Painting animals

Painting Wolves

Hi everyone! Kathleen and I are back from our vacation and are super excited to get back to the blog! Since we’re getting pretty busy, we’ve decided to post only on Tuesdays and Thursdays to give ourselves time to write great posts, make art, and relax.

But enough about the boring stuff. Let’s get into my latest painting!

If you recall from ages ago, Kathleen mentioned a terrific place called the Wolf Sanctuary of PA. As the name suggests, its a place where wolves and wolf-dogs can stay if they are rescued from bad homes or surrendered by their owners. Anyway, I bought a poster featuring all the wolves living in the sanctuary. I use the small pictures and enlarge them by drawing (or in this case, painting) them on a larger paper. The wolf that I painted is called Dozer.

So, I had my music playing, my paintings set up, and I started, completely forgetting the beginning photo :P. Oh well. Here it is with the base layer of the background.

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I had such a difficult time choosing the color I wanted for the background. It was Kathleen who initially suggested the layering of light brown and dark brown.

After that, I started to work on the body of the wolf. I learned the hard way that its best to start with the back/neck area of the subject, then go onto the head so it actually looks real.

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I had a lot of fun painting the fur that hangs off the body, especially the gray fur on Dozer’s cheek in this next picture.

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After that, I filled in the rest of the face. Dozer is a primarily black wolf, but I wanted to add some contrast. My pallet was a mess. I have about ten wells for paint, plus some space in the middle. The middle was filled with white paint, and nine out of the ten wells were filled with various shades of black and gray.

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I finished filling in the face (and mixing yet more shades of black). You can see how the other tuft of fur on the cheek is lighter than the other. I had this continuing issue of mixing colors that were too close together in shade, so I would have to add either more white or black depending on what I was going for :D.

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I added the finer details in the form of the nose, mouth, and eyes. The mouth and nose was the hardest thing in this painting, I think. Most wolf noses are black, but Dozer is a black wolf. I had to figure out how to make the nose stand out against the face, but not look out of place (hey that rhymes :P).

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The mouth was difficult because throughout the painting, I couldn’t decide if I wanted the mouth open or close, showing teeth or not. I chose to have the mouth open, but it took about ten minutes of staring art the tiny reference photo for me to get the gums right. I chose a ridiculously light shade of yellow for the teeth and, put against the subtle pink of the tongue, they’re kind of hard to see, but you can tell they’re there.

Now the pièce de résistance, the eyes. In the picture above (the one without the finished eyes), I actually kind of liked it without the eyes. It made it look sort of spectral.

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I love how just a small dot of white paint can make a painting really come to life.

That’s all for now! Keep on the lookout for the next post!

~Elizabeth and Kathleen

 

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