Years ago, with a little instruction from my favourite wildlife artist Clare Shaughnessy, I began an oil painting of a wolf taken from a photograph in a book about these wonderful creatures. The wolf stands at a river’s edge, looking almost apologetic as it looks away from the camera, a scattering of autumn leaves breaking up it’s dim reflection in the water before it. I thought it was a beautiful image and decided to have ago.
For one reason or another, it took me years to carry on with it and it was only last year I picked it up again, but I was getting increasingly pissed off with the material I was painting on (hardboard). It’s texture was way too rough and I longed for the smoother surface of proper canvas. So, it got left again.
Now I’m in amidst my last project for the Art & Design course I’m doing, I’ve decided to try again, but this time on a larger scale and with canvas. Below, I’ve put up here a few of the sketches I’ve done for it. I’ve tried a few different ideas and it’s even edged into Wolf Brother territory.
Even though the original photo is set in the autumn, this is more like spring or summer. I had meant to do it more ‘autumny’ but I….erm….forgot. I love the reds and yellows and browns of autumn leaves against a blue sky. One of nature’s little wonders.
The colours here are more in line with the photo and I even remembered to add some leaves in the water (the only time I did!). I tried a more landscape picture than portrait but, although I liked the skecth, it missed having the reflection.
A night-time one which didn’t do much for me. It just would have been good to have a glowing eye as wolves do in the moonlight 🙂
Originally, I wanted to do a painting along the lines of John Waterhouse but then I’d probably need a model and props and all that kind of stuff; it’d take too long. Having not long read the above mentioned Wolf Brother, I did think of adding in Renn, a red-haired girl the kind of which Waterhouse would have been drawn to. But again, time dictated otherwise.
One thing that had crossed my mind (even my tutor mentioned it) and fit in with Wolf Brother was adding a few ravens, after Rip and Rek who become a part of Renn and Torak’s life. In the above sketch, I added one raven, thinking maybe two would be too much. I think the final painting will be more like this sketch than any of the others but I’m not sure if the raven in it draws the eye too much because of it’s blackness, as does the fallen tree (behind the wolf) and it’s reflection.
I did do a sketch with Renn, Rip, Rek and Wolf in it but I wasn’t happy with it (so you won’t be seeing it on here ;)).
Anyway, I’m sure the painting will all come together at some point.