Monday, 12 May 2014

NEW tiger painting

This is the very early stages of my latest painting. Here I have mapped out my composition and have sketched in the tigers with my paintbrush, thus far keeping a loose approach in case I want to alter anything!

The 'white' of the picture will act as the light path through the scene, this will stay as close to the original white of the paper as possible without interference. I have painted the tiger stripes to mirror some of the shaping in the picture as they would in the wild. The natural camouflage for a tiger is imperative to it's survival, allowing it to stalk prey in long grasses successfully and hide when necessary. The initial background wash faintly indicates further back trees and surround, in areas this will also be painted upon with stronger colour and detailing. The final picture may look like it was painted with a limited colour range however I may use more colours where necessary, with a dynamic back-lit halo around the tigers! I am hoping to achieve a good depth of field in the picture, with some strong visible detailing and areas of subtle persuasion for your mind to complete the scene :) I hope you enjoy following! Jules

Saturday, 12 April 2014

FINISHED *Mountain Lion painting*

Presenting ' THE HUNTED ' mountain lion / puma / cougar / panther

' THE HUNTED ' mountain lion watercolour painting
original 12" x 4" 

I was going through my portfolio and remembered this mountain lion painting I started 2 years ago! My heart was never completely in it at the time, but I had a sudden urge to complete him. I decided to crop the initial painting to just the eyes, drawing attention to the power and poise of the mountain cat. I hope you like the new outcome, I am much happier with this crop and think it captures strength and uncertainty.

This mountain lion may have his eyes fixed on his next hunt, but who is hunting who? Habitat destruction, roadkill, poaching, poisoning and primarily trophy hunters are killing more mountain lions today than at any other time in our nation's history. Wildlife biologists know mountain lions are vital and invaluable. They are a keystone species playing an irreplaceable and complex role on the landscape, existing in low densities and are self-regulating which means they control their own population size in balance with the ecosystem without the need for human intervention. Why would one kill something so magnificent and call it a trophy?

Thank you Steve Tracy for allowing use of your lovely reference :) Jules

Thursday, 10 April 2014

FINISHED *Black Jaguar painting*

Presenting ' NOIR ' black jaguar

' NOIR ' black jaguar watercolour painting
original 7.5" x 4.5"

...and FINALLY here is my black jaguar painting all completed! I decided on a slightly different crop from my initial ideas which I think works well for the intensity of the cat and it really makes that golden eye POP!

I had loads of ideas for naming the painting but in the end I decided a one word title would be best suited to the sharp crop and feel of the picture, so I chose the masculine 'Noir'. We all know how difficult it is to photograph black animals as the light hits it in all different directions, well painting a dark animal is really really difficult! You have to make so many hidden decisions on what colours you'll use in the highlights and the shadows of the piece. I really wanted to captured his wonderful facial markings which can only be seen from certain angles of light. The colour palette used was a selection of dark chocolate rich tones, yellow/peach/pink/blue highlights, and the fur was a short velvet-like texture. The whiskers are usually the most terrifying part of the painting - and painting whiskers across a dark palette meant 'one chance only!' so rest assured I was concentrating very hard! In a way this painting may be one of my all time favourites as I feel I have conquered what at first seemed impossible, and I'm proud of myself for finally getting there :) I hope you enjoyed this ever-changing piece, I look forward to sharing my next painting with you! Jules

A huge thank you to Alistair Knock for allowing the use of his reference :)

FINISHED *Bengal Tiger painting*

Presenting ' DANCING FLAMES ' Bengal tigers

' DANCING FLAMES ' Bengal tigers watercolour painting
original 14" x 9"  

Here is my completed Bengal tigers painting, I had a lot of fun with this one! After my last snow leopard painting where I was concentrating on a cool colour palette reflecting the freezing climate, I wanted to tip the other side of the scale with a bold warm palette.

I chose the title 'Dancing Flames' because I didn't want to imply they were fighting, or playing, or having a romantic encounter! I chose to let them dance and be wild! I loved working so freely with the movement and interaction of the design, I went through a few differing poses but decided upon these two positions to capture the inner spirit of the tiger.

The whole painting was limited to only four colours. I actually found that I didn't need any others as the varying shades of each and the colour mixtures worked happily to achieve the warmth in the picture. I am tempted to work this way more in the future as it was so liberating and no colour was the wrong colour!

The light played an important yet subtle role in bringing the background and the foreground together. I found that gently back lighting the subjects allowed the horizon of the grasses to not stand so static, and I didn't want to overwork the detail - although working to this small scale didn't really allow tight detail anyway! The main focus I had was to give justice to the strength and muscular structure of both cats. Painting the tone and contour of the muscles was my favourite part, as I've not had much chance on previous paintings to explore the body as much as I will in future pieces! I hope you've enjoyed the progression of the piece :) Jules

Friday, 21 March 2014

NEW FINISHED *Snow Leopard painting*

Presenting 'BEYOND BHUTAN ' snow leopard

' BEYOND BHUTAN ' snow leopard watercolour painting
original  14.5" x 8"

For now I am taking a break from painting close-up faces of big cats, as my imagination and creative flow wants to explore and express far beyond the animal itself. This painting entitled 'Beyond Bhutan' was the first of more 'animal in natural habitat' ideas that I have plenty of! I want to play with movement, shape, light, limited colour palettes, the list goes on! I feel I'm at the start of a very exciting movement in my expressive artistic abilities, and I will also have a play with larger-scale pieces, incorporating the life and living of the chosen subject.

'Beyond Bhutan' was painted with only three shades of primary colours (cadmium red pale / ultramarine blue / cadmium yellow) this is my usual colour selection, however I normally also add alizarin crimson / cerulean blue / burnt umber. This may not be considered a limited palette as yet but it was fun experimenting with only the three shades of red, blue and yellow. 

I chose to paint it in a very cool palette exposing the freezing climate the snow leopard is so well adapted for! The central detailed rock journey through the diagonals of the paper allowed for more expressive edges, techniques and colour play. The paper I have always used is slightly textured which worked really well for the rough rugged terrain of the Mongolian mountains. I really enjoyed letting loose on the assorted textures across the rocks, choosing smoother areas juxtaposed against the sharp jagged edges. The colour variations were also fun to find in the rock face, delving from deep plum and indigo to flesh peach and terracotta tones.

I wanted to give the painting a story, a journey, a moment in time where the cat is reflecting upon it's next step. Is she moving up to higher altitudes or had she come down from above to view some movement in the distance? Or has she simply stopped for a moments rest in a sunspot? The steep incline shows the cats incredible acrobatic skills of jump and balance, using her long swift tail for precision. The tall narrow crop also allows for height within the picture, neither the top or the bottom of the rock formation shows a completed journey. I chose to paint the rock formation and the cat within a hidden Yin Yang shape. Yin and yang can be thought of as complementary forces interacting to form a dynamic system in which the whole is greater than the parts. It would be a devastating if either the snow leopard or its habitat disappeared caused by our own hand. Please support your local and international wildlife, we cannot trap our animal kingdom in future story books alone! Thank you :) Jules

A huge thanks to Diane (Stroller) for the initial reference for the snow leopard :)

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

tiger painting progress - pouncing tiger

This is where I am with the painting at the moment. Progress has been made on the second pouncing tiger. I have been refining the design as I go, and found it very challenging creating the Bengal face of this Ranthambhore tiger but I got there in the end! I'm loving painting their body and muscle movement, I've taken a photo at this stage so you can see that everything is being painted freehand which is both terrifying and inspiring!

There is still a lot to come, but now I have the majority of the pouncing tigers face mapped in I should progress fairly quickly  I hope you're enjoying the process as much as I am!

p.s my camera will not pick up the true yellow-tone of the picture unfortunately, the final scan will show the correct tone.

NEW tiger painting

This is the start of my new painting! I have recently been doing some sketching of body shapes and movements to make for an interesting painting and this is my first in a long line of full figured cats - some will have interaction and some will travel alone. 

You can make out the outline of where the other tiger will be pouncing to the left of the picture. After playing with the background I felt inspired to work with a limited colour palette to paint the fierce Ranthambhore sun. There is still much to do but I thought you may like to see what I'm working on!

Here are a few very quick minute sketches, looking at movement, perspective, getting the feel of body contours and angles, it's really important to sometimes move back from the close detail to study your subject anatomy and movement - their tail is so expressive and paramount for balance and precision!

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