Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Diva Bovina

"Diva Bovina" (pastel, 24x36 inches) sold

This one was a special request commission for a good friend and client, who saw another artist's "cow on sofa" painting and wanted my own version. Since she's from Wisconsin, she requested a Holstein. I had just one good photo of a reclining Holstein in my files, and it was lying in the woods under dappled light. Since I love a challenge, and when it comes to lighting my subjects I must be logical, I had to include the dappled light... and the woods!

I call her Diva Bovina, which means Cow Goddess in Latin.

See some progress shots below, starting with my original photo and Photoshopped composition:

the cow in the woods (my friend said "polled please!")
my final composition
The sofa was 'borrowed' from the web, with the color and design changed to protect its identity. What I was looking for in a sofa was the light from above, and this one worked perfectly.

I get my drawing down on gatorboard which is primed with a single layer of my gold colored pastel primer mix, which is Golden (brand) Quinacridone Nickel Azo Gold fluid acrylic color mixed into Golden Fine Pumice Gel at about a 1/4 (color/gel) ratio.
I usually build up more layers of the gold mixture to start my underpainting, but with more complex and large images, I like to start it with a terra cotta color which is the Art Spectrum (brand) Pastel Primer.

This helps me see the main pattern of the image better, and then I can build up the lighter and mid-values of the underpainting from that point.
When an animal has a considerable amount of black fur, I'll also use some of the black Art Spectrum primer.
Oops, I had almost forgotten the hooves! They were hidden in the grass from my photo, but when I referenced several other cow pics to find good reference and drew them in, I decided I didn't like the front hoof pointing downward to the corner, so I re-drew the front leg tucked under (which involved more additional references, but somehow I got it looking all right.)

At this point, the grasses got way overworked and fussy...
So... I wiped them all off and started over!
That's better. I'm calling it done!
"Diva Bovina" framed
Thanks for watching! If you liked this large project, consider signing up for my "Large Project" workshop in Ulysses, KS in September! (All mediums welcome!) Or if you know someone who would enjoy it, please share the info! Click the flyer below, or visit my website workshop page at RitaKirkman.com.

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