In the last year, my goal as an artist has been to move away from more tightly rendered, realistic portraits, and towards looser, more painterly, bolder pieces that are (hopefully) still able to relay the animal’s emotion.
This has been a very tough habit for me to break.
It's feels more like "un-learning" something than trying to do something new. Which, it turns out, is both weird and uncomfortable.
But last month’s 30/30 painting challenge turned out to be a great way to practice feeling weird and uncomfortable (as did my last video Q & A if you missed it)! For 30 days in a row, I attempted to push a little further past the OCD muscle memory in my hands—the ones that want to get every little detail perfect—and just allow my brushwork to loosen up.
And now, with African Buffalo, I feel I finally came a little closer to the vision that I've had for my work for a while.
I've also been experimenting with what's called a "limited palette," which I haven't done for YEARS. It's about working with only a few colors, which can help prevent the painting from getting too muddy. I usually put every color of the skittle rainbow on my palette, but I'm starting to appreciate the effect of working with less.
And is it just me, or do I have a thing for horns lately?
Speaking of horns, have you ever seen Watusi bulls? The is the famous Mr. Lurch, the African Watusi bull. He won't be on my easel any time soon as I don't believe any painting could do this spectacular animal justice, but I thought he was worth sharing...
One last note on this week's animal subject...
I thought I was painting an African Water Buffalo when working on this piece. But what I actually painted was a African Buffalo, which is not a water buffalo at all (like the Wild Asian Water Buffalo), it's actually a type of bovine. Who knew?
So even when I'm painting Buffalos, I'm painting cows. Apparently my love for cows will never cease. Which is fine with me.
Until the next painting, thanks so much for reading...