William Stout Painting Lesson #9

Menagerie - Refining With Oils

Menagerie - Refining With Oils

At this point in the painting my task just more or less becomes the refinement of each animal. I need to make sure the detail and style is consistent with every critter pictured. In the case of this particular painting, I want it to be tighter — but not too tight. I want this painting to feel fresh and spontaneous — not overworked and detailed to death.

Cassowary Detail

Cassowary Detail

I decided to render the cassowary first because I wanted to get rid of the dirty blue that resulted from my glazing transparent blue over the sepia underpainting. It would become a good reminder of the brilliance of color I wanted to have appear in spots throughout this painting.

Macaw Detail

Macaw Detail

The same thinking was applied to the macaw. I wanted those dull reds to become bright.

Menagerie – Left Side Detail

Menagerie – Left Side Detail

The walrus needed a lot more work to make it believable, so I plunged in, ferociously refining the crude sepia rough. I knew that the flamingo’s head was off (I painted the first one from memory), so I referred to my photo reference to create a more accurate portrayal.

The skunk head anatomy was way off, so it got repainted, too. If you look carefully at this detail, you can detect where I originally had placed his eye.

I like the porcupine and anteater; I can already tell that any repainting or touching up on them will be minimal. I don’t know why — maybe it’s the color palette or the loose application and modeling of paint — but to me the anteater looks very Frazetta-ish, even though I can pretty firmly state that Frank never painted an anteater.

Chimp, Hyena, Sabertooth Detail

Chimp, Hyena, Sabertooth Detail

I put some more work into the chimp, hyena and sabertooth.

I smoothed out the chimp’s beret, giving it a velvety quality and texture. I also focused on his face and hand. I looked at how Lawson Wood painted his chimps. I used some of what I picked up from Wood then combined it with my own particular vision of how I wanted this to appear.

I tightened up the hyena a bit, deciding to make him pleasingly plump. I added the rest of his spots. He’s my favorite creature in the painting. I can’t help but grin when I look at his self-satisfied (and very human) smile.

I chose to overlap the sabertooth’s right saber tooth (on the picture’s left) over the hyena’s shoulder. If you look carefully, you can see that I still need to add some more opaque paint to this tooth as you can still see a faint shadow of the shoulder coming through the bottom half of the tooth.

Chameleon Detail

Chameleon Detail

I started refining the Jackson’s chameleon a bit, too.

Tomorrow: More of this Boring Detail Stuff! Woo hoo!

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