The third fish I painted for my daily fish portrait/color wheel/limited palette exercise is this guy (or gal). I think the original photo (which came from the pages of an aquarium supply catalog) is of some kind of angel fish, but I don’t really know my fish types, so I’m just guessing here. In any case, I thought the starkly black and white body contrasted with the wildly intense coloration of the face and fins made for a most fantastical combination. It also made for my first stumbling block as I was trying to put together color palettes based on simple color theory.
My original intent was to keep my palette really limited: two colors plus white. Up to this point I really hadn’t incorporated much black outside of the eyes of my fish, but this fish needed a lot of black. Warnings of muddy color mixes sounded through my head.
I’ve been using Lexi Sundell’s Creating Exceptional Color with Acrylics as my guide, and with my first two paintings I made no effort to reproduce the colors of the actual fish in the photo. I just picked a palette I wanted to try and went with it. This time I wanted to at least try to capture the essence of the colors of the real live fish. Which meant a pretty broad palette, in this case a three-color basic subtractive primary:cyan, magenta, and yellow. Plus black and white. I was still oblivious to the need to take good notes and make a good mixing diagram. You can see the mess I made of my test page, but at least this time I made a test page.
You can also see that I tried to mix up my own black. Having those three primaries I should have been able to manage it. But in the end I took the easy route and just used Mars black from the tube.