- I painted some schools of gouache fish and a single gouache goldfish back in May.
- I made lino cut goldfish in June.
- During Savor Summer I drew goldfish with chalk.
- Last month I painted watercolor fish for my page in the 2x2 Sketchbook.
What's with all the fish?
Truth be told, I have been wanting to paint goldfish for a very long time.
Since childhood the image of the goldfish has been iconic to me. The joyful flash of orange in pond or tank (or bowl -- I love the image, but goldfish bowls are inhumane) was irresistible.
Once in seventh grade I sketched a portrait of my new pet goldfish on a math quiz. I'm not sure why I even remember that. Maybe because I was so happy about my pet and a bit proud of my sketch (of my math quiz, I have no recollection).
Symbolically goldfish and koi represent luck, tranquility, harmony, long life, happiness, wealth, fertility and altered states of perception.
To me the represent joy.
Not a surprise, then, that I'd want to paint them.
Once I started painting them, it was hard to stop.
The three large fish seen from overhead were my first experiment.
I loved the look of the bight orange fish against the white of the paper. I was curious, though, and and tried painting a fish in a background of gorgeous pale blues and greens.
It didn't work for me. The background seemed to mute the bright orange, distracting attention away from the fish.
After that I left my signature white backgrounds.
These first batches made me so happy, but I felt that they weren't quite right.
I started experimenting with a lighter, looser touch. I used a large paper and a large brush and painted fish after fish after fish.
These weren't quite right, either, but I liked the varying colors and shapes.
I painted more.
The next batch was painted a little more carefully.
The multi-colored fish are my favorite.
Watching fish swim in a tank is soothing.
Painting them is soothing, too.
I used to keep goldfish in a 55 gallon tank. They were so beautiful. Eventually I had problems with disease. The tank was left empty for a while and then when we moved we ended up giving it away. I'm wishing that we'd found a spot to tuck it into the moving truck because I miss having fish and can't afford to buy a whole new set-up right now.
But paint them?
Yes, I can do that.
Fantasies of my future garden always include a fish pond. Fantasies of my some-day studio always include a big tank with goldfish.
So it's not really weird for someone whose inspiration comes from the garden to be painting fish.
But I'm afraid my Instagram followers have forgotten that I paint anything other than goldfish!
I'm moving on to other things but I'm sure I'll come back to fish again. They're like vitamins for my spirit, fortifying me with joy.
I'll be adding some fish to my shops, so keep an eye out if you're interested. (Edit: three of them are now available here, here and here!)
Oh, and there's this, too:
Edit: a revised version of my watercolor goldfish fabric is now available on Spoonflower as part of my Summer Bliss fabric collection.
I guess it was inevitable.
What about you? What images or icons never fail to bring you joy?