Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Young Brook Trout Watercolor

It has been quite a while since my last watercolor trout so I thought I would break out the colors and paint up a little brook trout.  I am not certain what draws us anglers to these wonderful fish but if I had to guess it would have to be the brilliant variety of colors they sport along with the elusive nature and stunning habitat in which they thrive.  Whole books have been written on them, dedicated fly fisherman will scale a mountain in order to hunt them, and artists such as my self just cant get enough of painting them.  They are by far my favorite trout to paint and top the short list of fish I like to see jumping at the end of my 6x leader.
I have added a little progressive photo log of my attempt to capture this trout in watercolor.  The lighting for these photos left much to be desired but I hope you get the idea.
As always I start with a rough pencil sketch of the trout.  This gives me a general idea of what I am looking for as far as the form and position of the trout on the paper as well as some basic lines for me to go to while laying down paint.
I then started this painting with some basic underlying colors such as a muted yellow, olive greens, and light cerulean blue.  Depending on the effect I am looking for, I will either wait for the paint to dry completely or only slightly before adding additional layers of color.
Gently working up the layers without over doing it, I start to add the pigments where they are needed.  I generally paint the lightest colors first then add progressively darker colors to add the dynamic contrasts that make a painting really stand out.  There are a few exceptions to this but I find this rule of thumb very effective.  It does however take a bit of planning in advance to get the color sequence correct.
As you can see here, I've added deeper greenish blues to the flanks of the trout to show the tell tale marking of a younger fish.  I have also been careful to allow much of the underlying yellows to show through as spots and swirls on the sides and back of the trout.
After I get much of the color down where I want it I then go on to add the detailed touches that bring the painting to live.  I try whenever possible to leave the white of the paper to shine through as a sparkle in the eye.  I do not like to use paint for this effect because I feel that it dulls the intended effect.  I also have added here the blue rings that surround the red spots so distinctive to these trout.  These spots are iconic and are key to the beauty of these fish.  After the blues have dried I then go back and drop in small spots of bright red to the center of each circle.  After that it is just finishing up with minute little details.
This piece measures 7" x 4"
"Young Brook"
Acid Free 100% Cotton Paper
Affordable & Available for Purchase via Email
Piece will come shipped with its own acid free mat.
(All proceeds go to my habitual pursuit of these great little fish in the mountains of the South East.)


Brk Trt said...

You have captured this fish to perfection.... looks like it came from a small stream that I fish.

Fine work.

TexWisGirl said...

it's beautiful. the control you have over watercolor is amazing. i find control over colored pencils to be difficult! and i start from light to dark as well, but have to keep myself from getting heavy-handed with the darks... you're a true artist whereas i'm just a hack with a set of pencils. :)

Unknown said...

Brk and texwisgrl - thanks for the compliments and comments. Glad you liked the painting.