I’ve been working on this painting since early to mid last year. I think it is close to finished although I have been spending some time adjusting tones on the woolly coat of the lamb and adjusting lighting.
I began this painting by laying a heavily textured layer down for the wool of the lamb. This early layer was mixed with Liquin, an Alkyd resin medium which acts as a drying accelerator. The purpose of this is that if I was to put a thick layer in oils down first and if if I wanted to put thinner coats down later, I would be breaking the ‘lean to fat’ principle. By accelerating the drying of a thick under layer, I reduce the chance of a thiner layer that is applied over the top, cracking.
I am not sure if this process produced the result I was after. I found that the under texture dominated all my painting afterwards and it was difficult to manipulate the paint into the more subtle textures I required. The mid layers of the painting therefore felt like they took a long time to resolve and at some stage I scraped back some parts of that under layer/texture. With the under texture dominating I also found the more subtle description of the coat of the lamb, the little shadow of the crevices of the wool, difficult to describe effectively.
I think the final result has worked out well with a softness in the right places. You can see the under texture coming through on the right just above the leg in the image below and you can see the many layers which build texture and tone to give a sense of the wool and the form of the body.
You can see the same elements in the description of the head, the under texture being present on the forehead but the later layers describing the form overall.
This approach is inspired in part by the working method of Odd Nerdrum who works with a long process of laying down, scraping and sanding. His work also has a mythical quality, often described within an invented landscape. I loosely used some photo sources for the animals but invented the landscape, pose and lighting. All this invention also added time to the making of the piece but I hope that it is imbued with a iconic aura only really achievable through a long process.
Below are some of the images begun this year. Little playthings derived from painting some kitsch objects which I’ve placed out on my table. After a lot of tight painting last year I see the only way forward as to be playful for a time. The paintings may still end up being worked up considerably.
I’ve had success with the photos by using an iPad. Bye for now.