the top. I put some violet under the eye to create a shadow. Then I let that dry for a few minutes.
I darkened my prussian blue above the fish to make that top fin pop. And I started to layer up some reds and oranges on the fish's body. See how dark the shadow under the eye is? That's because it is wet. It will dry lighter.
Then I had to darken the blue in the water around the back of the tail and beneath the body. I also painted in the eyes a bit and started removing small patches of color to look like scales. I darkened the base of the tail so it receded and started adding some color and definition to the fins.
As I began the finishing touches, I had to step back and see what was working and what wasn't. I thought the pink part under the fish's eye looked to jowly - so I darkened that a bit.
I worked on more details around the eyes and mouth. I thought the bottom scales were too big for the size of the fish so I painted a wash over them and added some smaller highlights in white gouache.