60 x 48 inches | oil finger painting on canvas
In less than a foot of water, a koi collective peruse large round mossy rocks for nibbles, their eyes focused on the pond visitor—the viewer—you. The central fish has a smiley expression, hoping for a lucky breadcrumb to fall his way. This piece I consider to be a particularly thick and meditative finger painting.
For the last ten years, koi have been my therapy subject. Painting these carp feels as naturally soothing as taking a warm bath. Their unusual markings, the subtle soft disturbances they make in the water, are very much what thick oil paint already looks like. I just ever so subtly nudge the paint and the whole scene seems to ripple into place.
When I was growing up in the Pacific Northwest, our driveway would fill up with huge rain puddles, and I would always be looking into them, hoping, hoping to see a fish. Inside the house on rainy afternoons, I would lay mirrors down on the carpet and pretend they were puddles full of fish.
And, although my mom told me not to do this to the goldfish swimming in our big fish tank, I would take one out for a few seconds to pet it. I had a habit of naming all of my goldfish Happy-Birthday-To-You.
Watching real koi swim around in ponds fills me with almost unbearable joy. Their fat little bodies—and piggish appetites are so mesmerizing. They are such happy, plump animals feeling so safe under the water. They look like living art. One of my goals is to keep perfecting this subject with finger painting. My dream is to have my own pond, where the koi will be for me what Monet’s water lilies were to him.