Presenting ' FAR EASTERN EMERALD ' amur leopard
' FAR EASTERN EMERALD ' amur leopard watercolour painting
original 12" x 8"
This is my latest painting :) she is such a stunning cat, one of the most important cats in the world right now due to the fragility of the amur leopards future. There are some great captive breeding programs working very hard to save this species with hope of release back into the wild, it is our responsibility to bring this magnificent animal back from the brink of extinction as it is us humans who are at fault. Please view my links page to take you directly to various organisations helping to save the amur leopard.
Reasons for the decreasing leopard population: Direct destruction of habitat (forest fires, timber cutting, road construction, industrial development and country house construction) is the first reason for the dwindling leopard population. Second is the increasing number of people visiting forests and disturbing the leopards. Third is poachers, who kill not only leopards but also its prey. The fourth threat is genetic problems, e.g. inbreeding.
Since my last post I have added detail and colour strength to her nose / chin and right side. Her nose is full of an array of deep purples / peaches and pinks, and such a differing shape from the snow leopard.
Although she has a warm expression on her face and posture I still wanted to convey cooler colours regarding her habitat surround and climate. This is the northernmost leopard subspecies, and the only one in the world adapted to survive long snowy winters. As with most animals big and small their fur changes with the seasons. An Amur leopard’s fur is reddish-yellow in the summer and becomes lighter in the winter to blend in with the snow. They have long legs which allow them to walk through the snow easily and in the winter season the length of their fur can grow 3 inches long!
Many of you who follow me on facebook may be aware that I get a little anxious when putting on the whiskers - as they are the last part to complete the painting. Whiskers are so important on most animals, I find the big cats especially, they are very expressive - they can convey the animals emotion / feeling / mood at that moment in time. I knew that my amur leopard was content, relaxing and happy, but as soon as those whiskers went on she was smiling :) and as she has so many they had to be right! When you paint whiskers (if large enough to consider detailing) you must be aware of the tonal qualities they have, remembering that they are not flat, and to add faint shadowing as one overlaps another. If they are just crisp white with no outine shaping they may look a little 'stuck' on.
I think I have covered most aspects of the painting, and I hope you can take away some informtion about the amur leopard and learn about such a terrific big cat :) thankyou, Jules.
A huge thankyou to Jim for his fantastic photo reference!