Playing with ideas for a painting of a leopard.
During my stay in South Africa I enjoyed trying to caapture colour and light for a variety of subjects. All artists appreciate painting moving subjects can be difficult if not impossible at times. So aiming to paint a small section well is wiser than trying to paint the whole animal. These collections of small studies can often lead to far more successful results when painting from a photograph of the same subject at a later stage in the peaceful surroundings of a studio.
I looked closely at eyes of a number of animals and also concentrated on their expression. Wariness, uncertainty and always a constant sense of being vigilant was evident in most of the creatures that live in the wild fighting for survival. The haze of the heat often confused the eye into what you can and cannot really see. This affected my selection and placement of colour greatly.
"Building Up the Face Section but minus the final detail"
Sitting with Cheetah, touching their fur gently, studying their actions and behaviour really has given me an insight into how I wish to portray big cats in my watercolours. What frightens me most of all isn't aiming for a successful painting and then not being happy with the result. My biggest fear is that one day all we will have is photographs and paintings of beautiful creatures that once roamed this planet freely. Creatures who are at risk of disappearing forever.
The thought really is very hard to come to terms with.