Camels in Egypt
From Barb's blog,
Jo and I have selected one of her Egyptian photos of camels to paint.
I have wanted to paint these beautiful animals since I first saw Jo's photos.
The camels' colourful blankets give the painting vibrancy and the soft focus pyramids in the background complete the picture
Well, when we call them my photos,
Glenn my husband is the photographer, so thanks to hubby : )
We eventually decided on 2 photos,
1 of the pyramids and one of
2 camels at Petra which I then put together.
We roughly sketched a suitable composition on paper first.
I then went to Australia Zoo to gather more detailed photos of the camels.
I decided to use a board that had a hessian look
My inspiration was the fact that Egyptians paint on papyrus and I thought it might make an interesting background.
Lesson 2 -
Sky & Pyramids
We started with the sky, using our "Jo" sky as I call it. I used Tasman Blue mixed with white and then alternately slapped on the blue mix then just white, lightly feathering off as I went. It took about 5 minutes to cover the sky. I added a touch of Cadmium Red to
the blue mix for a slightly purple haze across the horizon.
Next the pyramids. I used a mix of Tasman Blue, Cadmium Red and Yellow Ochre and following our light source, just covered one side with a dark mix and the other sides with a lighter mix. I then played around with the paint dabbing darks and lights all over them. I softened the hard edges with a light Tasman Blue mix. Then I just dabbed in some whites here and there while it was all wet.
Because of my hessian background,
I chose to wash the blue sky thinly
so the hessian would come through.
Lesson 3 -
In our third lesson, Jo and I started painting our camels with a mixture of Cadmium Red Deep and Yellow Ochre.
We filled in the head first with dark tones and light tones.
The eyes were next using a dark Ultramarine mixed with the Cadmium Red. The tricky bit here is to get both eyes looking straight and similar to each other. I added a bit of Ultramarine to my orange mix and darkened darks where needed, dabbing lightly to indicate hair. We reverted to a fine brush at this stage to detail the nostrils and mouth, keeping it slightly out-of-focus as we will adjust and sharpen next time when it is dry.
We continued down the neck with a dark orange first, outlining the folds in his neck, then slowly dabbing in lighter colours as we went.
Barb is very detailed in her drawings which means every shade of dark and light is very close to the original.
As you can see, this makes her camel closer depiction. As I am also finding, trying to cut corners in the drawing means I have to work harder to get those minor details.
Lesson 4 -
Camels - Body
We are continuing on with the camel's body and legs now. Brush in all the legs first in a light to medium tone - it is easier to blend the paint whilst wet. The legs are noticeably smoother with less hair, so keep the dabbing only to the upper parts of it's leg. You'll need a fine brush for detail around the knees and hooves.
here we see the difference especially in the knees and hooves.
This is partly because the surface I have chosen is rough and my dexterity isn't quite there yet so fine lines are still on my learning curve.
I have made a conscious decision to allow the background to be part of the texture of the camel, after looking at Barb's I realise I still need to be braver with the shadowed areas.
The colour changes slightly too as you head down to the feet - I used more of a purpley mixture to grey off the orange.
Lesson 6 -
Camels - Halters & Blankets
Shading for Halters & Blankets
Well today we finished painting the camels leaving their halters
and blankets for later. Remember to make the shadows on the camels
quite dark where the blankets and tassels overlap before you
start painting them next week.
Give this guy lots of texture by using thick paint and stippling or dabbing it on with a fine brush.
I think the most important thing to remember when painting the camel's blankets is to make sure any stripes, tassels or lines are not straight.
They follow the curvature of the saddle underneath with kinks and folds, giving an impression of depth.
Use plenty of darks for shadow with contrasting highlights to make sharp, clean edges.
I stippled on the paint with a small brush to give the texture of wool.
You can really use any colours you want here - I used Cadmium Red Deep for that lovely rich red.
I'm pretty much using colours straight from the tube on the blanket. The hessian is making it look more like a blanket just by being there.
I didn't like the brown blanket, so I put stripes on the front and tassels. Barb's looks great mind you - that'll teach me for being clever!
Lesson 7 -
We are just slowly dabbing away at the standing camel's blankets. Remember that any dips or folds in the material will have a dark shadow, and anything that sticks out will have a highlight. Dab with a small, round, bristle brush to give a woolly texture.
I washed in the background with some left-over Yellow Ochre and turps just to see what the colour would look like - I haven't quite decided what to do with my background yet.
Lesson 8 -
For the background, I brushed in a very light mix of Yellow Ochre and white and started from the horizon, making my mix darker and adding a touch of Cadmium Red as I went. I created dips in the sand around the camels' feet by adding a purple to my mix and feathering off into the wet paint. Rocks were added to mess up the sand by first putting a decent blob of white paint where I wanted them (in the foreground mainly). I then gave each rock a shadow with my purple mix brushing up into the rock slightly and along the sand. I kept dabbing around with these colours, blending them into the sand going back toward the horizon. As I gradually made my way back to the horizon, I feathered them off more and more.
Lastly with a very light mix of Tasman Blue and white (the sky colour) I rubbed over the edges of the pyramids and horizon as they were looking a little too sharp. I wanted a hazy look in the distance. Finished!