Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Zebra Portrait, Stripes and All


Well, I suppose I could put antlers on this fellow and add a red nose and he'd fit right in to the holiday season (well, sort of). I picked a photo out I had taken at the Zoo a while back and though the stripes seemed challenging, I made a go of it. The photo is more of a portrait with just the head and partial body showing. I had another photo of the whole zebra, but decided to start out slowly so I wouldn't be too overwhelmed. In the old days, I would have made each stripe perfect, just like the photo conveyed. But now I'm too lazy or is it a different style of mine emerging? Either way, this is what transpired. The paint brush and my rather shaky hand created wavy patterns on the body, and I feel there's more movement and energy as a result. I could have done the animal in black and white with just some touches of yellow and orange on the mane but felt I wanted him to be a bit more exciting. I've heard that white snow with its shadows has many different colors in it. Thus, why not the zebra with dashes of colors too? Done in watercolor, I tried to use more pigment than water to give purer, stronger color.

He looks a bit like Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh, in my opinion. Perhaps it's the droopy head. Eeyore's personality endeared me to him. His bleak, pessimistic attitude always in such contrast to the other animals. Yet, I'm glad he was part of the Winnie the Pooh group, for it made their personalities more realistic, more humanly diverse. I love all Winnie the Pooh books, enjoying the superb illustrations and the lessons I get every time I read the written word.

The zebra Eeyore-like pose brings to mind a lady buying one of my prints of an Egret done in watercolor. The slouchy posture, she said, reminded her of her daughter, and thus she had to have it. I wondered whether she'd tell her daughter the reason why she bought it. I doubt it, still it was fun that she shared this tidbit with me. Different reasoning and motives behind what captures the viewer's eye. I'm sure there's a bit of my emotions and feelings coming out here as well. Otherwise, why are we motivated and drawn to certain subjects? At least in my case, this appears true.

Anyway, glad I attempted the zebra. Often, I'll get people asking me "do you do zebras, whales, dogs, owls, etc. and I say no, I haven't yet, but I"ll try one. I'm pretty content being safe painting birds, as I have done a number of them. Lately, I'm coming out of my comfort zone, creating parrots, cats and now the zebra here. Experimentation beckons me, challenges me, alleviating my restless creative spirit!

And now I'd like to push myself more, in an external sense. I'm pondering looking into local animal shelters to see if I could do some paintings of kitties or puppies. My artist friend, Doris, got me thinking about this. Oh by the way, click on the link here, to see a beautiful portrait she did of three dogs. She inspires me, for sure. Anyway, it would be interesting to paint from real life and I know I could generate some real emotions out of this particular subject matter in this environment. If nothing else, take a few photos and try to recreate them at home! It can't hurt to ask; they can only say no! But they might say yes! So I'll sign off now and just say:

May the magic of the Holidays bring you Joy and Peace!


Suz said...

What a nice post Bev!
He has great stripes..I like the hint of color
and Winnie the Pooh
and you are so right about
the grumpy balancing the giddy
Oh bother

Doris said...

I lovvvvee it! Nothing like Eeyore! I can see the soul and elegance of its task here on earth. I'm glad you allowed the stripes to flow as was needed, I can see breath!

Laura said...

Awesome lady!!! There's something about your watercolors that captures your creatures... just wonderful

april said...

A wonderful zebra! I love the stripes. Very painterly. And the yellow! Makes him very special. Merry Christmas, Bev!