My next red stag piece and I knew I had to call it this recently when that Neil Young tune came on the radio. It made me go home and search out the most golden sunlit stag reference I had to create this. Hope you enjoy his progress.
|The finished painting ‘Hart of Gold’ 19″x19″ pastel on velour|
I’m cosy beside the fire having chosen the stag reference to use and I’m sketching out the deer here using a mechanical pencil and normal cartridge paper. I’m drawing him to scale to work on my 19″ square.
This is my sketch transferred onto the light yellow paper. I simply cover the back of my pencil sketch with black pastel, rub it all over the back and blow any excess pastel dust away. Then I tape it over the velour board and go over my lines with a pencil or a biro. It leaves a faint line and I go back over this with a pastel pencil and at this stage I can tweak the drawing a little if there are any changes to be made.
Starting to block in the main areas of the background. I’m using the same palette of about 20 colours I used in the previous two Wintery stag paintings. While they all look different I do want the colours to work together as well.
Building up the mid to light tones gradually creating the light and shadow.
A bit more detail worked over the background but leaving it as loose as possible. I continually blend and blur the background softening the effect as much as possible.
Working my way down the stag’s head. It is the same palette as the background.
I try to make every edge of the deer, either light or shadow, have an area of complimentary colour behind it. If the background is a good contrast in colour to the deer he will really stand out.
I was invited to do a demo at Carrickfergus art club and this is the stage at which I bring him.
Sometimes it’s nice to have something in progress for a demo. I try to bring paintings along at different stages each time to show what is quite a long process of many hours.
I’ve managed to get a good covering of his body showing how I layer up very small marks to create a deep looking fur coat. I’ve left myself about one more day’s work finishing off the coat and his legs.
|Close up detail|