Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Lion Cub painting

' PROTECTED' lion cub watercolour painting

Hello Everybody, I do apologise for the lack in posting recently! I've not been able to progress with any pieces due to other commitments however I thought I'd show you a piece I started last year. Unfortunately it is a painting that won't be completed...

It is an image that immediately caught my eye - I loved the little cubs expression and the warmth and protection of its mother wrapped around him, the huge paw also gave a great perspective on the size ratio of adult to cub. After years of trying and working on different papers to suit my style and technique I finally found a paper that I was really happy with called Whatman watercolour paper 300gsm NOT.

The Whatman company goes back more than 260 years, with its papers being used by famous artists such as Thomas Gainsborough, William Blake and J M W Turner amongst many others. I bought it at A1 size of singular sheets from my local art shop. It had a lovely subtle texture and was stern enough to move around without fear of creasing or bending. After a few pet commissions I eventually ran out and went to buy some more to find that the Whatman brand was no longer available for sale anywhere. Therefore I chose the paper which appeared the most similar called Waterford watercolour paper 300gsm NOT.

Quite a large piece at 16" x 12" I started sketching the body shapes out (never in any detail whatsoever merely basic shapes and lines). I always start a painting with the eyes to bring it to life before continuing- this is just my preference, I then worked up the colouring and fur detail around the face ears and neck. It was only when I started to reach the larger areas that I noticed the paper warping very slightly which made it uncomfortable to work with as I had to wait for it to dry to allow the 'bubbled' areas to settle down.  Unfortunately as I started the piece at smaller sections this was unnoticeable to me whilst painting, but then it  became apparent, so what you see here in the picture is as far as I got before I decided it wasn't working for me.

It breaks my heart as it is such a lovely picture, and I know that people would wonder why I didn't just finish it thinking it is fairly close to completion, but honestly it is probably only a quarter the way through! Nevermind it can go in the book as 'a lesson learnt'. Perhaps in the future I'll redo it or crop it to just a cub portrait. You'll be glad to know that since that ordeal I am happily married to Winsor & Newton watercolour paper 425gsm, which is absolutely perfect for me and highly recommended to all! :)


April Jarocka said...

Hi Julia! Thanks for the follow and lovely comment at my 'tasty' blog LOL.
This is a beautiful painting and such a shame it won't be finished. Perhaps I can make you feel better ~ I had the same sort of thing happen to me. I purchased a beautiful canvas 80cm x 100cm and started painting what I hoped would be an amazing Beachscape with close up stones etc. So I started painting the stones and was doing pretty well until I applied paint to the sky. That's when I noticed something was wrong. Very wrong. There are ripples across the canvas and there is no way you can't notice it. So....it's under the bed (being so large) gathering dust and waiting for the day I take up painting impasto style or gesso it.
There. Lesson learned.
Your work is beautiful and I look forward to following you.
All the best

Julia Ruffles | wildlife artist said...

thankyou so much April! I had always just dealt with little problems because I absolutely hate wasting paper, however I don't think it looks professional if the surface is warped, we've all been there and such a shame about your artwork too, thankyou for the encouragement :) Jules

Unknown said...

The cub's face is gorgeous, your work is amazing, I love it!


Brenda said...

This is a wonderful little cub portrait. It is worth the disappointment to find a paper that you can trust. :)

Julia Ruffles | wildlife artist said...

thankyou Janice/Brenda you're very kind :)
I think my favourite paper is actually classed as the 'students' affordable paper! but I love it :) thankyou, Jules

Lesley Crawford, Gaia Art said...

Been there too Jules. My problem was with Saunders Waterford. I've always used Arches hot pressed since, but have in the past couple ofyears been using Fabriano Artistico Extra White hot pressed, which is lovely, takes a lot of punishment and also accepts coloured pencil.
Sad though, after a lot of work and the painting going well otherwise.


Julia Ruffles | wildlife artist said...

thankyou for your information Lesley :) I've just looked at a spare sheet I had left and it was 'Saunders Waterford', perhaps I'll just use it for watercolour wash experiments or pencilwork. It is an unusual issue for me to have as I don't use the paint very wet. Have a great day, Jules

hmuxo said...

What a shame this painting will never be finished, Julia. It's a beautiful piece...but glad that you found a paper that works well for you.! I absolutely love your work!!

Judy said...

Why don't you crop it to just a cub portrait Julia, he's too cute not to do something with it. The work you've done is gorgeous.

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