Fox Painting in Acrylics – Preparation

I want to make a traditional painting of a fox in acrylics.  I dreamed the other day of what it might look like.  I want the fox to be painted in a mosaic or complex modern stained-glass style and I want the background, free, painterly and quite colourful.  I want it to be at dusk because foxes are often crepuscular (they prefer to be out at dawn and dusk).  I imagine this painting is going to be a way of getting into acrylic painting again rather than somthing which sill stand on it’s own as a piece of art.  Nevertheless – I really want to give it a try.

So to start this project the first thing I need to do is some basic sketching and playing around with colours.  I sketched a few things in pencil and then copied my best one into a digital sketch in Manga Studio.  From this I developed a basic black outline which I will use in my painting.  Then I began playing around with colour.

Since a fox is usually mainly orange I decided to use blue for my shadows as this is opposite on the colour wheel and should look cool.

So this is my rough colour sketch of the fox with the outline in black:

Basic baseThis kind of gives me a map of how I want the colours to go as well as the general direction of my fox sketch.

Then I pulled the image into Photoshop (PS) because PS has a ‘Stained-Glass’ texture effect I can use.  (This compares to a mosaic effect in Manga Studio which is not as good.)  I ran the stained glass effect about 20 times until I got it to look roughly how I wanted it and even then I manually adjusted some of the sections to get the colours I needed.

This is what that looked like:

FoxwithStainedGlassEffectThen I had some brilliant fun messing about with a background.  I wanted to maintain the limited pallete I’d used with the fox, but extend it just a little to give more blues and some red.

This is my simple background:

RoughBackgroundOne of the things I love about preparing to paint traditionally using digital technology to try things out is that I can seperate the layers and get a good look at the background I’ll be painting first.  It’s so helpful as a basis for getting going  and makes things much easier because I then have fewer mistakes as I work on the actual painting (although I still have some!!!)

So here is my digital ‘pre-painting’ which shows me, roughly, what I’m aiming for:

CathedralFoxAtDusk_WEBI’m going to call it Cathedral Fox at Dusk because the stained glass effect reminds me of cathedrals where there are often foxes about at dusk and dawn.  I expect when I paint it for real I’ll make each section of stained glass bigger and I might blend the colours through the sections a little.  I also want to make the colours of the fox brighter than the background so he stands out (though he’s sitting but I hope you know what I mean).  If all goes well I’ll get the background painted tomorrow.  Yippee!!!!!!!  (I always get really excited using paint – I love the smell of the brushes and the way the paint goes all over me and the feeling of putting it on the canvas.)

(All Images unless otherwise explicitly stated are © Jo Fox, 2015)


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