Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Fox Play, work in progress 3.

This is where I'm at right now in this painting. And the actual painting is larger than this, I've been scanning portions of it because my camera is in the house and I don't want to go get it. At some point today, I'll take a photo of this and you can see the entire thing. It's actual size is 11X14 inches.

I've got a z composition going on in here now, your eye is lead into the picture by the grey dirt at the front of the fox hole, then it goes up the bank and across the other fox.

To the left of center in the painting, is going to be a center of interest and it will be formed by the lightest lights and the darkest darks in the painting. It's going to be kind of a straight line going down from the fox on top, to the strong colors on the bottom fox.

I'm planning for the main focal point of the entire painting, to be the expression on the face of the bottom fox. She knows from experience, her brother is likely to be up there getting ready to pounce on her, but she isn't sure. Her ears are listening as hard as they can to hear him and she's ready to play the game of pounce and wrestle.

When I get to this stage of painting, the painting itself takes over and I don't need to look at my reference photos any longer. It seems the painting tells me what it wants to become. There are times when I stare at it for a long time before I see my next step, other times I can work away for an hour before I have to stop and take stock again.

I want my animals to look "real" but I also want them to look like animals in a painting, not animals in a photo. I want them to have more personality than the photo, and more "life" to them. So I'll make expression on their faces by positioning their eyes, flattening their ears, exaggerating the angles of their feet or the tension in their bodies...Whatever it takes to make them seem more interesting and more lifelike.

It helps to have seen these guys actually playing in the wild. You have first hand experience of what they do and how they do it. You feel the intensity of their play and the strength of their interactions with each other.