The Blue Fish – Shadow exercise.

To help me really consolidate my new understanding of painting shadows I painted a blue fish today as an exercise.  The idea is to really make use of this new way I’ve learned to reduce the strength of a colour as it get’s darker.  When I first tried this I was using orange to drop the strength (saturation) of the blue colour (since orange is the opposite to blue).  However, orange has a very bright natural tone and it kept lightening my tone too much so I used an orangy brown to drop the colour strength of the blue and that worked really well giving me a bluey-black colour.

I used a strong midtone background to my fish so that I would have to work to get the fish to show – creating much lighter areas and much darker areas.

It was a fun little exercise.   🙂

Here’s the felt-tip doodle I based this exercise on:

Felt tip pen sketch of fish

This is my plain mid-tone background:


And here’s the competed exercise:

BlueFish_FIN_WEBIt was painted in gouach but I tried to use the colour a bit more like watercolour, especially near the top.  I could have got a similar effect using white gouach but I though that the interesting mottled watercolour effects suited a watery subject.  What I was aiming for was to have a fish which looks like it’s local colour is the same as teh background, so that it’s shape is picked out only by shadows and highlights.  I think it’s almost there.


2 thoughts on “The Blue Fish – Shadow exercise.

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