I create artwork that highlights the calming effect of nature to lower stress, increase happiness and bring a sense of joy and connection to other people. 
 
Being Koi is one such piece of art. I have always been drawn to the beauty and grace of these fish as they glide through the water with their gorgeous, almost feathery fins swirling along. I find them mesmerizing. When I am at my most anxious, watching them can calm me in a way few other things can. 
 
Praise for Being Koi:
 
"I feel Joy and Happiness from your art. Relaxed and happy from the fish. Your art improved my life by having me stop and 
remember life is full of joy; you just have to stop and look for it." - Nickie, Colorado
 
"I immediately felt relaxed and in a better mood." Sharon, Texas
 
"I love this piece. It's very soothing and uses great colors. I like the unique shape. I've always loved your fish. You did something similar to this in stained glass that I loved. I could see this in multiples as well." Heidi, Pennsylvania
 
"I love asian symbols/arts so I really like this. Its very peaceful to me." Tracy, Hawaii
 
"I so love the koi. The colors. The flow. It's lovely." Ricki, Colorado
 
"I love your work Jenny! It has great detail, perspective, light. It's obviously professional. I like the whimsy and expert technique." Bernadette, Colorado
 
The Process of creating this mixed media artwork is described below:
1. The first step in almost everything I do is to research. I referenced photos and illustrations of koi and lilies in order to become more familiar with my subject matter.
 
2. Next, I drew simple sketches to determine the overall composition of the artwork.
 
3. I drew the fish, lilipads and flowers by hand on plain paper to get the general shape. Details came later.
 
 
4. Then I cut them out to create pattern pieces.
 
5. I work on lightweight, wooden "canvases" that I build myself. Here, I have taped my pattern peices onto the wooden canvas to determine where each element would reside.
 
6. Because I like my images to wrap around the surface, I had to adjust my shapes to make it look realistic, and tape the pattern peices around the edges.
 
7. I traced around these pattern peices with pencil. I was lucky to have another wooden canvas of the same size to transfer them onto - it's super important to keep things organized when you're working with so many little pieces.
 
8. I experimented with stains on a scrap peice of wood before applying them to my artwork.
 
9. Then I proceeded to stain the water areas blue. I like to layer up my colors. A green glaze covered the water area later.
 
10. I used a transclucent green stain where the lilipads would be placed. Next, I used orange water-soluble oil paint to cover the areas that would be the fish, and white for the water lilies.
 
11. Standard brown wood stain worked well to give a natural looking shadow.
 
12. Next it was time for the art paper. I traced around my pattern pieces, making modifications as needed, and cut out beautiful papers for the upper layers.
 
13. As I mentioned, this is a subject matter I have long been interested in. Years ago I worked in Stained Glass. The design process is similar in that I'm still starting with a pattern I drew myself. I was able to pull out my old Stained Glass pattern that I drew years ago, and repurpose it for the water lilies.
 
14. I referenced the Stained Glass Pattern to fit the lily petals together like a puzzle.
 
15. I cut out each individual scale for the three fish. For one of the fish, I even painted the round side of each piece of paper with a shimmery paint (see detail in next photo).
 
16. I glued down each individual scale. I later glued the dorsal fins down right on top of the scales, creating even more texture.
Here you can see something else that I failed to get a photo of in action: I used a wood burining tool to burn the edges of the water lily papers. This gave them a more natural look.
 
17. I put a coat of Modge Podge over the entire peice to give it a uniform low-gloss finish. Then I used the water-solutble oil paints to add details. The black dotted ouline areas are a nod to traditional Japanese block prints. I like to reference a familiar art technique when I can, while still using my own process.
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