This project is one I’ve been excited about sharing. My friend and artist Tammy Nguyen, who is based in New York, asked me to contribute to ‘Martha’s Quarterly’ a quarterly subscription of four handmade artist books a year. My brief was to create a small painting of a fennec fox. I was told that the importance should lie in the lighting which should try to convey the heat and brightness of the animals’ habitat.
My submission ‘The Desert Fox’ 6″ x 6″ soft pastel
I needed to keep the piece small so decided to focus on just his face. It felt right to make those ears prominent as they serve to dissipate heat.
I thought about colours which showed a glowing heat. A white heat that simmers. Saving all the most vibrant colours for inside the ears I used a palette of mostly yellows and lilacs throughout with some punches of orange and red.
Here are a few of the shades I’ve used to build up the fur. My smallest shards of pastel are useful here as the piece is a tiny 6″. It makes a pleasant change to work on something you can complete in one afternoon!
I use a little pastel pencil for the detail in the eyes and nose. Once I’ve got the fox finished I begin to work some more colour into the background creating a rough gradient.
While I was working on foxy, we happened to be parked up in Tarifa, the most Southerly tip of Spain. From here you can see Morocco which is a mere 20km away. On our Spanish side it was hot, and the cacti plants were everywhere. It made the perfect inspiration whilst working on this and I thought I’d take a quick picture of my desert fox next the cacti.
Here are a few pictures of Tammy’s finished book. I was thrilled to find my image used on the cover! The book utilizes risograph, digital, and letterpress printing. Tammy also binds each book by hand so it really is a labour of love with the artist’s touch present in every process.
Check out this link to read more about Tammy’s work and to get yourself a copy of ‘Skyglow and the Desert Fox.’ http://www.passengerpigeonpress.com/
Tammy is such an inspiring artist who work in many mediums. Her printing and book binding skills are what attracts me most though and it’s been a real privilage to be involved in this Spring issue of Martha’s Quarterly!