A subject I have returned to time and time again is the Fox. I love their eyes ,and the intelligence in their faces . I like to capture the characteristics of a particular animal,sometimes they don't appear until the piece is finished sometimes just one eye shows me who they are. So after sketching the fox I always start on the eye
You need to really look at the eye you are painting, see all the colours in there and add them very carefully. I use very good quality small brushes that come to a very sharp point. You really need to know your brushes and control the amount of water you use. There are no shot cuts to practice, the more you do, the more you will improve. I like to add some blue to reflect the sky . You see the whole world in just one eye sometimes And I add and take away very carefully until I feel that eye can really see. If it goes so badly wrong then have another go , I can't stress enough how much you need to study what you want to paint and see the little differences in colour and tone.
Then I have to have a break before I can carry on with the other eye, more often than not one eye will be better than the other. As artists we are striving for perfection, and by that I don't mean a complete copy of a photograph ,for me perfection is the true essence of the fox looking out at me, I don't think we are ever truly satisfied, but the goal keeps me painting and I love to paint.
Now my eyes are done I need to navigate around the face. Laying colour on colour and trying to work out the puzzle of what works where. As I have painted more and more I have my favourite colours, ones that I like to use. I also have my techniques I rarely paint in the conventional way, I tend to drop colour onto damp areas. Watercolour is magic and the more you use it the more you find it does.
The nose needs to work too , and as I become more engrossed myself in my work, I forget to take pictures. I need to make decisions . Will there be a background, how do I fade the fox into the picture, how much or how little more do I really need to paint. Painting is totally absorbing. When it goes well it is the best feeling in the world when it goes badly I feel quite down for a while. But when you are striving for a goal it isn't easy . It wouldn't keep me coming back for more if it was.