Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Archie and Maeve (with demo shots)

I have often thought of painting meerkats but felt they were too difficult as they blend in so nicely to their rocky home, so it is a challenge to know how to make them show up. Here are some photos of my process together with an explanation of how they got their names at the end.
A simple line drawing just to show the position of the main features and then I used a turpsy wash of Quinacridone Gold and Transparent Oxide Red to indicate where the darks/shadows were. Q. Gold is one of my favourite colours, but don't let it anywhere near black or it turns into fresh cow pat.
I put their eyes in next because they are the focal point; also, it's nice to have someone to talk to when I'm painting.
Putting in some background colour now. In real life, this was a  sandy/grey rocky sort of setting (in Newquay Zoo in Cornwall), but when the sun shone you could pick out gold and copper in the rocks and reflective green light from nearby trees so I have gone with that.
Working on 'dressing' Archie; painting left to right because I am right handed and the whole painting is being done wet-on-wet having allowed the first wash-in to dry overnight.
Dressing Maeve. I did their feet and legs last, then went back over the whole painting, correcting and adjusting the colour to achieve this. 10" x 8", oil on canvas board.
As for their names, when I was uploading these photos on to my Mac and fiddling around with straightening and cropping etc, the computer kept ON putting a dashed-line box around their faces, saying "unnamed friend?" As I worked, it felt like it was getting more insistent, until eventually large letters were screaming "NAME give me a NAME". 
I have no idea how to switch off this irritating function. 
So I named them.
I am now expecting Archie and Maeve to appear, synchronised, in the contact book on each of my devices, as Apple likes to say.

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