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Pastel Painting: Red-necked wallaby

We kind of have an informal rule, Laura and I, that we have to select one of our photos from each of our camping trips to use as the basis for a painting.

There are two problems with this. The first is that Laura is now working full time, and coping with other activities, and finds it difficult to make time for art. She has no shame, though, about applying the rule to me, which brings me to the other problem.

When I look through my photos, I can always find a lot more than one that I would like to use for a painting. So then I choose a number of photos and try to cull them which takes an inordinate amount of time (in Laura's mind). So she starts nagging, "Come on, Mum, just choose one!".

Well I like each painting to represent a challenge in some way - to force me to have to cope with doing something new. One of the reasons that I chose this photo is that I haven't painted a mammal since my very first painting of a brush-tailed possum, 35 or so years ago. Could I cope with painting fur, instead of feathers? I liked the slightly off-balance, inquisitive pose of this little female red-neck, with a very full pouch!

I cropped the photo so that the mass of the lawn on the right balanced (I thought) the bulk of the wallaby's body on the left, and drew up a grid over the top.

You will notice that I have put finer divisions in the grid in the areas where I would need details to be accurate.

I chose a dark green paper, 50 x 70 cm for the painting. I drew up a grid on greaseproof paper to match the scale of the painting, and used it to put dots on the green paper, at the corners of the squares, in the same way as I had done with other paintings (see previous "Pastel Painting" posts).

I find that the grid helps to keep the painting accurate in the details, without inhibiting, too much, my freedom to paint the picture the way that I want to. Once I have in sufficient detail I hide the grid on my laptop.

First, I sketched the outline, and then added a bit of dark colour into some of the shadow areas of the wallaby.

Then I added orange red to warm up the highlights, and blue into some of the shadows, both on the wallaby and the grass.

On the right I have started blocking in colours on the wallaby, and have added light and dark pink to the grass areas to enliven the shadow areas, a bit.

Here I have worked at adding light colour to the grass and detail to the face.

And here is a larger image of the face, so far.

In the photo below I have begun adding in texture to the fur.

I think it was at about this point that Joe said to me that really he had liked it better in its blue and red stage!

More detail.

And this is where I have stopped with this painting.

I really rather like it. Even Joe says he likes it now.

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