As part of my big cat series I could not resist producing this lion in chase. It is running and turning at full pelt with a deadly focus in its eyes. You can assume it’s next meal is close. It is not often I get a chance to take a break in my pet portrait work, which is amazing as I appreciate all my clients so much, but it is wonderful to get the opportunity to concentrate on a piece of art that is totally different for me.
I found the gorgeous reference photo on this website Wildlife Reference Photos
It is a great resource for artists looking for copyright reference photographs. You pay a small fee for each image or pay for a subscription whereby you can download 5 images for $10. Each photograph can be then used to create an original piece of artwork, from which you can sell the original, prints, cards and other things completely copyright free. The only thing they don’t allow is use of the image in it’s original format. It is even has a good selection of dog, cat and horse references if you want to practice your pet portraits!
I think you can probably see why I was attracted to this young lion cub. The movement is fabulous and he looks intent on chasing something. Hence the title. I changed the background from grass to these deep browns and reds. I am not really sure why, I just felt they would make him stand out more. It wasn’t necessarily my aim to keep the background 100% true to life and I am glad I didnt. The same applies to my pet portraits, background can be changed easily to either remove distracting or ugly scenes or to put in a scene where there isn’t one. I don’t have to be a slave to the reference photo, you can find out more in the blog about taking photos for your pet portraits.
I want my wildlife work to tell stories like this about the animal whether it’s blatantly obvious like ‘Deadly Intent’ or more subtle, challenging the viewer to work out what is going on in the painting. For example my piece ‘Double Trouble’ of two lions peering out of the grass. Are they just content in the evening sun or have they spotted their next meal? Or ‘On the prowl’ – is the leopard actually hunting or returning from the kill? I think the former.
I will be producing more animal wildlife work in this series that tell stories. I think the next may quite possibly continue down the African wildlife theme, so many other beautiful creatures from around the planet to choose from. Keep an eye out on my twitter account and Facebook page. In the mean time keep up to date with my current commissions in my blog or view the varies pet portrait galleries