Untamed Land

Untamed Land
Untamed Land

Friday, November 20, 2009

Lair of the Skunk Bear

Sometimes I spend more time trying to decide what to paint, as I do painting it. This time I set out to paint a Spruce Grouse. They have a complex pattern that makes their plummage very cryptic. This is what I like to paint. I selected some nice reference photos of grouse, and habitat photos, all taken this past summer at Goose Creek.
Then I sketched it all out on a 16x20" gessoboard. All well and good, just boring to look at. I set the drawing aside and gathered photos of Bohemian Waxwings. They are strikingly beautiful, and I have numerous photos of them. Mostly I shot the photos in the Mountain Ash trees growing alongside my driveway. I made a nice sketch on another 16x20" gessoboard... boring.
Next I erased the grouse sketch, and started playing with ideas for a wolverine painting. A friend of mine, Bart Quimby, took some decent photos of a wolverine, as it clambered over the rocks, high in the Chugach Mountains. He gave me permission to use his photos however I wished to do so. I also amassed some additional habitat photos that I have taken in the Chugach Mountains.
In no time I had a sketch on the 16x20" gessoboard that originally was a Spruce Grouse. This was not so boring.
The first part of the painting came off without a hitch. It went smoothly, and very rapidly. I got very enthusiastic about this painting. There were  a few minor problems, painting the wolverine itself, but I soon worked them out to my satisfaction. The rocks in front of the wolverine just did not look as good as the rest of the painting. I re-worked them a few times, and then just added some Birch limbs in front of them. Good enough.
Lair of the Skunk Bear, 16x20" This photo does not do the painting justice. It does replicate the colors fairly well. I also photographed the painting in different light. only the close-up photo came out well.This photo shows the painting  better than the first photo, but the rocks in the painting are not this color. All in all, I am happy with this painting. Given time, I will grow to hate it because I invariably hate all my paintings. Although some hold up better than others. It's the thrill I get while I am planning, and painting that gives me a sense of well being. Not so much the finished product. This one gave me a thrill.

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