I was asked to paint a wolf which is an animal I’ve never painted.  I tend to stay closer to home and stick with animals I can get good photo reference of.  I asked for the help of wildlife artist Vic Bearcroft who has painted wolves many times and has direct access to them.  He supplied me with some great reference and the client chose the one below.  It was then a case of finding a suitable backdrop and I veered away from the often used cliff top and used a forest setting for this howling wolf.

The finished painting. Pastel on velour 19″x12″


The reference photo I worked from for this gorgeous wolf.
I liked how there was a hint of back lighting on the coat which I’ve
exaggerated in the painting to make him really stand out.


Using the light grey velour as my mid toned paper.  I’ve sketched
in the wolf and some of the trees.  I’m planning on keeping the background
very blurry and distant to draw the eye more to the foreground.


Using a nice pale peachy colour with light yellows to create the warm light.
I put a bit of this in the background although I will strengthen up
these light areas when I know where it will shine through
the leaves.



Working light to dark on the leaves as the outer leaves are in sunlight
and the shaded leaves underneath are darker


Some foreground detail going on.  Small dots of reds and oranges
against green make the forest floor look littered with autumn
coloured leaves.





Ready to begin the wolf and the first thing I’ve
done is to pick out the bright highlight which I will
strengthen again and again as I progress.


Starting to work on the fur texture with the darks.




I’ve found it so difficult to not use any blue or purple
in this piece as those are normally my favourite shadow
colours.  But I really wanted this piece to have a warm
glow as if seen through tinted sunglasses.
So I’m using all the colours I’ve used in the background to
make up the wolf’s tones.




Starting to get a sense of the deep fur now…a bit more tweaking
and layering and that will be him!

Hope you enjoyed the progress of my painting.  Be sure to call back for more work in progress. 🙂