Thursday, April 03, 2008


As promised to the attendees of my art class on Oriana, here’s the Asiatic lion (called Chandra) piece we worked on in gouache. This was an exercise in building up layers of colour to create fur and the depth within it. The inspiration for this piece was the way Chandra’s fur waved, curled and fell over his neck; so spend time to take note of the different directions of the fur, how it falls and the colours and tone of light and dark that are there too.
The original was on an A3 board, so don’t limit your movement of brush strokes by painting this too small. Work to a size that you are comfortable with and adjust your approach to the piece accordingly. Don’t work to a large scale and expect to create a detailed careful piece in an hour or so. And remember that a painting can look pretty rubbish and scrappy for 80% of the time it takes to paint it… very often it’s the last 20% of time and application that brings the whole piece together and makes it look like something you set out to achieve.

Block in the dark, mid-tone and light areas with a good layer of colour, so that it covers the paper. Think more emulsion paint coverage rather than watercolour thinness. Using an old brush apply the colour, splaying the bristles drawing the paint thinly over your blocked in areas, working up from dark tones to lighter tones in successive ‘layers’. Use a thinner paint mix for this stage; experiment with how thick or thin you need the paint to make it work for you. You need the paint to flow easily off the bristle tips. Hold your brush at a high angle so that you are just letting the bristle tips touch the surface very lightly. As you are laying the colour down, remember to think not only of the colours but the light and darkness of the fur. If you need help determining these areas, try squinting at the subject to get an image without details; by doing this, what you see should just be more about colour and tone.

If you are having problems… please send me a message via my guestbook and I’ll reply as soon as I can.

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