The Daily Fish, number 3

Posted by on May 2, 2013 in your brain on art | No Comments
The Daily Fish, number 3
rainbow angelfish 225x196 The Daily Fish, number 3

black and white angel fish with brightly colored face acrylic painting

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.

angel fish 225x295 The Daily Fish, number 3

test page of acrylic paint mixes for angel fish

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.