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Thursday, June 4, 2015


I have decided my elephant painting is done.  I'm not entirely happy with it.  I like the elephant but not the lions so much.  But I can't seem to make it better so I'm moving on to another painting.  I have three more that are nearly finished.

Here is my process.  Like the old masters I start with a contrast painting that is a simple drawing of  light and dark.  I learned from this painting that I should incorporate a contour drawing into that.  I think that will help me with composition and depth.

I had just finished reading Jodi Picoult's book Leaving Time.  If you have read her books you will know she picks a societal problem and spins a tale around that.  In this book it was elephants.  They are being slaughtered for their tusks and if this isn't stopped they will be extinct in the not so distant future.  They are fabulous creatures that have many wonderful traits.  Yes, they really do never forget.  And as mothers they put humans to shame.  I really enjoyed painting this.  Perhaps my fascination with the elephant is why I neglected my lions?

Reference Photo

The painting above took about two hours.  I knew at this point I had a painting that would look good simply because the photograph was a good one.

After adding the second lion I added color.  I actually like these lions better than the ones in the finished product.

I used a glazing medium to get some purple on the elephant.  I don't know why but just about everyone agrees that purple and elephants go together.

More contrast.

The elephant is floating.  I struggle with this for awhile and never really solve the problem.

Too Dark

Too Light

I gave up!  The elephant looks kinda sad but I do like the eyes.  I hope to learn how to portray emotion in my future paintings.  I missed the mark here but that's okay.  It is all a process.

Friday, April 24, 2015

More Paintings!

Once I just about complete a painting I start a new one.  I never know how long it will take as I get stuck one a painting and it just takes time to get unstuck and move on.  If it isn't enjoyable then that is reflected in the painting.

This is the first night  I started it.  Below is the reference photo.

Above I added the second lion then added some color.  Below I used a glaze for the first time!  A glaze is just that, a thin coat of paint.  I wanted the purple in the background for the elephant.

Last night I started with the above and I worked on the lions and started adding purple to the elephant.  My teacher tells me the elephant looks like he is removed from the picture.  When I put the "dust" on the picture I think that will cure the problem.  There is still much to do but I KNOW what to do so it won't take as long.

Thursday, April 23, 2015


Running Fox has been finished for some time but I haven't posted him because I wasn't sure he was truly done.  I thought maybe I  might grab a brush and touch something up a bit that was bothering me.  Turns out what bothered me was his eye.  You know the one that isn't quite right.  I decided to leave it alone because it is like the picture.

Original Picture of Running Fox

The goal was to paint this picture and make it look like what it is.  I think I succeeded.  In the future I will not confine my creative inner self and will take liberties as I feel the need.  But for now I am happy to present to you my very first painting of an animal.

Running Fox
I can already see several rookie mistakes in him!  Moving forward I've learned to exaggerate the contours to make the painting come alive and give depth.  His face would not look so flat if I would add some lines on the side of his snout.  Wait!  I said I was finished!

Next up are portraits of my neighbors dogs and an elephant charging two lions.  I'm having fun!