Animal Portrait, Zebra painted with Watercolours

I drew in the shape of the head, ears, mane and chest, after such initial measuring as I scaled this up from a smallish photograph.

I was very conscious that when I take a cursory look at any photographs of these beautiful animals I see their coat as black and white. When is black purely black and when is white purely white? In my experience, hardly ever, if ever. They have a black skin so the white strip adorns black skin so there must be some bias in the white which will be determined by the colour of the coat.

I mixed up a chromatic black, with a brown bias, ensuring I mixed enough as I was working in watercolour glazes, applying wet paint to dry paint in at least three layers. My goal was to make parts of the stripes opaque and parts of them semi transparent. I painted in the black skin using my chromatic black to make the shapes of the stripes and the shapes of the zebra.

This took a couple of hours, including paint application time and drying time between layers.

For the edge of the mane I used a burnt umber mixed with a small proportion of burnt sienna.

I used weak washes of a brown first on the left side, to paint in the “white” stripes. I used a weak wash of yellow to paint in the “light! on the right hand side of the chest.

I used a fan brush to paint in the small hairs showing in the coat and on the chin.

I painted in the background using a chromatic black and a ultramarine blue mixed with Chinese white for the ground level.

This painting took five hours to complete.

 

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