I had a big piece of canvas draped over an empty stretcher for a long time. Well, finally got the staple gun loaded and got to work. The canvas was stretched, the idea was laying there ready to begin, and I’ve begun work on the last large koi painting of the season. I know that I’ll want to do others, maybe next year or a few years hence, but for now I’m in finishing mode. All the koi are coming up to the surface — so to speak — getting their last layers of paint. The pond will be stocked. The fish can just swim. And afterwards I’ll begin a new series on some other topic.
The last koi picture has perhaps some added allure for me. Call it the finale. Accordingly, for me, this canvas feels most like a dip in the water. The innate beauty of the color blue captivates me now while I work. This picture is one in which the water and its fluidity will provide the central theme. Added to the indulgent pleasure of the motif, I’m using acrylic paint this time so that the work goes much faster. Usually I love oil for the exact opposite reason — its slowness, its nuance — but I’m dolloping large puddles of color, pushing loaded brushes at this canvas, letting the shapes happen fast, thinking and reacting in one gesture. It’s really a lot like swimming — which seems just about right.
The painting is still new, lots of work ahead. It sits at the end of a long gallery of fellow fish. It’s my delight to see in the morning. It reminds me why I first began painting. This big pond will, I hope, make the spectator feel as free a fish! Oh, may we truly know the delight of life on our blue planet.