The photoshop layout for my butterfly koi fish acrylic painting


our favorite fish from our urban backyard water garden

by Robert Conway

This image is the digital layout I referred to for a commissioned acrylic painting for a past client of mine who lives Singapore, a real koi enthusiast. He is the one who once deemed my paintings to be of an ‘ethereal nature’, I had to look that one up, it means ‘something of an outer worldly nature’ which is fine with me, any departure from the cold, computerized world that we have created is okay. I really have no term for my style, us artist hate to be put in a category so I guess ‘Naturalistic’ painter suits me just fine since it is so open and vague. Anyhow, I rarely do commission work any more I just like to do my own things, it is just a lot more enjoyable for me that way.

This photoshop manipulation deals with my favorite koi fish, the only butterfly koi that lived in our small water garden that my wife had named ‘Solomon’. We always thought he was leader of the whole water garden group, the other fish would always get out of his way when he passed by, then they would follow him around on his daily maneuvers. His long fins and tail gave him kind of a regal stature, like the long flowing robes of royalty as he made his way around his kingdom. In this composition I wanted to convey the feeling like this is Solomon’s own universe, and for all intents and purposes this was his world and as far as he knew there was nothing else except for these giants who from time to time would throw some food on his empire out of regal respect. This kingdom, was a long, deep, elongated, kidney shaped koi pond built by our friend, the late Christopher Noble in a tiny backyard situated in the mile square city of Hoboken New Jersey. This urban environment turned out to be the perfect place to raise pond fish because there were no predators around looking for some late night snacking, it was the perfect oasis to escape from all the craziness going on out there in the streets.

February 15, 2014


8 thoughts on “The photoshop layout for my butterfly koi fish acrylic painting

  1. beautiful layout, Robert, what I like best is the airiness and space at the bottom compared to the dense greens elsewhere.
    It might be fun to experiment with some wet in wet underpainting first, in those places where the reflections ripple. I imagine with your technique you will painstakingly reproduce the spontaneous quality of those ripples in the middle right and to the edge a bit. It is great that you have the patience and skill to do this, just wondering what would happen if you approached the water a bit wateryer. 🙂
    Sarah, (who is at the moment working on a series of watercolours and facing similar challenges).

    • thank you Sarah, ha yes painstakingly reproduce is a familiar song (remember “The Tighten Up by Archie Bell and the Drells?). you are my mentor when it comes to letting it all hang loose. someday I am going to drop everything and go all Jackson Pollock. great to hear from you and have a happy holiday season. – robert

      • Well, Jackson Pollack might be a little too far toward the other side!
        The loosening up and letting go thing has been my mantra for decades, and is inevitably the advice other artists give me whenever they see my work. So I guess we ‘teach’ the kind of thing we most have to learn ourselves. Wishing you a wonderful warm holiday season too. cheers, Sarah

        • oh that is a good one Sarah, you are inspiring me to possibly trying to do a little plein air painting down the road, maybe in the spring. and when I say little i mean a really small canvas so maybe I can finish it. cheers, robert.

  2. Hello Robert,
    Thank you for liking Andrew’s latest post.
    We really like your work and your comments about your journey, it has a fresh quality.
    Andrew shares a similar working background with you, understanding the trials ..
    Keep up the good work!

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