Painting a Rainbow Trout in Clear Stream

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I have been wanting to do an art demonstration of my painting process for some time now. Usually I get so wrapped up with the painting itself that I forget to record each step. This painting depicting a rainbow trout in clear stream rising for fly is typical of my style and approach towards creating these kinds of paintings about fishing. Although, this isn't exactly how every piece comes together here's what went into completing this one:

Step one, drawing and the block in. I toned the canvas on this painting in red to give me a nice ground which helps make colors pop and provides a mid range value to start with. When looking into a clear stream there is often a very limited value range and trout tend to blend in nicely. When fly-fishing a stream stalking wily trout it is often easiest to look for their shadows rather than try to pick them out in the usual places.

Step two, laying out some color and keying the painting to what I am looking for. I like to push colors so getting them to balance sometimes takes awhile.

Step three, pretty much have it reading right and looking somewhat believable. This was kind of what I was going for but it just isn't working for me. Other than the colors I find it boring and contrived, I want it looser and a little more interesting. When I find myself at this juncture in a painting that isn't working I like to break it then see if I can make it into something worthwhile.

Step four, breaking the painting. If the piece isn't speaking to me I take drastic measures and apply a notan study or will just trash one section I do not like and then try to fix it. I try not to plan things too tightly because I like a certain amount of spontaneity and less obvious sections to keep myself and the viewer interested.

Step five added some more movement to the water and detail to the trout. I am liking the color variations, slighter shifts in value and shapes. Also the contrast of cooler and warmer colors make it more interesting

Finished painting, added some highlights to the rocks, made the water reflections a little more transparent which adds some clarity and made the trout a little more camouflaged as it would be while basking in the sun. Also added just a quick brushstroke for a fly. Just as an indication with no real detail and some sunlit rays on the rocks. Hope you like it, tight lines and happy painting!

"Sipping in sunlight" Rainbow Trout painting. 18x24 acrylic on canvas.



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