Friday, 26 August 2011

NEW snow leopard painting


Hello All! I've started this new painting of a stunning snow leopard - one that I've had drawn out for a long while but kept doing others before it. I also needed a bit of a break from using 'orange' colouring i.e tiger / red panda / ginger cat! I decided to crop the face for a striking image, these 'close-up' paintings allow the viewer to get close to these big cats and appreciate every aspect of their gorgeous faces. I do really enjoy capturing the full figure of an animal and then sometimes I love to zoom in for closer detail.
These first few photos are taken after sketching out the facial markings and main features, and then filling in faint colouring to show myself where they are intended to go. The facial markings on any animal are so important as they contour the face and give the 3D realistic appearance of the picture. I then started to paint in the eyes and the iris detail and colouring, eyes vary considerably in colour depending on lighting / reflected colours. You can strengthen colours you see in the eyes if you wish for a stronger more intense look. Cats eye colours are so beautiful and vary between all the big cats.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

red panda progress - paws and underbelly


Here I have started to fill in the black parts of the underbelly and legs. I love capturing all the colours in the black fur - such as the lilac and pinky highlights and the deep blues and aubergine giving movement to the darker parts. It is always important to add light to a black animal as their body shape can sometimes get lost in the darkest parts.

The fur on a red panda was a new experience for me as it is soft thick and dense to protect them from cooler temperatures and fuzzy / rugged looking at times. So it wasn't a simple brushstroke I was after showing singular hairs as such, but a rough matted appearance to represent the wooley fuzzy look. I experimented with different techniques and found the best approach was to have your brush almost dry with the paint on it giving short quick bursts of direction, layering and movement is so important when capturing fur on any animal.

The feet were also fun. The red panda's feet point inwards and the thick white fur on the soles of the feet offer protection from the cold and hides scent glands. This fur on the sole of their paws is similar to the snow leopard - who is the red panda's primary predator in the wild. You can't really see his feet in the painting but there is a slight hinting at the white underpart where he grips onto the branch.

Did you know?
- A female red panda can eat approx. 200,000 bamboo leaves in one day!
- The red panda is the mascot of the International Tea Festival in Darjeeling
- Also known as the lesser panda, it was discovered 48 years before the giant panda.

Monday, 22 August 2011

NEW red panda painting

Hello everybody! Since my last painting post I've started work on this new red panda (also referred to as 'Firefox' or 'Hunho'). It is actually finished now and has already been taken to be exhibited at this years Marwell Art Society (MIWAS) exhibition at the end of August alongside my 'Jewel of Siberia' tiger cub drawing. However I hadn't the time to blog during the painting process itself but managed to take a couple of snap shots inbetween to discuss the picture now.

I started out with a bright green and yellow wet blended backdrop with worked in dark blue to highlight some light shaping, and a lighter blue dabbed lightly nearer the top light holes. This may be fairly simple to most watercolourists but these are unfamiliar techniques to myself. They spend most of their time in the trees so I wanted to put the red panda amongst the greenery of the forest as though he had just scrambled to the top branch after a disturbance.

Red pandas sleep mostly during the day therefore as this is a daytime coloured painting with the sunshine glowing around him I had to capture the alertness of his pose and wide eyes. They sleep on tree branches or in tree hollows during the day and increasing their activity in the late afternoon and early evening hours.
I will gradually add the painting process over the next couple of days but I'm afraid you'll have to wait for the finished picture as I was unable to take a photo before framing it all up!

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

MARWELL Art Exhibition 2011 (MIWAS)

Hello, please do come and see all the fabulous works of art on display at Marwell Wildlife Park, over 700 exhibits! This will be the first year I exhibit with the society and I'm very very excited :) I will be seeing the exhibition on the bank holiday Monday!

Thursday, 11 August 2011


Hello All! Finally I've got round to setting up a facebook page for my art, please join me if you have an account, I think my blog will be more detailed in relation to developing pieces, however it's always nice to get involved! Please let me know if this link is broken -!/profile.php?id=100002595748074

I look forward to hearing from you, Jules
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