1 March 2017

Trying

As a gesture of international goodwill, I am trying to  make a picture for my favourite German blogger - Ms Meike Riley from Ludwigsburg, Baden Württemberg. As she is a foxy lady, she naturally wants a picture of a fox 

It's not easy. I am referring to a photo of Fred Fox who used to visit our garden until his health visibly deteriorated - before no doubt he shuffled off his mortal and travelled to Fox Heaven.

First of all, I drew an outline of Fred. Then very carefully I used masking tape to cover his shape...
Then I washed over the masking tape and did my best to produce a textured garden lawn background before drying the picture and removing the masking tape...
Now I was ready to start on Fred. Please remember that I am not trying to reproduce the photograph in paint. My final picture will be an artistic interpretation of the base image. Even so I found myself really concentrating on Fred's shape. I was thinking about his limbs and muscles as well as what was going on with his hind legs. It wasn;t easy.

I learnt a lot by attempting this picture but I am not entirely happy with it - the relative positions and shapes of the ears, the delicate detail of the eyes, the lighting of the fur from the left. I think I can do better so what I am showing you now is  just a first draft...
On Thursday or Friday, I plan to try again. Maybe next time I will dispense with the grassy background and just plant Fred on plain paper. As you can see... I am, as my mother often said, trying.

29 comments:

  1. What happened to Fred in profile from mid-February? You didn't tear it up did you?
    This repeat painting of the same subject reminds me of painters of old who used to do repeat paintings if a subject was popular. This was well before printing and photography and mass reproduction of landscapes and portraits did away with that idea.

    Alphie

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    1. Princess Meike wanted a whole fox - not just a head in profile. As soon as I have finished these fox pictures I am moving on to female nudes and you Alphie have won the lottery to be my first model! Congratulations!

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  2. Artistic bugger you!

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    1. Not sure if that's a compliment or an angry outburst.

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  3. Fred looks pretty good to me!
    When I was in primary school I was required to make a papier mache puppet. It started as a fox and ended as a kangaroo!

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    1. Now you come to mention it the colouring and head shape of the fox is similar to the kangaroo.

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  4. I'd be quite happy to produce that painting! Alas, the more talent one has, the more one expects of oneself.

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    1. I don't think human beings ever achieve perfection and that dissatisfaction is part of what drives us forward.

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  5. You nay be a trying person but your trying with the picture was a good effort.

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    1. Thank you Mr Kline! May I have a gold star for the wallchart?

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  6. You might not love it, but I do. I am reading this on a small tablet, so had to scroll down to see Brer Fox, and my smile nearly broke my face apart!

    Jolly well done, Mr Pud. Don't change a thing.

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    1. You are like Moses with your tablet Rozzie. Thank you.

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  7. I loved the last one you showed us, too! They both look really good.

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  8. I think you've done very well, Yorkie, and I can see no good reason why you would want to do away with the grassy backdrop. For what it's worth, I like it as it is.

    Well done. :)

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    1. Your verdict means more than most as you have tried your hand at artistry. Thanks Georgie Girl!

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    2. I disagree, politely, with those who want Fred centred. That would be too "posed"...by having Fred positioned as you have makes him real.

      Fred was a sad old fellow who tore at one's heart strings - well, he did mine, anyway; and I loved him. His hard life always showed in his eyes in the photos you took of him...the dear old fellow. I think you've honoured Fred well, in this painting and in the other one you've painted.

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  9. It's very good YP.
    If I may make a suggestion, it would be to put a soft green wash over where you've left the paper almost blank. It looks like a strip of sunshine in the pic. on your computer? I think it detracts from the main subject, which is excellent. I love to see the art work that other people do, as it can be such a solitary hobby.

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    1. Thank you for that observation CG. Putting Fred on a plain background will do away with that sunlight issue you correctly noticed.

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  10. It is 10 times better than I could do, but I think you can improve it. I like the grassy background and the eyes are beautiful, but I think he would look better a bit nearer the centre of the picture with his tail a bit less prominent...maybe curled round a bit more behind him? Also, disregarding the photo a bit more, you could give him more red foxy colouring. There .....my first critique of a painting.... What do I know!!

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    1. I appreciate your frank comments Frances. Thank you. With the tail - that's just how he was standing in our garden but I know what you mean - it does put him off-centre.

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  11. More praise from the Hebrides too. Personally I like the grassy background.

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    1. Thanks Graham. You are very kind sir.

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  12. I think I agree with Frances. He looks a little timid off-centre. Maybe the tail could curl behind him to the rear of the picture, if you know what I mean. Otherwise, I am impressed.

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    1. Perhaps oddly I feel I have to be true to the original image and to Fred's memory. Besides, I wouldn't want my tail curled behind me by an artist.

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  13. Correction: It wasn't that I insisted on a whole fox, I still think the head is wonderful!
    To have the "full" Fred on my wall is even better, though. Your new picture is great, although Fred's facial expression looks a bit... I don't know, sad? harrassed? scared? I like to imagine he felt a lot more relaxed when he was enjoying a break in your garden.

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    1. As it happens, he usually did look rather downcast. It can't be easy eking out an existence in the suburbs. When I make the next picture he'll have a red nose and a clown's grinning mouth.

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  14. Mr. Pud,
    I find your Mr. Tod's eyes compelling - a nice fit with Fred's wary being. At the same time you've caught something of his fragility. (The word pathos comes to mind.) Well done - and carry on, Sir. McGregor

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    1. Thank you for your thoughtful observations McGregor.

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Mr Pudding welcomes all genuine comments - even those with which he disagrees. However, puerile or abusive comments from anonymous contributors will continue to be given the short shrift they deserve. Any spam comments that get through Google/Blogger defences will also be quickly deleted.