Friday, July 2, 2010

Power In Repose

Power in Repose, 6x8

This is one of four bengal tigers at the Austin Zoo. When the first two walked out from their shelter, I was amazed at their size. Then this one appeared and it was huge, in comparison. It was obvious by the size difference that this was a male, which was confirmed. He weighs nearly 400 lbs.

Having never painted at a zoo, I wondered from the outset whether it would even be worth trying. I eventually tried quick pencil sketches of a couple goats nearby, but the exercise was less than satisfying.  Then this magnificent cat climbed up on a rock to sun himself after taking a swim. I came over and was able to get a quick sketch of him in this pose, which was very fortunate. I took a couple pictures later but none had as good a head position. With a sketch I liked, I spent the remaining time mapping the composition on my panel and blocking in main color, before heading home. I used the photos back in the studio to reference accurate color and shading.

Overall, I found painting at the zoo a little nerve-racking. But in the end, the one pencil sketch made the trip worthwhile. I managed to get the pose I wanted from probably the most beautiful animal I've ever seen.


Linda Popple said...

He's such a regal looking animal and you did a great job capturing that. The pose is awesome. I like your composition with the orange flowers leading the eye to the tiger.

Happy 4th!

Kelley Sanford said...

Stephen, certainly looks like a challenging piece but you handled it beautifully. He looks like he is definitely in charge.

Celeste Bergin said...

well, you did an outstanding job--and I am glad to see that it is "possible". I tried painting a horse (alla prima) once...and he kept walking around so I kept walking around him. Kind of comical. In the end the painting was ok but nothing to write home to Mother about. lol. You did everything great here. Colors, shape, scale. All great.

LindaHunt said...

Nice composition and the color is very nice. Love the high contrast. I like the way you handled the water because it really looks like it is spilling into the pool...and then there is the cat which you handled beautifully!

Mary Sheehan Winn said...