Urban Deer, A Watercolour Painting

To wake up in the morning and see these animals outside your bedroom window in this urban setting must be quite a treat. They have become very tame as the local residents hand feed them. This was a classroom exercise where I asked the class were they going to include the background or paint the dear in a more rural environment. The decisions on that part of the composition went 50%/50% so it was good to see a mixture of ideas when the paintings where completed.

I scaled this up as I wanted one main deer to be the focal point and I liked the way this particular animal’s head was angled.

I drew the main deer first and then the deer in the background, the pathway, the building and the trees.

I painted the deer, using a variety of colours: Naples yellow for the first wash over most of the coat, 5 different washes of increasing tonal value of a mixture of burnt sienna and Indian red, a chromatic black I mixed using the primary colours for the ridge on the back, the mouth shape and the eye and parts of the tine, an indigo blue for the small shapes of the toes and hooves.

I used wet on wet for the painting, as I wanted some of the colours to mix on the paper to give a natural look to the coat. I worked light to dark and when the coat was dry I added the mouth shape, eyes and toes and hooves colours. For the antlers I again used wet on wet bearing in mind the light source.

For the grass I used Naples yellow and then mixed up a green colour of my own from perelene blue (green hue) and gamboge yellow, and added some of my mix for the coat to a portion of my green mixture for the shadow cast by the animal. I used the same palette as for the grass for the trees, however I applied the tree colours with a large natural sponge.

I then painted in the building, using glazes, mixing a brick colour from burnt sienna and light red. I then drew in the deer in the background and lightly painted them with a thin wash of colour.

 

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