Making Lifelike 3D Aquariums With Paint Cast In Resin

Don’t worry, these aren’t real fish. They are meticulous
paintings cast in resin. These realistic aquarium scenes are painted and poured
by hand, layer by layer. They’re made by Lillian Lee and her team at Serene Life
Art, a studio in China. That layering to create
the illusion of depth relies on stereopsis, also
known as binocular vision. When your eyes combine the differences between each layer in your brain, it creates the illusion of more depth than there actually is. This kind of 3D resin
painting can be traced back to Japanese artist Riusuke Fukahori. The most important part of the technique? Planning how the fish’s
anatomy will be split into each layer. So how do they make these
pieces come to life? It can be created in a bowl, a
bamboo box, or pendant molds. Once a container has been
picked for a painting, the base layer is poured using
a mix of resin and epoxy. After the first layer of
resin dries completely, the first layer of paint is added. Then the next layer of resin is poured, and the process is
repeated multiple times. Koi fish are popular in Lillian’s work because she took care of them for 12 years before painting them. Typically, making one koi fish takes six to eight
layers of painted resin. The first layer includes
the fins and the body. Then comes the tail and the eyes. The scales and body patterns are also painted between these layers, and the dorsal fin completes the koi fish. Sometimes, pebbles, twigs, and even coins can be added between the layers. 3D resin painting takes a lot of patience. Only one layer can be painted each day because resin can take
eight to 12 hours to dry. A small piece can take
about a week to make, but finishing a larger painting
can take up to a month. But Lillian’s work shows
that patience is a virtue.


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