Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Second Attempt at a Grizzly Bear

The first grizzly bear had an accident with my airbrush which decided to splutter and spit blobs of paint out. The result was a bear that looked like he had a bad case of measles.
I decided to paint him this time using acrylic on prepared mdf board.
I haven't got very far yet as I've had a busy few weeks.
My youngest son graduates tomorrow and the ceremony is in London at the Royal Albert Hall.
My solo exhibition starts on the 3rd of November and I have to deliver everything to the venue next Monday and then I'm demonstrating at Art Materials Live at the NEC for four days in November.
Plus I have to fit in some blood tests and an opticians visit in the next couple of weeks. However once I get to the middle of November I have nothing else planned for the rest of the year so should return to posting on a more regular basis.

Friday, October 05, 2012

Do You Feel More Emotionally Attached to a Painting if You have Seen the Animal in its Environment?

.I'm currently working on a grizzly bear, mixed media on Arches hot press watercolour paper

Whilst on holiday in Canada I was lucky enough to see grizzly bears in the wild although not close enough to get good photographs. However a couple of days after seeing them in the wild we visited the British Columbia wildlife park. They had two young grizzly bears, a brother and sister who had arrived at the park when their mother was killed. I took a lot of photographs of the bears interacting and doing their own thing. Eventually I want to paint a large picture of them play fighting.
As I've never painted a bear I decided to start with one bear in a straight forward pose.
I was drawn to this photo both because of the bears expression and the lighting.
I'm not planning on adding a background although I might airbrush some blurry foliage later.

As I'm working on the bear I can remember the details of the day, but more than that I can picture the wild grizzlies in their natural environment. I certainly have a stronger emotional attachment to this painting than some of my others.
I had already seen grizzlies in captivity and one distant view of a wild bear on previous trips to Canada but this was the first time I'd watched one for quite a long time behaving in a totally natural manner which to a greater or lesser extent captive animals don't.
It's leading me to think that not only should I use my own reference material but in order to give something of myself to the work perhaps I should only draw or paint animals or birds I have seen in the wild.
That doesn't mean I'll never paint another tiger or snow leopard but perhaps less often than in the past.

Monday, October 01, 2012

Same Wolf, Different Technique

I painted this wolf recently using a mixed media technique and although it turned out reasonably well it wasn't quite what I'd wanted to achieve.
One of my favourite wildlife artists is Carl Brenders who uses a technique which includes the use of airbrush.
My airbrush was hiding in a dark corner of the attic so I rescued it, brushed off the cobwebs and tried to use it. Having been ignored for so long it flatly refused to allow any paint through the nozzle. However several hours of coaxing, bullying and finally taking it to bits restored function.
I started by painting in some of the dark fur in sepia watercolour then blocking in some colour using the airbrush. The next step was starting to paint in the fur using gouache which is the stage I'm currently working on.
I'm not sure how much longer I can resist completing the eyes.