Fridays are for me!

Fridays are for me!

I have been busy this week , sorting out the aftermath of open studios and getting to grips with a list of commissions that are on my 'to do' list. But Friday's they are different, I save them for me, I need to have some 'me' time, when I can paint something that has really caught my eye. I wanted to paint an animal ( no surprise there) and this cheetah caught my eye on 'Pixabay' here he is in 5 steps .... 

1. I draw the image, and think about the focus, I want his eyes to stand out I want him to fade away, the drawing is a rehearsal for the main act, it means I can really think about what I am going to do. I mask out the whiskers with masking fluid.Then I can start, always with the eyes, seeing where the light is, using very small brushes and eeking out every detail I can....



2. The eyes take me a long time , I want there to be light in the eyes, I want the colours to sing out. I Have spent more time recently studying the eye in the socket, the surrounding of the eye , so it sits in reality and looks out at you.



3.I work on the nose next trying to make that realistic and getting the correct tones in the painting. Then I get out my larger brushes and step back, I need to look at what I am doing and note where the lighter tones are contrasted with the darker tones .If you imagine the painting radiates from the eyes then that is my plan, and it corresponds with my concentration levels. I get more slap dash as the painting develops



4. Cheetahs and tigers are tricky because of all the markings, the markings  need to sit 'in' the fur so they need to be added when the paint is still wet. It takes some doing but I sort of load my brush with the colour and drop it into the work.



5. Finally the last stage and this can take a while I want the edges to fade away but not to look too much like a head floating in mid air. I use big strokes of my brush, I spray the paper and even run it under a cold tap. I add and take away for some time until I am happy, I may even leave it for several hours and the come back and see if I need to add or take away anything else. Knowing when it's done can be very tricky, just trust your instincts and the more you do the more confident you will be at knowing when to stop.



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Rachel, can you share how you do the white whiskers of animals ?


Hi Rachel
Very keen to know what colours you use for his fur. I tried Quinn gold and yellow ochre but flat and lifeless

Lesley Evangelides

Another beautiful piece I love the eyes


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