yesterday was a particularly trying day in the studio as i was having one of those days when nothing seemed to go right.i had hoped to get the entire fox's head completed but from word go the paintbrushes refused point blank to do as i had desired leaving me fighting with them all day to create something i was happy with.A more sensible soul would have left the painting and gone out for a walk or even better a pint but being particularly obstinate and conscious of just how long it seems to take me to complete a painting these days i decided to struggle on with it.the upshot of all that is that i didnt finish the head and the finish is not quite as fine as i had wished for however i didnt ruin it and therefore live to fight another day.and so here is where i am now,i managed to complete the ear and have progressed about halfway across the head in as orderley fashion as i could muster during my frustration bearing in mind that i knew i'd have to return the painting today and complete this stage before i get onto fine detailing the fur texture and finally adding a detailed second coat to the eye
After my brief spell working with graphite ive now picked up where i left off with my oil painting.The subject here is a Red Fox and it is ostensibly a simple portrait but i liked the slight angled away nature of the fox's gaze and the amount of fur detail captured in the reference photo's i'm using to help put together this painting.It isnt a large painting by oil painters standards at only 20" x 19" but for me its one of my larger paintings to date and i still struggle a little with the scale of these paintings compared to the smaller scale of a pencil drawing and the sizes of brush's i find myself using.Detail still pre-occupies me more than it should i feel and because of the larger scale of this painting i do find myself having to be a good deal more bolder with my brushstrokes than feels entirely natural to someone used to working with such tight detail.I'm determined to get there and despite the temptation to throw this painting at various times ive stuck with it and am now pleased with the look of the fur details on the body of the fox.The head and ears have had a couple of coats of oil thus far to build up some depth of colour and i will be embarking upon some detail here once the second coat has dried.
The portrait of Cassie is now complete.Delighted that my client is pleased with the portrait.Its been interesting and at times challenging to come back to graphite after quite a long break from the medium after spending many months working exclusively in oils.hope youv'e all enjoyed watching the progress of this drawing.
Getting very close to completion now.The lightest areas of the dogs coat are the toughest to get right as i'm still layering and looking for very subtle shifts in tone which demands lightness of touch with the pencils both when adding tone and fur texture details.
yesterday's work on the paler fur details has seen the portrait really start to come to life.ive started to work on the tongue and began toning but ive had to lift out a fair bit of tone and left the drawing at this stage last night as i was feeling a little jaded.i think the drawing will benefit from fresh eyes today.
muzzle now fully worked up and the long and delicate task of gently layering graphite onto the lighter areas of the dog starts.Here ive added an initial layer of H grade pencil which ive then gone over with Hb and B grades to define changes in tone and to add fur details.the dogs colouration is quite subtley variable in the lighter areas of her coat and so i'm really having to study my reference material quite intently to pick out the tonal shifts and be extra gentle when building up that tone and fur texture so that i dont overdo it and have the drawing become too technically accurate on me.
After a busy weekend away from the studio ive managed to grab a few more hours work time on my latest pencil drawing.Both ears are now complete after much subtle layering and addition of fur textures and just to give the piece a little lift i decided to complete the eyes a little earlier than i usually do,it will help me keep the very subtle tones of fur on the dogs face more accurate as apart from the muzzle and around the eye area she's quite a pale colouration.
Returned to work on this pencil commission after a long lay off for the jubilee weekend.ive worked one ear up almost to a completed state and started to apply graphite layers to the second ear.so far ive layed down layers of H and HB grade pencil but there are subsequent layers of both B and 2B to come as well as the fur details which will be added using a 2B pencil.ive also added a little tone to the dog's tongue just to give the drawing a little sense of depth even at this early stage.
Its been a while since i completed a graphite drawing from scratch,and so before approaching this latest commission i 'warmed up' by re-hashing my barn owl drawing as described in an earlier post.Having finally managed to get the outline and main tonal areas plotted to my satisfaction i traced the rough drawing outlines from my working out sheet onto the stretched and prepared watercolour paper that i like to use for graphite works.The canine subject is quite a pale dog with quite contrasting dark areas and so in order to make portraying the rather subtle tone changes in the paler areas a little more easy i decided to first set in stone the darker areas of the dogs face mainly around the muzzle.starting with the darker areas first gives me a great reference point for the paler areas and means i dont have to be quite so tentative about applying graphite to those areas as its easier to judge when ive worked up the tone to a dark enough level.I'm a little rusty with the pencils and so i'm taking it easy whilst i get my eye in and this is today's efforts.in the top photo you can see that i first worked up the nose and then ive started to apply layers of tone to the muzzle,in this case a layer of H grade pencil followed carefully with some HB and so forth untill in the bottom photo you can see that the muzzle is almost fully worked up with fur details added.where there are lighter hairs within darker masses of fur ive employed the indenting technique to leave some nice clean white fur detail.