Monday, October 12, 2009

Capturing Animals on Location

West thumb Yellowstone NP

The National Parks

Capturing Animals on Location
Painting animals on location can be tricky. Animals are usually very poor models because they are unwilling to hold still for extended lengths of time. If you paint animals that linger like cows or horses or, in this case, bison do, it is possible to capture their basic outline and essence as you compose and sketch your initial painting on location. The finer details of the animal will come into focus once you begin painting. Look very carefully as you are painting your sketch and you will find that all the detail information that you need is right in front of your eyes - even though the animal’s pose may change. Start by painting the animal’s eyes first, and paint outwards to the head and then the body. If you enjoy painting animals and want to paint extraordinary animal studies, it is important to learn how to paint them accurately by drawing them frequently. Great portrait painters draw the human face and figure everyday to hone their skill. The painters of domestic or wild animals must do the same if they want to excel. However, if you only want to paint an occasional cow, you can be successful by just drawing what you see.

September 20, 2009
Our journey continues north into Yellowstone as we follow an old logging route. We carefully tow our trailer through the forest knowing that we risk the chance of breaking down in a very remote part of the country. This is a very difficult day for both the trailer and us. The standing trees are so thick that it seems impossible to find a space wide enough for the trailer to squeeze through. We finally reach the southern point of Yellowstone lake, and find the west thumb of the Geyser Basin where we discover a herd of American bison that are grazing nearby, lingering as if they want me to paint them during our stay. In my painting, I capture the oldest male in the herd on my canvas. SWB
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