Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Wildebeest painting

"Wildebeest" by Paul Hood copyright 2015 all rights reserved, no duplication or usage without my express written permission.

This is my latest completed painting, currently titled "Wildebeest". I wanted to have fun with bold brush strokes and colors, especially on the body. This "looking back over the shoulder" is apparently pretty common with the wildebeest, or Gnu, based on several pictures I've seen of them it just seems to be a common thing that they do. I roughed out the general shape in pencil, then I played around over that with colored chalks and with gesso. The gesso and chalk under-layers were mostly obliterated when I went in with paint. I actually wanted to see if I could "fix" the chalk with a casein based fixative that we have, but to be honest it never really worked. I'm interested in working more with casein because I like to combine drawing with painting. I'm fond of line work, brush work, and the shading that can be done with pastels or charcoal, but getting it to 'stick' and be durable when you come in with paint or clear varnish is tricky.  The landscape and horizon line background is something I started months ago, when an extended case of vertigo prevented me from doing much of anything at all, including painting. At that time I was going to overlay a stylized horizon line indicator from aircraft type display-- having it skewed to mirror my vertigo, but I couldn't stand to do that. I found the flat horizon line so comforting at that time, that I couldn't stand to mess with it. I used that painting therapeutically, to stare at it from the couch when my vertigo was bothering me, and it actually did help.

Ironically, my vertigo started to come back around the time I started in again on this painting, but by then I really wanted to do more than the flat horizon anyway and the vertigo didn't get any worse. I have a series started now, of African animals, so I'll do that until I'm done with it. They're all colorful, with a certain amount of bold brushwork, bright color combinations, and aspects of my personality that mostly seem to come out in my art.

Here's another guy experimenting with milk-based fixative: