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In this photo you can see the placement of the three animals, that will be the focal point of this painting. I have placed them fairly high on the canvas, in the top half in fact, as you can see. The reason for this is that I want to create depth. My plan at this stage is to have grass in the foreground, so that it does not compete with the focal point, but rather leads you into the painting.
The second photo shows how acrylic can be used like watercolour, to get rid of the white and rather bright canvas. You can see that I have introduced a group of buffalo in the top right corner, they will add to the interest factor of the painting, I hope.
The lions are now getting a bit of attention and I am establishing a base for the foreground grass as you can see I have put in a few blades of grass to check my colours. I don't want the foreground to be too dark because you need you see the buffalo clearly.
In Africa two things we are not short of are sunshine and dust. The sun bakes and dries the earth, creating clouds of dust when a herd of animals run, the buffalo has just been brought down and dust still hangs heavily in the air. It is however not necessary to spill light colour paint all over the painting when trying to portray this, which is exactly what I have done. My attempts to remove the spill have not been too bad, only to discover that I have also got paint on my clothing and it won't come off. I am not going to repeat the words that I have just been using, but I have had enough of this stupid painting for one session, and I'm now going to have a drink because it is after 5 pm.
I'm feeling better about the painting today and making good progress, working on the grass and bushes in the background.
This is the stage of a painting that I enjoy, most of the hard work has been done and I start looking to put in high-lights, however it is also the stage where a painting can easily be spoiled by trying to put too many elements in. Keep it as simple as possible is, what I tell myself, less is more, at this stage.
I now take the painting and put it away in the spare room for three or four days and avoid looking at it.
The painting is now in front of me again and I correct the things that were not obvious before, in order to complete it. I can now take the final photograph and give it two coats of varnish, which helps to bring acrylic to life. I have Sinatra music playing in the background, he seems to think that we did it his way, he is wrong, because you and I know, I did it my way.
Leopard Painting in Progress
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