This first photo you see is the lion at end of Session #4, which was Sunday. After the post of Saturday below, I did a fair bit more work on the lion, doing some detail work on his face, as promised. One thing I did was to adjust the shadow falling across his chin, which had been really bothering me. I also working on his left leg and flank. Though I had originally thought I might finish in five painting sessions, at the end of Sunday afternoon, I realised he would probably need 6 plus one extra for glazing. There were still issues I needed to work on. More shadows on his muzzle. A slightlystraighter line to the bridge of his nose, more work on his craggy shadows in his mane around his face, and more attention to the highlights, where the sun is hitting him.
On the right you see the palette I set up and worked with today, Session #5. I only had an hour and a half to paint, plus a bit of set up time. However, given I am working on primarily the Lion at the moment, I had all my acrylic paints in the colors I am using already on the table you see (the palette is sitting atop them there). You see also my jars of water and paint brushes. And a cup of coffee, which just seemed like a good thing to have to get me moving in the right direction. Ian (hubby) has been working midnight shifts again this week and was still asleep, so I could not have loud music on the stereo...so I had my ipod instead. World music playlist today :)
When I work on the underpainting stages my palette is a big mess of everything all over. But as I work towards the end of the painting, my paint gets more precise, with small blobs and spots of various shades I need for the work I am doing. I work back and forth from one color to another as I need to, either working on a particular area of the painting, or perhaps with a particular shade or color and taking wherever it needs to be put. There are dozens of repetitive steps working back and forth like this at this stage. I also work hard not to mix the blobs of paint together too much and I am pretty careful with what goes where, as I fine tune the painting, checking my reference photo often.
Because this work is close up and delicate at times, I have to step back and view the work from across the room at times, to see if it is coming together. Sometimes I photograph the work, as it can help to see the painting in progress on the camera screen. Later I will study the images on the computer screen and contemplate them again.
I spent a lot of time on the lion's face today. I did all the things I said above that I would be working on. Mostly I worked with a mix of paint and lots of gloss medium, especially for the darker colors I used as shadows. I have built up some of the shadows in many layers using this sort of a "glazey" mix, which allows putting shadows on in veils over the verdigris colors that give a greater dimension and more subtle look. His muzzle and front of his nose was too bright, so I added more soft verdigris tones. The shadows on the left side of his face needed more light on them, because the sunlight is coming from that direction. I added more light in various places where the sunlight falls on him too. In all the shadow areas of his face and mane, I painted in more subtle tones, shadows and highlights in his mane and face. His eyes got some emphasis (like eyeliner !), which gave them more definition and elegance. Each shadowed area got more detail. This all probably took an hour or more. The rest of my time was working on his left flank and leg, adding
shadows in a glazey Payne's Grey or Raw Umber. And white or nearly white where the light falls on his side and back.
Here is the lion at the end of Session #5. He needs some fine tuning next painting session, then I will work on the final touches for the background too. I feel like he is almost done now, and that is a big step from earlier today, when I saw many many things I wanted to do. I am happy with how his body is looking, only small adjustments to do there. Maybe a few things to do on his face. Some work on his mane, but very minor. And his background. Then when I glaze him, I may add some oil paint into the glaze to bring out more of the colors I want to see and where I want to add a "glow."
Check in again for the next post on the lion's progress, later this week. I hope he will be done then !