Chinese brush painting is one of the earliest art forms known to man. The earliest brush painting is said to be dated as far back as 4000 BC. First though of as a craft, brush painting served a utilitarian purpose of documenting cultural and social examples of the times as well as demonstrating the use of symbolic references in nature. The koi fish is one such symbol created many times over the centuries. A symbol of good fortune, hope, prosperity, and wealth, the koi fish is one of the most painted natural symbols in Chinese brush painting.
I had the privilege of creating a birthday cake for a woman who enjoys reviving the ancient art of Chinese brushwork. Here was my ode to one of the oldest art forms on the planet. The artist is pictured at the left holding the cake server.
The cake was a lemon cake rolled with fondant. The lily and pad were made from gumpaste and the fish were hand painted with Americolor gel food coloring. To achieve that watercolor effect I thinned the gel coloring with vodka. One could use any sort of spirit but vodka works best because it doesn't have a scent. Another alternative would be lemon extract.