I didn’t get a great deal of time to work on my painting yesterday. After all, it is only a few days until Christmas and I had some house chores here to take care of and I had planned a wonderful dinner date with Keith and his mom for the evening. We had been trying to get together for about a week now, and had to change our plans a couple of times because of the snow and ice. I was happy we were finally able to make a go of things.
I did however get a couple of hours in and I did some refinements on the mother snow leopard. While I really liked how she was turning out up until this point, when looking at her the next morning, I saw something that I missed the previous day.
Below is a close up of how she started out. Not bad, but I felt that something looked off to me.
What bothered me the most was the area to the left of her nose. While the other side of her face looked shaped and contoured, the left side looked bland and flat. I mentioned before that I have to do additional shading and toning when all the fur is in place, but I realized as I was looking at her that there was just something missing.
I also looked closely at the shape of the nose. Again – at the left side, it appeared to slightly bow towards the outside of the head a bit. While I realize that faces of these animals could vary and this could very well be correct, on my reference picture of Everests’ mom, the nose seemed to be much straighter than I portrayed.
I took some time and added in some contours on the lower cheek of her face. I did this by adding darker fur layers and some transparent darker washes. I also emphasized the fur pattern there slightly and as a result it set the upper cheek forward towards me and gave that side of the face a much better shape.
I also darkened along the outside left side of the nose, pulling it inward ever so slightly. This gave a more streamlined and chiseled look, which more closely resembled the mom. It wasn’t difficult to do this, but it did take time. Since the fur consists of multiple layers of color, I was able to gradually move the light area to the right one stroke at a time. I am pretty happy with the results.
Below is a final result of my efforts. I would say it took me about an hour to fix these things. Not bad, considering.
I find that getting away from something we are working on for a while does wonders for our perspective. While I was extremely happy with the Mom on Thursday night, when I looked at her Friday morning these two things just jumped out at me. While these adjustments may seem to be small, I think they were very important and will play a large part on the overall painting. I placed the two versions side by side here for you to have a better comparison.
Like many of you, I am also anxious to see this painting completed. Each day as it begins to come together, I get more and more excited. But I don’t want my enthusiasm to get the best of me – as in the beginning when I rushed through painting the cub. While the cub looked OK at the time, sitting next to the mom at this point you can see a huge difference (I hope!) in the level of painting. I look at it now and the cub looks much more cartoon-like in comparison to the mom. I just didn’t take the time and steps required to make it look better.
But all is not lost. When I get to that part of the painting, I am sure I will be able to improve on it, so I am not in despair. It will come together with time.
Thank you again for all of your thoughts and comments. I hope you are all enjoying this experience with me, for I am learning a lot and hope that I am helping you look at things a bit differently as well.
The weekend is upon us and it is a busy time for most. I am pretty much together though on my holiday things, and only have some food and baking to think about, as well as wrapping a couple of gifts. But I still have time for that.
Have a wonderful weekend. Try to enjoy the season and the process, for the day will come and go in the blink of an eye.
-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"