Beginning Tinkerbelle

After much fussing around with beads, wire, gourds, and polymer clay I am finally back to painting.   This is the beginning of what I hope will be my entry in this year’s Society of Feline Artists show.

The show is in London and that fact has definitely affected my choice of medium.  This shot of Tinkerbelle shows her fabulous fur with light guard hairs crossing and re-crossing from her belly poof (technical term for fluffy belly hair) over  her shoulder, legs, and cheek.  Ordinarilly I would chose pastel for this portrait because it lends itself so well to drawing those light hairs over darker backgrounds.  And despite its opacity, pastel colors are gorgeously rich.

But if all goes according to plan I will be shipping this painting to London and I would be fearful of the condition in which a pastel painting would arrive at its destination.  So, I’ve settled on the acrylic technique I learned in Carel Brest van Kempen’s class last October.  Actually, I shouldn’t presume to say I’ve “learned” the technique – I’m just in the process of learnig it.  The more I work with this technique the more it seems like drawing in paint since so much of the work is done with a tiny liner brush.
My first painting step was the background and I had a terrible time with it.  I wanted to build up beautiful color with transparent washes, but the paper (I’m using illustration board) took the paint soooo unevenly.  I had a splotchy mess.  Adding more glazes just seemed to make the splotches even more pronounced.  Although I really wanted transparent color I felt I really had no choice but to try to cover up the splotches with more opaque paint.  Here’s where I ended up.  The splotches still show through, but they are subdued and, in the end, I like the look – accident though it was.
I am working this painting differently than I usually do.  Rather than working the first layer over the entire piece, then the second layer over the entire piece, and so on, I’m working one section to near completion before starting on the next.  That’s because of how the fine fur overlays itself.  So I am working in sections beginning with the one farthest from the viewer.  This way the hairs on the edges of a forward section (such as the shoulder) will be painted over the section “behind” it (such as the face).
So far so good, I think, but it’s quite challenging!  

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