In addition to birds, I also love to paint wild mammals and am very grateful for friends who share their photos and give me permission to use them as references. Being given a photo to use as a reference is like being offered candy– I can hardly wait to dive in and start painting it.
I crawled on my belly through the tall grass in my yard to get the photo I used as a reference for this White-tailed Deer fawn. I ended up with scratches and grass stains but a triumphant feeling, as I got to about 12 feet from the fawn– close enough to see every little flicker of his eye and nostril.
I did this giraffe using a photo by Debbie Schiff, who recently took an exciting trip through the bush in South Africa. The bird on the giraffe’s neck is a Red-billed Oxpecker, which pecks ticks off the large mammals in Africa, but also apparently does a significant amount of damage to the animals by pecking at their flesh to get fresh blood.
Yesterday I was feeling down and decided to paint an elephant, since I find them easy and relaxing to paint. Somehow the painting ended up reflecting my mood by emerging as a dejected, sad-looking elephant. The reference for this painting is a photo by Stephie Haddon.Today I was feeling more cheerful, and I painted this Nyala calf from another photo by Debbie Schiff. I was trying to paint more loosely, except for a couple of areas I wanted to emphasize with detailed work.