How to paint a large subject over a subtle background?

Post date: 2020-09-22 11:34:45
Views: 8
Painters, help! I want to paint a large (koi fish) over a background (stars, galaxies). I know how to paint each thing separately, but I am just getting back into painting after a long hiatus and need some tips on executing it properly.

I used to paint in acrylics all the time (~20+ yrs. ago), and I'm getting back into it, thanks to some recent bursts of inspiration.

My new vision is a koi or shubunkin fish against a cosmic nighttime sky. (I am inspired by my own shubunkins, who wow me with their stunning beauty every day, but I want to create something a bit abstract as well.)

After making some preliminary studies in oils, watercolors, drawing in various media, etc. I would like to get back into acrylics more. This is what I have on hand and I don't want to get into a ridiculous amount of money for additional supplies. Although I'm historically much more familiar with acrylics, it's been a while since I've done more formal work. I already have a prepared gessoed black canvas, which I can add more black to as a blending agent as I work. I have a healthy stock of brushes and paints, which have all held up rather nicely since my last spurt of creativity.

I know how to execute the nighttime sky effect that I want; I also know how to create the koi/shubunkin fish. I'm having a hard time remembering after all these years which goes first; the cosmic background, or to build it around the koi, which I would start with in that case. My google-fu isn't going very well lately and I want to get my technique right the first time.

Should I outline the koi first and then build the sky around it and finish the koi at the end? Or the other way around? Any tips, suggestions, websites/links, videos, etc. would be more than welcome!
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