Dance of the Koi

The koi live in a pond and never go anywhere.  For “Saturday night out” the koi just swim around and visit all their usual friends.  Yet the permutations of koi patterning seem endless.  They are always arranging themselves into new and lively forms.

They are like a dance company that has a gazillion imaginative ideas.  Indeed, show me the choreographer who can match the impressive spectacles of the wonderful koi.

the lines that come from every direction

The koi impact the world in such beautiful ways.  Their whiskers arrive first and water slides past to meet with the often open koi mouth (they seem to be constantly hungry).  The sleek koi sides glide through the shifting planes of blue.  Oh, and the way that the water’s surface slaps the air, continually presenting new planar surfaces to the atmosphere (as the koi unsettle it, shifting position always with swift swimming).  It’s all so wonderful.

And my pencil tries to follow all these complicated agitations of water and watery beasts.

Color Charting the Mind

One advice I would offer to people learning to draw would be to experiment with the materials.  Drawing is a separate skill from mixing colors or from knowing how to use a particular artist’s material — colored pencils in the example above.

You can separate out the tasks, like color mixing, and gain mastery of the parts in ways that prove helpful later when tackling a whole drawing.  For color I think you should mix everything with everything.  Ignore the advice that says “only do this” or “only do that” and instead just go crazy.  Especially ignore the “never” advice.

Are you never supposed to mix more than two colors together?  Mix five together — or ten — more more.  (Try not to wear a hole through the paper with all that rubbing.)

The main thing about color and color mixing is simply to notice what happens.  Be very alert to the visual properties of whatever mixing you do.  How does mixture or juxtaposition change the character of the colors?  Particularly important is how does the melange of colors make you feel?   Color can by-pass reason and zip right straight into your head, affecting your mood.  Learn not only what combinations create this or that color, but what combinations create this or that emotion.

Someday, then, the artistic problem becomes more interesting:  how to mix the feelings ….