Now I’m nearly done painting the frog. The head is finished, as is the arm at the top of the picture. The legs and other arm I left partially finished to show the process I used to paint the frog’s markings.
The first step is shown in the leg that is lowest in the photo. I’ve painted the top side green and the under side cream. The only thing I’ve been somewhat careful about is the transition between the two colors, making sure it’s right down the side. The green paint is pretty splotchy but it doesn’t matter. In fact, it’s good because in the end it will give the markings more variation.
The arm, next higher in the photo, shows the second step. I’ve used a medium brown to paint in the major markings. I used an old, small round bristle brush and a tapping stroke to get very uneven edges to my strokes. Notice that on the larger makings I’ve left the centers green, and that on the leg the rings are elongated all across the front of the leg, almost looking like stripes. I’ve used photos of leopard frogs for reference.
The next step, shown on the leg that’s second from the top, is to add washes – burnt sienna over both the upper and lower sides, and a tiny bit of yellow here and there over the green side for a bit more color variation. The burnt sienna wash on the lower, cream-colored side is very light, just giving a hint of a bit more warmth. It’s a bit heavier, and more uneven, on the green side. Here the burnt sienna serves to tone down the green, since burnt sienna is a reddish brown and therefore a near compliment to the green.
The final step, shown in the top arm, is to add more color and texture. I darkened the rings with burnt umber then again with a bit of dark burnt umber here and there. Each time I added a darker color, I confined it to the center area of the lighter color Iwas painting over. I added a few splotches of a very light yellow green on the green side of the ankles/wrists and hands/feet. I also added uneven stripes of small splotches along the center of each digit to heighten the modeling effect. Then I used the tip of my liner brush to add small dots. On the green side, I used burnt umber and a metallic yellow green and metallic rust. On the cream side, I just used burnt umber.
Throughout the painting I was intentionally pretty sloppy as I’m striving for an organic look. Painting in layers this way, the whole thing looks pretty bad until the very end when things fall into place.