Painting Big and Bold
We were lucky enough to get away recently for a short family break to the Scottish Highlands and Isle of Skye. I did of course take my sketchbook but we were so busy with walking, cycling, sightseeing and eating scrummy food that I didn’t find much time to sketch. I managed a quick watercolour of the iconic Eilean Donan Castle at Dornie when we stopped briefly on our way to Skye and I hope this will guide a larger painting at some point. The scenery in this region is absolutely stunning and we got plenty of fresh air and exercise, so feeling well rested.
On return home I was itching to get back to my paints and easel and decided to continue on my ‘hare’ series, working big and bold. My canvas measures 80cmx80cm and I think this painting will make quite some statement! I chose a reference photo from the incredibly talented Sue Cross (IG – @suecross) although I don’t go for photo realistic copy, preferring to adjust and interpret in my own way. I never use a photograph without permission, although sometimes I refer to images from creative commons zero sites such as Pixabay and Unsplash.
I decided to work in acrylics, mainly because of the shortened drying time compared to oil. I absolutely love working in oil paints, especially with the ease of blending colours. However the long drying time (months!) can be a real downside, especially as I would like to use this painting as a window piece in an upcoming exhibition this month.
I enjoy acrylic much more than I used to and throughout this painting I used a glazing technique. Glazing involves applying thin washes of colour over sections of the painting and is rather effective at creating a uniformity of colour and building up depth in the painting.
The size of the canvas has been a real challenge and it has taken many hours, especially working on the fur. The finishing touches will be the whiskers and I should be able to call him finished this week. I will then take the painting to the brilliant Nidd Imaging in picturesque Pateley Bridge for digitisation so we can produce prints and greetings cards.
Next up on the easel will be a very special commission which I am looking forward to. I won’t be working on quite such a big canvas though, and it’s a human subject, not a hare!
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