It has been a lovely few weeks welcoming people to my home and showing them my work. I have met some very interesting people, some artists , some just interested in art and some dragged along by their partners! But all lovely and very complimentary ( what they said as they drove home may have been a different story!) . But while all this goes on I bring my paints and paper into the kitchen and try to get some painting done, I am leaving the commissions to next week when I can give things my full attention so I have enjoyed revisiting some familiar subjects , hares, woodpeckers, bees and foxes
I thought you might be interested to see how I go about trying to paint a fox leaping from a stream so here goes
1. I sketch out my fox using reference photos to get the proportions right, I sketch as lightly as I can as I like to rub off the pencil marks at the end ( or as many of them as I can).
2. I like to get the head as detailed as I can so I use more close up photos for that I want his eye to be 'right' I want him to fade off the painting in a blur, but I want the viewer to focus on the head . I like to have a realistic part of the painting and then leave something to the viewers imagination
3.So I start with the head, looking where the light hits the eye and the nose, and careful to paint the yellows and reds of the fur so that there is one body and not separate parts . It's a painting where you need to keep going and keep looking, there are lights and darks everywhere, the muscles , the movement need to look convincing.
4.I am busily moving down the body, I often have more than one brush on the go . I use yellow ochre, Windsor yellow, burnt sienna, cadmium orange in various combinations. I splash clean water on the colours too to see what happens.It is all good fun! The front legs need to look convincing too , there are always more colours in them than you think, I use a mixture of cadmium red and cobalt blue, and some cerulean blue too ( one of my favourite colours so it needs to make an appearance somewhere! )
5. Now the fun really starts , I can be a lot looser and I play around with splatters and splashes. I spray the paper and rub off paint where I don't like it. I have to keep standing back and seeing what it looks like ,adding bits here and taking bits away there . I want the appearance of water, and movement .So I need to paint and use the brushes the way I imagine the fox leaps. Some of what is in this painting will stay and some will go , I can play around with the image all afternoon
The skill is knowing when to stop !!!