Koi and the Insanity of Chaos | Nature Watercolors by Soon Warren

Chances are you’ve taken a quarter and placed it into a vending box of fish food, to toss the little beige pellets into nearby water and feed a group of carp, also known as koi fish. I have, countless times. There’s something special about connecting with animals, even fish, perhaps especially fish, because they live so mysteriously under the water’s surface; we don’t normally get to interact with them as we do with land creatures. It’s fun, and yet a little disturbing, when so many come to the feeding dock that they’re swimming over top of each other, out of the water even, to get a nibble. It’s slightly gross and yet beautiful at the same time.

Feeding Time III by Soon Warren

Feeding Time III (transparent watercolor on paper, 22×30) by Soon Y. Warren (www.soonwarren.com)

I was in Florida last year, at a mini-golf course in Panama City Beach, waiting for my family to finish their round through the obstacle courses and standing in the shade by the water. There were no fish where I was leaning against the rail, but eventually a single carp swam up and circled around. Shortly after, another one joined the first. I expected a flurry of fish to come, but only the two remained and it was beautiful and symbolic, to me. It reminded me of the saying that “there’s more than one fish in the ocean,” and I thought about how yes, there are more fish, but sometimes the right two find each other. It was sweet; and I thank you for letting me share that moment. If you’d like to see what I saw, scroll down; I’ve shared a couple of photos that I snapped.

Feeding Time by Soon Warren

Feeding Time (transparent watercolor on paper, 30×22) by Soon Y. Warren

But that’s my story. I’ve asked Soon Y. Warren, whose paintings are featured here, to tell me a little about Feeding Time and Feeding Time III. “To calm my insanity of chaos, I paint to revive fond memories,” she says. “Painting the koi pond series gives me an extension of visiting a place where I replenish my heart and soul. The pond gives me tranquility and quietness–a fleeting moment of reflection of nature in water and the energy of koi, fervent for food but cunningly graceful. I love the freedom of never-ending quiet movement.

“To give visual interest in these paintings, I spend a significant amount of time considering the composition. The most challenging process is to highlight the moving water and to free my brushstrokes in the process. However, the most important thing to do is jump-start into the painting. It is surprising how easy and simple it is to paint the water and reflections. The painting guides me to what to do next (like this quote? Tweet it!). The reflection of surrounding water and undefined koi give the painting unstructured chaos. And I take this to my advantage of freeform, to go with the flow with my brushstrokes to complete the painting. When I paint a koi pond, I see and feel a glimpse of the place I love.” ~Soon Y. Warren

How beautiful! I love that Soon and I share the same love of koi. And if you share the same love of her watercolors, you’ll want to take advantage of this revised and expanded version of her book, Painting Vibrant Flowers in Watercolor. It features 25 step-by-step demonstrations, two of which are unique to this edition.

Warm regards,
Cherie Haas, online editor**Free download: Easy Acrylic Painting Techniques To Try Today!
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Single koi fish swimming

Here’s the first koi that appeared as I waited.

Two carp

And, the second one’s arrival…I don’t know why I love these two photos together so much; but I hope you appreciate their simplicity and beauty.


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