Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Process of Painting a Rabbit

I know that many of those who follow my blog are other artists, so every now and then I like to show how I paint with step-by-step images.  This little oil is a 6" x 6" that will be one of about 35 paintings I'll be showing at The Southeastern Wildlife Exposition in Charleston, South Carolina, February 17-19.

Step 1:  I colored my Ampersand gessoed board with a thin, turpy wash of permanent rose then let it dry for about 30 minutes next to an electric heater in the studio.  The only drawing I do is with a brush....there is no preliminary pencil drawing.  I 'knock in' the basic lines then correct them as I'm painting.  If it were up to me, I would have called this preliminary oil sketch 'finished' and framed it as is.  There's something about oil sketches that I really like. 

Step 2:  Background color.  I usually consult my color wheel, often choosing a complementary color (opposite on the color wheel) which in this case would have been blue-green or thereabouts.  But I was curious how the bun would look with an analogous background color (colors that are adjacent to each other on the color wheel).  Bleh.  I didn't like it so wiped it off.

Step 3:  I settled for a purple/blue with a bit of green added, so the background is almost a complementary color to the rabbit.  I don't like painting cute as it is almost as bad as doing a painting to match someone's couch...but there's no way of painting a baby bun without it being cute, especially when painted as a portrait.   

Step 4:  The finished painting, framed.  (the frame is not quite this shiny)  When it is completely dry, I'll add a few highlights to the bun, that are the same color as the frame and a few other bright highlights, such as a stronger pink on the ears.  I call this 'crossing my t's and dotting my i's'. 

Step 5:  A title.  I'm still working on it! 


  1. I really liked seeing the demo, Del. How about "Bunny on Blue"?

  2. Thanks Michael! I'd thought of 'Blue Bunny'or
    maybe 'Bun With the Blues'?

  3. I love this bunny, Adele! Thank you for sharing the process.

  4. Thanks Linda! I enjoyed painting it.

  5. Adele, it's a handsome painting, but I must agree with you - I really love the prelim. sketch.

  6. Nice painting, but the sketch tells me more about the thinking of the artist is far more interesting.

  7. Thanks for the nice comments! I'll have to show the step-by-step process more often.