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.