Raccoon in the Rough

I finally got started on the second of five animal  paintings that I will need for my application to the Society of Animal Artists.  The application is due April 15 so I have a challenge in front of me.  The first painting is the portrait of Rudy that I completed last month.

I am working from a very poor quality snapshot of a young raccoon sitting on a window ledge.  The pose caught my eye and I am hoping that I can use other reference photos of raccoons in different poses to fill in the blanks, of which there are many.

Instead of having her sit on a window ledge, she will be sitting in front of an old weathered door.

Here’s the drawing, ready to transfer to the pastel paper.  I chose a light warm buff color paper, hoping that it would give the entire piece a warm feeling.

My first step was to simply rough in the main colors to begin to get some sense of what’s what.  On the raccoon, I used slightly different colors of brown to try to preserve the disctinction between different areas in the drawing.  It’s somewhat frustrating that in this medium once the drawing is covered up it’s gone forever (unlike acrylics or oils where I can re-transfer parts of the drawing over pieces I may be having trouble with).

I know I want a blue door, but am undecided on the shade of blue.  I’m leaning to a slightly more turquoise look, and of course more weathered.  Right away, I see that I’m not happy with the color of the bricks and am considering changing them to yellow bricks, but I’m not sure.  Yellow would look so good with the blue door, but the color may be too distracting.

I notice that the size of the bricks makes the raccoon look very small.  The raccoon is a young one, but this one would only be about 10″ tall sitting with the brick size as it is.  Hmmmm.

I also need to really be straight about the light source.  In the photo it’s coming from the front and to the right.  The problem is that then the face is in shadow.  On the other hand, it’s tricky to change the light source from the photo reference.  Perhaps if I just have if coming from straighter in front it would work.

When I’m nearly finished I’ll consider having some weeds in the foreground or perhaps coming up through cracks in the concrete or bricks.

I have a real long way to go on this one, but it will be fun with all the textures.


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