My latest thing is painting animals especially ones I know. I have cats myself and they have the quirkiest personalities, so a great deal of time goes into photographing them for studies to work from as well as trying to recreate their nature into the finished artworks. Unfortunately they don’t stay still long enough to paint from life, well not in the positions I require, which does not include sleeping curled up in a ball, well not yet anyway!
I find cat treats help a lot, it keeps them inspired to hang around longer for the portrait session and I can get some good photos in while they’re paying attention
Just lately people who I haven’t met before have been asking me what Im working on and things like what style I work in with my art and Ive been hesitant in describing it mainly because Ive been in a development stage, not sure myself what it was as what I saw in my head wasn’t what was coming out until now that is! Yes I do other stuff but like other artists Im always evolving and moving onto other things.
There is so much work to do when trying to develop a new look and this time has been years in the making.
Ive worked with animals before and Ive done similar styles before, but the type of finish I wanted, well it required a lot more play before I could put my finger on exactly what products I wanted to use and what style suited the look I needed to get out of my head and onto canvas. Im happy to say I have finally worked it out. You can see my favourite piece so far nonchalance here.
This post is about painting animals however so enough about me and what Im doing with my animal paintings, lest discuss working with the animals themselves and how to make their portraits just that little bit better.
When painting animals its best to work from photos as they don’t tend to want to stay still or look this way…that way…up here or so on. I feel knowing the animal is best as you can work some of their individual personality into the painting too but a series of photographs will help if this isn’t possible, try to not just work from one image though if at all possible.
Also being aware of which way their fur lies (If they’re furry of course!) helps a lot for a realistic interpretation, as fur that doesn’t lie naturally can be as bad as painting someone’s hair on like a wig on back to front, its just not a good look
This is a good site animal portraits to look at if you are thinking of real life pet portraiture, they show you how to paint animals in oils step by step.
Posted: Sunday 21 March 2010