Category: �’

Blue Butterfly Tail

April 17, 2008 Posted by suefairview

Now that my graphic eye was turned on, I scanned the Chinese Goldfish book for another fish to paint. On the very same page I found one:


The book describes this fish as:

Variegated butterfly tail with reversed gills

But for me, the bright orange and white colors distracted from the strong graphic image of the fish. So I went with Payne gray in my water color interpretation of it. I also took another look at the anatomy of fish scales and devised a new method for portraying them. Here is the result (click to enlarge).


Again, I employed the dry brush method and used a wash with paint pooling for the eyes. I thought the paint would never dry and had a fear that I would smudge it, but that didn’t happen. I like how the paint in the tail seems to be different colors, but it is not. It is all just Payne gray. I am in love with this color! I am somewhat happier with how the scales turned out, but not yet thrilled.

This is the mate to the Black Butterfly Tail. I wanted to paint a trio, and did attempt it, but it never worked out. As usual, your comments are welcome.

Black Butterfly Tail with Bulging Dragon Eyes

April 16, 2008 Posted by suefairview

Finally frustrated with pointillism, I revisited watercolors. I searched my books for inspiration and came up with this Chinese Goldfish book put out by Tetra. The wonderful thing about this book is that there are photos straight from China of the way goldfish are kept and propagated there and the way they were kept in palaces in ancient times when myriad servants were around to make water changes in the beautiful porcelain, marble, wood, pottery and earthenware containers. Of course all of the variations of goldfish are shown. This book really spurred my imagination.


My eye for graphics was grabbed by this image on page 67:


The book describes this fish as:

Black butterfly tail with bulging dragon eyes

An exceedingly rare variety of goldfish, renowned for its butterfly-like caudal fins. It is as black as traditional Chinese ink and has large protruding eyes. This variety of fish likes shallow water, only 10 cm deep. An adult fish measures between 15 and 20 cm.

I just had to paint this fish. So, armed with my black watercolor paint I had at it. This was the result:


I used the dry brush technique. In general I feel that I captured the spirit of the fish, but I am not happy with the scales, which I rushed because I was impatient to finish the work. I think that graphically the painting is a success. The final work is 13.5″ x 10″. Click to enlarge.

I would love to hear your comments.