Sparkle Returns

This is my second painting of our beloved tame fox squirrel, Sparkle.  And I hope she will return in real life as she is returning on paper.  She was badly wounded last fall in some sort of incident, losing two fingers on her front right paw and getting a big nasty gash on her neck.  The last time we saw her she looked otherwise healty – plump and her fur had a nice sheen.  But it’s been a long time since we’ve seen her, perhaps as long as two months.  I’m hoping that she’s holed up with babies, but there are other very unhappy scenarios and we just don’t know.  So, for now at least, I must be content with remembering her.

I took these photos of her back in July of 2009.  Shelley and I were working in the garden and Sparkle came over to beg a treat.  Then she sat on top of this fence post watching us and enjoying her nuts.  I got several good photos of her.  The sun was behind her and lit up her tail gloriously.  The photo I am working from for this one is badly blurred.  But I can pick out enough information about the pose then fill in details from referencing the other photos I took that day.

So this is part of the first layer.  I’m working on light gray velour paper with pastel pencils.  Last week I got some new pencils I had ordered, Stabilo Carbothello, and they are sufficiently soft to lay down a pretty good amount of pigment on this paper.  As is usual for my first layer, I’m primarily concerned with setting down some base color while preserving my lines.  Her tail is fanned dramatically over her and I can’t wait to get to that part.  But first I need to do the sky behind her and I’m trying to think of something a little different than just blue, but something that is still simple.  Since the view in this painting is of such a small area – anything but panoramic – fancy cloud patterns are out.  But I still want something distinctive.  So that’s my homework assignment for tonight, then back to Sparkle tomorrow.

By the way, it seems that nice beiges are so hard to come by in pastels or pastel pencils and it’s frustrating.

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