Tips on How to Paint Figurative Animals
- Paint an animal the way a child would paint an animal – with abandon.
- Don’t try to make all the legs match.
- Remember that a figurative animal doesn’t have to make exact, anatomical sense.
- Try subtly outlining only certain parts of the body with different colors or lines or dots or…
- If you find yourself being too careful with an area in the painting, take a photo of it for memory, then paint a big black slash over that part, let it dry and then repaint it more carelessly (have fun or put down the paintbrush until the joy returns).
About this Painting
- Giraffes in the Bird Garden
- 48′ x ’36
- oil pastels
- contemporary abstract figurative
- contemporary abstract expressionism
- abstract figurative expressionism
- contemporary figurative markmaking
Details in the Painting
Detail One. Composition land often seems like the wild, wild west, with danger lurking in wide open spaces. A child doesn’t see fear in a blank canvas. A child points to the middle and says, “Just put a house there, or a sun, or a big flower!” This would be grand, but we aren’t kids anymore. As adults, we forget to make the house lean, to paint the people with heads as big as the sun, to add a five legged dog—all those yummy things kids paint that make our eyes fly around a painting. So we grow up and learn the Rule of Thirds and yada yada yada. All that schooled art stuff, which is also grand. But I like rediscovering the kid in me. In this painting, I wanted to see what would happen if I popped an “x” in the middle of a painting to make the middle the first focus.
I put an X in the middle, just because.
Birds have bones, but they are hollow, which helps them fly.
Giraffes don’t really have horns – they have cartilages called “ossicones” that most likely are used to keep the body temperature constant.
etail Four. X Marks the Spot. Also, there are markmaking lines all over the background.
The phrase “X Marks the Spot” probably came from the gangsters of Chicago. Newspapers put an “x” where a dead body had been found after a gangster murder, instead of showing a corpse.