New Painting Underway

I’ve finally begun the initial stages of a new painting. The watercolor paper has been soaked, stretched and taped to a board. Sketches are underway.

The subject matter? Hawaiian fish. I decided to limit my selection to tropical fish of Hawaii, just to have some constraints and a coherent group. There are still so many to choose from!
I’m now working on sketches, trying to come up with an arrangement of overlapping fish. I want to keep the viewer’s eye moving within the piece, so there are lots of diagonal curves. I always have to keep in mind how the different colors will play against one another so that each individual fish can be see. Dark, light, bright and deep colors all need to be well balanced throughout. It’s a good mental exercise to try and visualize it all in my head as I choose various fish and work on the sketch. I know that any time an eye appears, it will become a focal point. There will probably be five or so fish eyes visible when I’m done, and they will be in different areas of the painting. I never use a single focal point in the middle of a piece. I prefer to make lots of different areas interesting so that more and more details and views can be discovered as one looks at the painting again and again.