After setting the raccoon aside I looked through the reference photos I had been collecting and considered either this lamb or a fox. Both are very appealing and I may end up doing both, but for now I chose the lamb.
There are several challenges in this piece. First of all, the eyes are closed. Without the eyes it can be difficult to generate interest in the viewer, but I think the body language in this pose says a lot – the natural innocence of a young animal combined with the constant wariness of a animal that others would like to make a meal of. Second, the pose itself. It will be very important to correctly portray the various parts of the legs to make this complex pose look natural. Of course the all white fur is also a challenge and invites “pushing color,” especially since the background is so much brown grass and hay. In the reference photo the entire background is the brown hay. But I’m planning to change it so that the lamb is lying in a pile of hay that is lying on the grass. Some green will be showing through and add some much needed color.
This is the first layer. The drawing is somewhat complex so I had some important decisions to make in choosing the paper. I wanted to use pastel pencils in the first layer to preserve the lines and small details in the drawing. When I did the parrots I used a sanded paper and the pastel pencils transferred pigment very nicely to this paper. On the other hand, I could never manage glazes in later stages. I believe that glazes will be very important in this piece, so in the end I decided to stick with velour paper, and chose this buff color for warmth.
Now that I am finally back to the animal paintings I intend to proceed full speed ahead and finish my application paintings by the April 15th deadline with only minimal and manageable distractions!