Leopard

Article text
Leopard at rest in Hertfordshire
This article follows my post in Painters-online.co.uk
Following my previous article on the Gannet I thought this might make a decent contrast to the complex work of painting aircraft. I've long been fascinated by the big cats. Having once been tolerated by a large ginger tom called Sam I feel some affinity for these majestic creatures. The genus of this painting was a trip to a Leopard Sanctuary in Herts a couple of years ago. This photo is the source of what follows. The cat was lying on a raised platform in its enclosure, seemingly fast asleep. Obviously still aware of all that was happening around it, as soon as I approached the leopard yawned and adopted this position. I've never tackled a Leopard painting before being a mite wary of the complex markings but this was too good to miss.

For this painting I decided to sketch in the outline of the animal to make sure I had the right size for the board. The paints used were:
Drawing the Leopard Acrylic Black
Background Block
and Rocks Ultramarine blue Burnt Sienna and Yellow Ochre, all Golden Acrylics.
Leopard : Yellow Ochre, Naples Yellow,Cadmium Yellow, Ultramarine Blue, Alizarin Crimson, Cadmium Red and Burnt Sienna.
All are artist quality oils from Windsor and Newton.
I'll be using mostly filbert brushes (Synthetic bristles) and a rigger once I get down to tiny details. These are:
No12 Flat Pro Arte Stirling - background and large wash/glaze
Nos 6 & 4 Filberts Ditto General work and some detail on rock and foliage
Nos 14 & 8 Filberts Galleria W & N Glazes large and small
For Detailed painting
101 Sable/synthetic Sceptre Gold W&N
No 3 Sable Pro Arte Renaissance
No 2 Synthetic Half liner Jacksons 984
0 Pro Arte Prolene Rigger
I thin the paint with a mixture of oil medium and refined turpentine
I will draw out the design on a standard Daler board with a medium grain. I would prefer a fine grain or even hardboard or MDF but haven't any to hand and I want to get on with this.
What I do
I created this area to describe the work I enjoy and how I go about it. My first shot at this was trying to illustrate the process of making an aviation painting destined to be submitted to the Guild of Aviation Artists Summer 2012 exhibition. I now include a similar "day by day" account of the creation of a wildlife painting. So instead of propellers and people the problem now is fur and rocks!

I've had a couple of cracks at wildlife before as you have seen on this site and at www.painters-online.co.uk where I have posted similar images. This time I was inspired to try the Leopard after attending a workshop given by Chris Jones at the Nature in Art Museum in Gloucester. Chris is an internationally known artist and a very good teacher. Although the course was "Painting fur and feathers in acrylics", I've taken some of his advice and used it to provide a framework for this oil painting.