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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.


Sue (this n that) said...

Hello Mary, it was so interesting working through your painting progress with you! The final painting is lovely. I think the sad eyes are most appropriate, kind of a metaphor for the havoc that is wreaked on these beautiful creatures for their tusks.
Can't wait to see what else you are going to paint :D)

Buttons Thoughts said...

Oh Mary I think it is a beautiful piece of art. You are indeed a painter with talent. Sad eyes captured is a hard to capture. It was nice that you commented somehow I lost a lot of people on blogger. Nice to see you back. Life is good for both of us. We are doing what we were meant to do. HUGS B

Sue (this n that) said...

Hugs and good wishes to you Mary :D) xx