I spent most of a morning this past August sketching and photographing a herd of domestic bactrian camels who had wandered near the Arburd Sands ger camp where I was staying. I remembered this white female because she was the subject of one of my first camel paintings “Done for the Day”, which was the first painting I’d ever had accepted into the Society of Animal Artists’ juried exhibition “Art and the Animal”. And there she was again, looking as beautiful as ever in the morning light.
And here she was in 2008 in great late afternoon light. She has a calf this year, too. And I plan to do a painting of the two of them at some point.
It’s pretty amazing to be able to go back to a place and recognize individuals that one has seen before. But she has a way about her and was leading the rest of the camels as they came towards me. Her white coloring also stands out.
I started some fun paintings from my new Mongolian reference last week and thought I’d share a couple of them in progress. I’m experimenting with a new way of starting, based on something I learned from John Seerey-Lester. Up till now I’ve begun by drawing directly with the brush, using line. It’s a default from being a “drawer” as a child. One of the major things I learned in art school was to see shape instead of, or in addition to, line.
Since I don’t use a projector, I draw directly from images on my monitor or a preliminary drawing. I sometimes get in trouble and spend a lot of time correcting. What to do?
Something must have been purcolating while I was away from the easel, because it suddenly occurred to me to do a light lay-in of the shapes with a big brush for size, proportion and location, wipe it out so that it is a ghost shape and then start the “real” drawing. It’s already made a difference.