Wednesday, December 30, 2015

And More Spots

You might ask why I like painting the spots first. I find they help establish the underlying musculature for me.
While the background cat's spots went more quickly than I expected, this cat is slow-going. She has more and smaller spots. Each one helps define her body and there are no shortcuts.

Saturday, December 26, 2015


As I have mentioned before, stripes and spots take me the longest to paint.
The spots are not the same color and will vary in warmth and intensity depending on the light. Some will have blue highlights to give a sunlit gleam effect. Other spots in the sunlight will have more burnt umber while the shadowed spots are a cooler "black."

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Next big piece

I want to finish one more large piece for my upcoming Safari Club International show in Las Vegas, February 3rd - 6th, 2016. That may seem like a long time away but after a painting is completed, drying time and framing need to be figured in.
After this one I'll work on some smaller pieces for the show.
With a four-booth island, I have 135 linear feet of wall space to fill.

The composition for this painting is the result of numerous considerations; aspect ratio, tail positions, head on background cat and neck on close cat, and many more details to convey a sense of movement.

Thursday, December 17, 2015


Working on the title  -- any ideas?
30" X 45"
Original Oil

In this case, bigger is better.
The painting would not have the same impact if I had kept to the original 24" X 36" size. 
Now I get to pick out the frame to complete the in-your-face impact.  

Sunday, December 13, 2015


I find grass one of the most challenging elements to paint. This time I have already built some grass texture into the lower section of the painting. By varying the colors in the original block-in, I have a framework from which to build. Leaving some of the red gesso showing where the brightest blades will go, the lightest grass will have a halo of vibrant color.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Finishing the body

The sunlit side was a challenge. There are a lot of highlights and adjacent dark areas to give a believable textured 3-D look. Painting a section at a time then moving on to the next was a good method for the beginning. After that it was going back through and seeing what areas needed to be lightened to give that sun reflected feeling.

Adding the blades of grass on his head made me smile (though he isn't.)

Monday, December 7, 2015


As with the second eye (see previous post) and the second ear, I've added subtle detail to the shadowed side of the Cape Buffalo. Some of the lighter areas of the shadow have a blue hue (ultramarine blue, cerulean blue, paynes gray, titanium white, raw umber.) A solid color would appear static and lack depth.
Since the last post I have also added some darks on the sunlit side of this bull.

Friday, December 4, 2015

More head work

With the shadow, I could paint the cape buffalo's shadowed side with no detail. This would be the case in a photo but I wanted to explore the shadow area and add his second eye. Both eyes will stare me down and keep me on target.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

An in-your-face Cape Buffalo

Originally I had planned this piece to be 24" X 36." A fine size. But the more I thought about it, I knew the impact would be substantially greater if I made the painting 30" X 45." That appears like a small change, (it is only 6 inches taller), but the surface area is actually more than 50% larger!

If you look below at the detail photo, you can see I strategically kept the underlying color alive by leaving it resonating next to the areas of heavily covered oil paint.

As most wildlife painters can attest, making the eyes feel alive is a critical element in a successful painting. I've opted to have the sunlit eye looking directly at the viewer so it will appear to follow one around the room.