Thursday, 19 April 2012

Nguni Cattle

Nguni Cattle - Oil on Canvas

I am in the process of theming a bedroom "The African Room" and it has turned into quite a creative project. This particular breed of cattle, with their beautiful colours and patterns, solid bodies and textured horns, make the most wonderful subject for the artist to paint. Leigh Voigt (a South African Watercolourist), has illustrated a book on Nguni Cattle and it is stunning. I was inspired again during my last trip to SA when I came across another oil painting of a Nguni cow. So, the idea stuck with me.

Unfortunately I don't have my own stock photographs of this animal, so after much hunting through websites, I finally came across this photo. I fell in love with it and, despite having three animals to conquer, I got on with it. A fabulous project. I blocked in the underpainting with acrylics and then started to layer with oils. Some areas are quite textured and I moved between medium and large brushes. The challenge was to make the whites interesting and to paint the patterns without making them too 'busy'. I found that I could still be loose and enjoy the odd area of detail. The focus for me is always about tone, edges and temperature as well as putting my own stamp on the painting by bringing in unusual colours and suggestion.

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