Jane High

Bespoke Animal Portraits

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I was inspired to produce this portrait after viewing a  photograph taken by my talented brother once again!   After planning out the preliminary drawing I decided that a trilogy of Giraffes would be a challenge and so began the first in a series of three.

When considering the subject I decided not to include a background as I felt it would confuse the image, I wanted to focus directly on the Giraffe and produce a clean structure.   I chose a Pébéo 3D Linen Naturel canvas which had a slightly textured surface and a fleck   sympathetic to the Giraffe’s colouring.

Firstly I applied diluted base colours using alkyds and working within a limited pallette of colours, six in all plus white.  I then worked on the key markings on the head and blocked out the dark areas of the ears, eyes and nostrils to give definition.  Base colours were then applied to the neck and facial markings were then built up increasing the strength of colour while developing the details and textures.  The next stage was to complete the neck by adding the markings with diluted base colours and gradually increasing the strength of mixes whilst working the paint to create texture.  Subtle shadows and highlights were burnished to create the structure of the neck and markings were blended to give a soft edge.  Finally details were added to the head using a fine brush to paint the eyelashes and hairs protruding around the brows, lip and chin.

The last stage to protect the canvas and preserve the colours was to apply a matt varnish.