Grizzly Bear painting in progress shot and finished!!

In progress ~ almost done!

Finito!!

Big Mac ~ 30″ x 40″ oil on canvas


I took a very long break on this guy… Sometimes, when I have had a bad relationship with a painting, I need to hide it for a while and come back to it with fresh eyes. When I’m struggling, all I see is what is wrong, with no idea how to fix it, and if I put it away I can come back to it later, and usually I am able to see exactly where it needs to go. This is what happened here. And he’s done! Hurray!
Here is the link to my last post where I documented the progress… http://tahirihsblog.blogspot.ca/2012/10/in-progress-wildlife-grizzly-bear.html.

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Afternoon Encounter ~ Bella Coola Grizzly

Afternoon Encounter ~
5″ x 7″ oil on 1/8″ hardboard panel
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A memory of an afternoon swimming with my family at the Atnarko river. The water is this rich green colour, from the algae that on the bottom, but also from the reflections of the lush greenery all around. Bears are abundant in our beautiful valley, and encounters like this are not at all uncommon. Generally the bears are shy and go their own way, but we did have a poor hitchhiker get attacked this summer! He was near a salmon bearing creek, and it is assumed it was a momma with cubs on the other side of the road. 

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!

24″ x 36″ oil on canvas ~ Wading Grizzly (title ideas…please?)

I suppose I should have given this one a bit more thought before I posted it, but I can not for the life of me, think of a good title right now. If anyone has any brilliant ideas, please let me know! Lol!
I’m finished!…the paint was still wet when I hung it in the show, but it was definitely a hit with everyone. I was very happy to be finished in time.
This was my first time working with Liquin, using it for what it was meant to do. I tried it once before, on an alla prima painting, and it just frustrated me, so I didn’t try it again for a long time. After a bit of research, I realized that it is meant for fine detail work, to help the paint dry faster. It is what enabled me to actually paint layers of fur, and not have to wait for days for it to dry. Previously, I’ve only used acrylic for wildlife work, but I don’t really like acrylic. Let’s just say, our personalities clash! So my Liquin discovery is a blessing!
Voila!
PS: I also have quite a few new prints available. This one will be available soon,  at a size of 12″ x 18″, so check my shop often. Click HERE to check out my available prints on Etsy.
Cheers!

Sneak Preview of new Grizzly Bear painting and demo

Picture of me and my painting for the local paper

Not finished yet!!
So…I’m having a one-man show on April 20th. I’m pretty excited, but do I ever have a lot of painting to do! This is number two in the grizzly bear series…am I doing a series? Hmmm…Maybe I will…I’ve been enjoying painting these magnificent creatures. 
The first photo is one that was taken by the local paper to advertise my show, and the following two show the painting in progress. As you can see, I toned the canvas first with acrylic paint in a thin was of yellow ochre. The painting will eventually have a sunset look so I thought the yellow would work. I actually started doing the painting in acrylic, but got frustrated with the colors drying darker than I mixed them, so I switched to oils, and it’s actually working out fine. It makes for softer edges, brighter colors and it’s just easier for me to control, all the way around.
Next, I blocked in all of the darks. I forgot to take a picture, though. I got a bit carried away and in “the zone”…you know, that place where time and everything else disappears?
The second picture, I’ve started adding color, blocking in the lights in the water, and trying to work out the reflection. I’m finding that to be the hardest part. 
So, maybe a day or two left. I want to fix the perspective on the bear’s body, finish the water, fix up the fur….I’ll keep ya’ posted 🙂

Grizzly Bear portrait and painting demonstration


Too Close and Very Afraid ~ 16″ x 20″ oil on canvas
$1200.00

It’s bear season once again! They’ll soon be lumbering down the mountain from their chilly dens to eat the newly blossoming skunk cabbage that is finally starting to bloom. I have yet to see one awake this year, but the sunshine and the promise of a beautiful summer filled with our exotic wildlife inspired me to paint this guy. Here’s your chance to have your very own “too close for comfort” encounter with one of the world’s most impressive creatures!