Grizzly Bear Wildlife Painting Demo – Day 2

Okay…on to day 2. It doesn’t look like I’ve accomplished a heck of a lot yet…just my hubby snapping pics…Like my studio? Lol! It’s my kitchen. It has the best light in the house. I do have a proper “studio” set up downstairs, but I never paint down there. It feels too much like a dungeon.
This is about 2 hours in on day 2. I’ve layed in a mid-tone color for the water, and added some highlights. I’ve also done more refining on the bear. Just darkening between the wet clumps and accentuating some of the lights, trying to get that feeling of form instead of flatness…
This is about 4 hours in. So that’s about 8 hours of painting so far. I’ve switched to oils now. I confess…I lost patience with the acrylic paint. I looked at all of that water, and realized just how much work it would be in acrylic, and with a huge sigh of defeat,  I pulled my oil pallet out of the freezer. (Yeah, I store it in there to keep the paints from drying out!) Since my discovery of Liquin, a painting medium which helps flow, and speeds drying time, I’ve found that I can paint wildlife in oils just as effectively as in acrylics, and I love how easy oils are to blend, and that you have time to work with them while they’re still wet. 
So here I’ve worked the water in the whole right side of the canvas. I started picking out individual waves and highlights, trying to achieve the transparency and movement.
Stay tuned for day 3!

In Progress Wildlife Grizzly Bear Painting

The sketch–I use willow or vine charcoal to lay in the drawing…I fill in all the details because it helps me learn my way around the bear. Even though the drawing will be obliterated, my hand and brain still “remember” those little detail lines. When using reference photos and a large format, I grid the canvas and the photo to make sure I get the proportions right. This canvas is my largest so far, “30 x 40”.  

This is about two hours in of painting. I’m blocking in the major lights, darks and mid-tones. I usually start with the darks, then the lights, and middle last. I follow the contours of the bear, imagining his muscle underneath and lay down the strokes in the direction that his fur would fall.

The end of Day 1. This is at about four hours painting, not including drawing the image. I’ve added the light on his nose and his eyes (my favorite part!) The eyes help me focus on the image and make it more interesting for the long haul. Understand that right now, this is all Block-In…every centimetre of what I’ve already painted will be painted over again and again…the joys of acrylic, and glazing! But it’s necessary. That’s what gives you the depth and realism. It’s like constructing the bear, hair by hair!