Posts Tagged ‘calf painting’


So it’s been awhile since I did one of these. A give away that is.

The calf is at a “live with it for a bit” stage. I’ll probably add some more wispy hair and perhaps deepen some shadows. It measures approximately 20×24 and is a mixed media of various water soluble materials on suede. I’ve not come up with a title yet and so that’s where the give-away comes in.

If interested you can go to my Wild Faces Gallery facebook page, Like the page and then leave a title suggestion comment on the post with this calf. If I chose a suggestion that person gets a print. If I don’t choose any of the suggestions I will draw a name at random to win the print.

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The Trouble With Black is …
Well the short answer is it’s usually very flat looking. It lacks dimension and richness. And anyone who has perused my blog can see I LOVE color. I infuse it in almost all the work I do. Even the pieces where I want a realistic looking animal (like the one I’m currently working on) I am constantly trying to reel myself in with color usage.

The one color (though I think technically not a color) I limit my use of is black. I hear often enough artists’ saying I don’t use black and even more so, I don’t use white. Which to be honest has always struck me as a bit college art course inspired. I firmly believe that both black and white should be made up of a veritable rainbow of colors but to not use them at all … well … you are limiting your range of contrast.

When I’ve been asked if I use either of these colors well you know by now that the answer is yes.

I do.

All of the time.

Perhaps this is because I’m self taught. Or perhaps it’s because I love intense pop of color and strong contrasts. Whatever the reason I use both black and white so much that I am always buying high quantities of both when getting open stock supplies.

Please note that “Nothing” is done on this little wooly bully. But I got to a point where in order to progress with the shadowing on the calf I needed to get the background in. In my reference photo it was solid black. High contrast yes, but as mentioned kinda flat looking. SO here’s a few photos showing my progression to a very dark background.

The main two colors I used here are inktense (Derwent’s water soluble ink pencils) Dark Indigo and Chocolate. When combined they make a lovely purpley-bluey-brown wash.


See what I mean. So after my board has dried I begin working in the browns, purples and yes black. This layer stays dry though I do hit it with a coating of fixative spray to keep it from dusting all over my whites.


The background is close to being done, but now it’s time to go back and work on the calf some. Maybe another day or two. I need to work on gallery stuff but I’m having a hard time pulling myself away from my drafting table.

Too many cows yet to be painted I guess.

NOTE: I think those who work in oils can get away with expanses of black a little more easily due to the richness and quality of the pigment. Watercolor pencils though … not so much.

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