Mar 1, 2018

Painting Soft and Fluffy Birds & Animals Part 2 - Painting & Drawing Tips


Are your birds and animals . . .Soft and Fluffy?

As a wildlife artist, birds and animals are my main concern. But as I started to work on this series of posts I realized that 'Soft and Fluffy" is more than just bird's feathers and animal fur.  It is about so many things: fabric, flowers, moss, leaves, faces. . .  It is a big part of Art Making, whether realistic or abstract.

CHECKING OUT THE NEIGHBOURHOOD -  $225 matted to 11 x 14
Available at my Etsy Shop: WendyMouldsArt  
Creating 'Soft and Fluffy" things is like any new thing I focus on in my art.  Once I realize it is there, suddenly I start to see it everywhere!!

Soft and Fluffy for me is all about Values and Edges (See my last post How to Draw/Paint Fur that is Soft and Fluffy ) My latest picture "Checking Out the Neighbourhood" seemed to be full of  my thoughts on how tonal values create that 'soft and fluffy' feel. So I decided to use it.  Usually I relate tonal values to gray scales. But I found the concept of tonal values in colour was not an easy transition for me.  It is more than just making the green darker or lighter.

Creating a Soft, Feathery Bird: 
Picture Detail: note the different values in my Woodpecker
Take a close look at my Pileated Woodpecker.  BTW I was thrilled to see him in our backyard.  We sometimes get the smaller Hairy and Downy Woodpeckers but the big Pileated Woodpecker is a truly rare sight. We are in the suburbs of Vancouver, not in a rural area surrounded by trees.

When you see the gray-scale version of my painting you can see the layers of values that sculpture his shape.  There is the small areas of Black (10) in the shadow areas and the tiny area of White (1) by his beak, where the sunlight catches him in the shadows.  But elsewhere you can see Values of 2 & 3 on his back on the right, 7, 8 & 9 on the wing area on the right and several values in between.  Note even the "White" area has several values.  Some I would even call a Value of 1.5.  

For me the other important thing is the colour.  When I first started to paint I knew about the values from my drawing but didn't realize how to make them in colour.  I just used more paint, same colour to get it darker.  That really didn't make it interesting or alive.  I began to experiment with colour and values and as you can see now the "black's"of my woodpecker have all kinds of colours in them.  (See my post Values & Colour in Action for more information on this.)

Creating Soft, Fluffy Moss: 
Picture Detail: Soft, fluffy moss covers the branches of the Maple Trees in our yard
Looking at the Gray-scale closeup of the moss you can see the many different values that break up the mass.  This gives a sense of dense softness. Again, a variety of colours were used.  Warm and cold greens but also yellows and reds and browns.  When you look at moss it is not just one colour, it reflects the colours around it as well as the colours in it.

As you build up your values, try challenging yourself to introduce other colours.  At first it felt strange to me but once I let it dry and stepped back, I could see that it really did work.

Is it hard to get a 'soft, fluffy' feel to your subject material?  What do you find works for you?

In my next post I want to take a closer look at the other side of the equation - Using Edges to make Soft and Fluffy Birds & Animals.

Values and Edges don't work alone, remember to use a little HocuPocus in Your Work too.

Opportunities Happening now: 

Drop-In & Draw Sessions: 
Tuesdays: Mar 6 & 20,   Mondays: April 2, 16 & 30- 10-12pm or 1-3pm
Expressions Art Gallery, 227 & Lougheed Hwy, Maple Ridge.  
Choose a morning or afternoon session. Bring your sketchbook or your project and come draw.  I will be happy to give you a few pointers as you work on a drawing.  $15 Pre-Register Required. Contact Wendy Here

Good Follow-Up Session to the Marketing Workshop: 
April 9 - Building Your Online Presence with Wendy Mould, AFCA 6-8pm. Federation Gallery, Vancouver, BC. $20 nonmembers $15 members.

Looking for more Drawing Tips, check out these popular posts from the latest Drawing Series.  
How to Find Your Starting Point in a Drawing - here
4 Ways to Grow the Sketchbook Habit - here
Get Those Values Working for you - here

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Have a great Artful Day,

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