When we went to Hawaii last year, I took hundreds of photos of the koi ponds. It is one of the MOST relaxing pastimes…just sitting and watching those koi’s play. I did only one sketch of them in the time we were there, but I took  hundreds of photos and for the rest of the time, I just stared at them.

I’m on the “search” lately, not knowing exactly where I should go art wise. There so many different directions that give me joy and I’d like to continue doing them all, but I would also like to accelerate in a specific field…not be so all over the place as I am currently. As the weather is a bit bad lately and it is raining a lot, chances to go and do plein air are scarce.  I was looking through my Hawaii albummorning and came across these koi photos and the joy of sitting there and watching them(in the SUN!!) had me take them all to the atelier. This is my latest. I want to do some koi paintings, eventually in oil, but first some studies in watercolor, which to me is a far more difficult medium than oil.

Also posted on Watermarks.

All these studies done in pen and watercolor on Fabriano Artistico watercolor paper, CP, 18x26cm.

…koi study in watercolor 7…

A prerequisite for the koi paintings, is that I want movement in the paintings. So I tried in all of the watercolor studies to get movement. These studies are of course done from photographs, something I strurggle with doing, because I get caught up in a tight clenching mode and lose all spontaneity. So I decided to put my earphones on and I listened to Beethovens piano concerto nos 4 and 5 and Piano a la Roque d’Antheron with works by Lizt, Chopin Rachmaninoffto keep me “allegretto and crecsendo“. I think it did work, because looking at these studies, they almost come across as messy and I certainly hope not “tight”, except maybe for number three(koi watercolor 2) which was before I started listening to the music. You’ll clearly see that I still drew and painted “fishy by fishy”.  I did 7 studies, and like with everything else…I started getting better. but now I’m tired of watercolor and going to start doing the koi in oil…let’s say a little serie of koi in oils.

…koi study in watercolor 4…

…koi study in watercolor 2…


Now I also need to find a place where I can really study them…their movements( a year ago is too long to remember those kinds of details), their behavior, their mischief and play and capture that onto live sketches. then come back to the studio and NOT procrastinate again, like I’m SO famous for, but paint them immediately.

So, if you’re interested in seeing these koi develop..remember to stop by again!

..à bientôt..


17 thoughts on “Koi studies in watercolor

  1. Love these Ronell. I am so impressed by the movement you achieved of fish AND water. Watercolor seems like the perfect medium for your “fishy,” but it will be fun to see what you do in oil! Keep painting!!

  2. I agree with Shirley, you surely got motion in both the fish and water. I love those squiggly little Koi of yours–what a delightful time you must have had, watching them, Ronell.


  3. I seem to remember seeing one of your loi paintings..these are so beautiful..peaceful just to look at them Ronell..

    You are so blessed with talent.

  4. Ek lief hierdie skilderye! Lig…(weet nou nie hoe om myself uit te druk nie!)…en pragtige kleure! Toe ek hierbo lees sien ek hoe sit jy daar in jou cozy ateljee met n beker van daai lekker koffie van jou! Wens nou sommer vanmôre ek kon jou ‘join!’…dis vriespunt koud hier…brrrrr…..

  5. Having done the same thing, sitting beside a koi pond and becoming mesmerized by their movements, I think you have captured their glides and rolls and the way they sometimes peep out of the water to see if you’re offering a treat.

    It’ll be interesting to see what you do with oils and whether you can capture the moment with what I see as a heavy medium. I like the watercolors.

  6. Ronell, I know how hard koi are to capture on paper while you’re watching them…they are truly fascinating to see. I think you have really captured their movement well. Can’t wait to see how you do them with the oils…although wc is my love, so you’ll have to go far to top this. Have you ever seen the koi that Nicholas Simmons does? I watched a DVD of him painting them and it was amazing. Good luck with your new project.

  7. Gorgeous! Your spontaneous marks really do give the sense of their fluid movements. I’m very much looking forward to seeing them in oil. Enjoy!

  8. Hi Ronell, I think from all your responses you have hit the mark. Just adore these. Love the patterns the koi make, and yes the movement.
    I too am looking for where I’m headed. It helps when I know others are searching too. XXE

  9. Gosh, I missed seeing these… Fabulous movement, fishy shapes and water Ronell, will be interesting to see how you develop them. Have a wonderful break in the meantime!

  10. These sketches are impressive! Wow! You can really see them move, and the movement of water too! Well done! I’m looking forward to seeing them in oil!

Tthank you for your visit and comment, II appreciate it!

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