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.’

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!