Because there were so many elements, (fish, leaves, flowers, water) I wanted to do a little bit of each to work out my color palette.
Start the leaves by covering the leaf with a coat of light Sap Green, lots of water little pigment. As it is drying add more Sap Green where you want dark, into the dark also add some Paynes Gray. In other areas drop in some Quin. Gold or Yellow Ocher, add in some Cad Red and cad yellow and in some leaves even put in come Cobalt Blue. When I say "drop" in a color, I mean just that, don't use a brush stroke, just dab the color into a wet area and let the water blend the colors. Try to make the leaves different looking, some will have more of a color than another. If part of a leaf overlaps another leaf the top leaf will be be lighter where it overlaps and
While doing the leaves put the yellow centers in the flowers, using your darkest yellow.
Koi, like the fuchsia, come in many colors and combinations of colors. I chose to do all three in the same color, that way they are all equal and none stands out, they are part of the pattern. I used Cad. Red and Cad. Yellow to make a bright
When all the leaves are painted it's time to move on to the flowers. The dark yellow centers should be dry by now, using the same orange as the fish, put in some small strokes around some of the stamens. I used a very watered down Paynes Gray to put in the shadows on the petals of the flowers. Like the previous water lily, work on one petal at a time so you keep some white areas on each petal. When all the gray shadows are in place. I used a watered down Hansa Yellow on
some of the petals. You can do the inside of a
For now leave the flowers and start on the water. I started on the left side by the two flowers. Here I used Cobalt Blue, Paynes Gray, and Antwerp Blue. First putting down a layer of Cobalt, then dropping in the gray close to the objects. Let the water move the pigment, the layering of the color will give you wonderful water movement. The very highest waterlily is the only flower that is actually sitting in the water. So while the
paint is still damp, pull out the reflection of the
At this point looking at three fish with their mouths open, I figured there should be some food for them. I made a dark brown and painted little pellets near the fish. While still damp I used a damp brush to take out a bit of a highlight out of each pellet, then when dry I used some Antwerp Blue at the base of each pellet for shadow.
I used the last method, exchanging the white gouche for gesso.
Gesso is used to prime canvases for oil or acrylic paint, but I have also found that it works well for priming watercolor paper for certain projects AND for mixing with watercolor for an opaque color to use over other colors. The gesso dries very quickly so once the color has been mixed in quickly stoke the grasses in, overlapping and bending some leaves of grass. I mixed several different colors of green, adding either yellow or blue.
Now you want to look at the whole painting see if there is any place that needs a darker shadow or a highlight that needs pulling out. Sometimes it can take days to see if there are changes or additions that you want to make or you will see it right away. Looking at your painting upside down or in a mirror will also show you if anything else needs to be done.
Here is the piece, I'm not sure if this one is finished or not, I see some areas that I might want to do some more work to, but for the most part I am happy with the results. I hope you are happy with your painting and ready to move on to your next challenge.