The three artists featured in the February 2020 issue of COLOR Magazine Showcase share the stories about their artwork for our blog. Read below about their inspiration for each of these beautiful wild animal subjects.
A Sudden Encounter by Gemma Gylling
26 x 18 inches
Colored pencil on Pastelmat
(Artist’s own photo)
To me, one of the best parts of creating my art is to photograph the animal myself and then to come up with a design/composition that is all my own. I often visit Triple D Wildlife, in Kalispell, MT, to photograph their animals and use those photos to create my art. The reference photo used for this artwork was taken in January 2018, in the snow, which was a really fun experience in itself.
The mountain lion’s name is Kali, she is a very active cat and is a ton of fun to photograph. She climbs the trees and literally flies from one treetop to another; it can be very exciting! When I took this reference photo, she had just climbed down from one of those flying experiences and stopped at the bottom of the tree to investigate us photographers. I was so lucky to be able to capture this moment in time. It was almost like turning a corner and coming upon a mountain lion, oh my! Mountain lions have always been one of my favorite animals to draw; I think of them as my “animal totem.”
Once I came up with the composition I wanted, I decided to create the piece on Pastelmat card. I love working on Pastelmat and often use a technique of scratching out the lighter colors of fur using a ceramic utility knife. Colored pencil works nicely on Pastelmat because it takes a ton of layers, works great with solvents (for the out-of-focus backgrounds), and for using the scratching method. This particular piece took me approximately 350 hours to create.
About Gemma Gylling:
Gemma is a colored pencil instructor and master of cats both wild and domestic. She is the author of the book, CP Cats. She lives with her husband in Northern California, in the small town of Valley Springs. She loves to travel and takes thousands of photos of animals to use in the creation of her animal artwork. Gemma works on Pastelmat and teaches workshops.
See more at: www.gemmagylling.com
Autumn Squirrel by Bonny Snowdon
10 x 12 inches
Colored pencil on Grafix Dura-lar Film
(Photo by Paul Sawford. Used with permission)
I was asked by the SAA (Society of All Artists) to create a front cover for the autumn edition of their Paint magazine. They wanted British wildlife, with an autumnal feel, and they also wanted a background, which was a bit daunting! I chose Paul's photo as it was the perfect fit, changed some of the colors to suit the autumn theme, and used a hair dryer to help melt the wax-based pencils to create the background. I really wanted to use an Icarus Board, but couldn't get hold of one in time, so used a hair dryer instead, and it worked pretty well! I decided to use the Dura-lar film as it's very stable when using heat, no buckling or rippling, and I was able to use my subtraction technique with my Tombow mono eraser, and Slice Manual Pen Cutter. I don't often do backgrounds, and I don't like using pastels because of the dust, so I wanted to find a way of creating the background using just colored pencils. I had to do a bit of experimenting with different brands of pencils and I found Prismacolor and Derwent Drawing worked best with the heat of the hair dryer.
About Bonny Snowdon:
A full time artist from the UK, Bonny creates commissions for people all over the world, with bookings until mid 2021. She teaches one-to-one, has workshops world-wide, and also teaches via her online channel. Bonny's vision is to bring like-minded artists together, helping them achieve their dreams and to create a community of support and help.
See more at: www.facebook.com/bonnysnowdonportraits
The Matriarch by Dennise Wanless
11 x 17 inches
Polychromos and Luminance Pencils by Arches smooth watercolor paper
(Artist's own photo reference)
There used to be roughly 100,000 Asian elephants roaming in herds across Asia. Sadly that number has dropped to 30,000 and they are now listed as Endangered. Elephants are highly social, intelligent animals that live in family groups led by a dominant female, or "matriarch." Elephant families revolve around females and they are fiercely protective of each other, remaining within their families their whole lives. The matriarch is usually the oldest female of the family. She has decades of knowledge and life skills to pass on. She is a decision-maker to whom the group looks to in a crisis. She is at the very heart of the family unit.
About Dennise Wanless:
Dennise Wanless is an Australian artist whose inspiration comes from a love of wildlife, evident in her highly detailed drawings that lean towards photorealism and which capture the true character of each subject. She works predominately in colored pencil, favoring it for its versatility and ability to replicate other art mediums, without the mess.
See more at: www.facebook.com/dennise.wanless.illustrator
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