Jane High

Bespoke Animal Portraits

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This Giraffe portrait titled ‘Vulnerable’ is the last in a trilogy using the same support and colour hues.  Even though I had painted two other views of  Giraffes this portrait proved to be the most challenging as a face on view is always more difficult to master than a side on view because the features need to be projected  forward to avoid a foreshortened or stunted image.

As previously the support used was a Pébéo 3D Naturel Linen canvas with a slight textured fleck, I chose this as I wanted to refrain from adding a background so as to direct the eye directly to the subject.  Also the warmth of a natural canvas avoided creating a harsh image.

I approached this portrait by blocking out the relevant parts of the face and neck using light and dark shades in order to build up the bone structure.  Gradually I built up the features with thin glazes of alkyds using a limited palette of six colours plus white, paying particular attention to the outside edge of the subject to avoid gradually distorting the image by over painting.

Finally the canvas was coated with a matt varnish to protect the paint and enhance the colours adding a subtle sheen.

This portrait has been selected by the Society of  Women Artists and will be displayed in their 2012  exhibition at  the Mall Galleries from 28th June to 7th July 2012.