Stephen Powell WILDLIFE ARTIST
PHOTOGRAPHER - TUTOR - SPEAKER - MOTIVATOR - WEBSITE DESIGNER
Stephen Powell WILDLIFE ARTIST PHOTOGRAPHER TUTOR MOTIVATOR WEBSITE DESIGNER - demonstration - how to paint wildlife in oils and watercolour /></span></div>
    </td></tr>
  <tr>
    <td colspan=

Work in progress:
Demonstration - How to paint wildlife in oil or watercolour

Symphony of the forest
Superb Lyrebird displaying.
Medium: Oil
Painting size: H: 610mm W: 915mm
Commission Private Collection

Southern Yellow-billed Hornbill
Oil Painting 365 X 505 mm.
Reference gathered whilst participating in
Siyafunda Volunteers on Makalali Game Reserve South

Work in progress 1. Southern Yellow billed Hornbill Oil Painting by Stephen Powell Wildlife Artist Photographer
Work in progress 2. Southern Yellow billed Hornbill Oil Painting by Stephen Powell Wildlife Artist Photographer
Work in progress 3. Southern Yellow billed Hornbill Oil Painting by Stephen Powell Wildlife Artist Photographer
Work in progress 4. Southern Yellow billed Hornbill Oil Painting by Stephen Powell Wildlife Artist Photographer
Work in progress 5. Southern Yellow billed Hornbill Oil Painting by Stephen Powell Wildlife Artist Photographer

'Makalali Yellow-billed Hornbill. Southern Yellow-billed Hornbill Oil Painting by Stephen Powell wildlife artist Reference gathered whilst participating in Siyafunda Volunteers on Makalali Game Reserve South Africa

 

'Makalali Elephant - Charles'
Oil Painting 41 X 51 cm.
Private Collection
Reference gathered whilst participating in
Siyafunda Volunteers on Makalali Game Reserve South
Africa

African Elephant work in progress. Oil painting by Stephen Powell. Reference gathered whilst participating in Siyafunda Volunteers on Makalali Game Reserve South Africa
African Elephant work in progress. Oil painting by Stephen Powell. Reference gathered whilst participating in Siyafunda Volunteers on Makalali Game Reserve South Africa
African Elephant work in progress. Oil painting by Stephen Powell. Reference gathered whilst participating in Siyafunda Volunteers on Makalali Game Reserve South Africa
African Elephant work in progress. Oil painting by Stephen Powell. Reference gathered whilst participating in Siyafunda Volunteers on Makalali Game Reserve South Africa
African Elephant work in progress. Oil painting by Stephen Powell. Reference gathered whilst participating in Siyafunda Volunteers on Makalali Game Reserve South Africa
African Elephant work in progress. Oil painting by Stephen Powell. Reference gathered whilst participating in Siyafunda Volunteers on Makalali Game Reserve South Africa
African Elephant Oil painting by Stephen Powell. Reference gathered whilst participating in Siyafunda Volunteers on Makalali Game Reserve South Africa

Note: Colour balance change due to photography. Final image closer to true colours.

Bengal Tiger
Canvas Size 910 X 610 mm (36 X 24 in)

Oil painting. Work in progress by Stephen Powell

Step 1:
Produce a drawing on canvas board.(Very smooth surface for fine detailed work)
Fix the drawing and begin applications of oil paint combined with quick drying glazing medium.
Apologies for the image, it appears to be grubby when it isn't. It is important for the drawing to be clean

Note: Steve Morvell and I went on a reference gathering trip. He was a bit quicker of the mark than me, his tiger was a feature peace in a recent exhibition. Coincidently we both chose to work from our own, but virtually identical shots. His looks great. Tiger For mine time will tell?

Oil painting. Work in progress by Stephen Powell
Step 3:
Blocking in and working up details.
Note: I tend to work on the eyes - major features early as it is a great motivator. However blocking in for all over balance is the preferred. The relative contrast and intensity is difficult to judge with large areas of white canvas. See the next step for comparison.
Oil painting. Work in progress by Stephen Powell Step 4:
Working up details continues. I've finally blocked in the background. Its strength is much closer to the final stage than the tiger. Note how the tiger looks like a flat pasted on cut out. Once I have finalized the detail I will add the shading that will give the tiger form and combine it with the background.
Oil painting. Work in progress by Stephen Powell

Step 6:
I've strengthened the stripes and also tried to make them look more natural. During the initial blocking of the stripes I find it difficult to get the edges looking natural. You can see how crude and 'Dunny Brush - Toilet brush' like the edges are in the close up.

Note that the apparent body colour shift was caused by the photography.

Oil painting. Work in progress by Stephen Powell

Oil painting. Work in progress by Stephen Powell

I tend to add paint to enhance areas that work and trying to resolve the areas that don't. Whilst it's not very efficient I do tend to jump around to areas that catch my eye rather than follow a logical and probably more efficient plan. The top right corner a second layer has been added to clean up the edges and deepen the shadow area. In this stage I've also strengthened the shadow under the chin and around the whiskers. Then rotated the canvas to avoid touching the wet area of canvas and to enable me to keep working. Rotating the canvas around also allows me to work more comfortably and to use more natural brush strokes. I work on a fantastic old drafting station with a foot pump to quickly raise & lower and a single arm that allows for rotation and tilt. Great for comfortable working position. I attach the canvas, brushes, pallet and small containers of medium and with Blu-Tack. This allows me to rotate the canvas to any angle and keeps my pallet and brushes in easy reach.

Stephen Powell at work
Oil painting. Work in progress by Stephen Powell
Oil painting. Work in progress by Stephen Powell
Oil painting. Work in progress by Stephen Powell
Oil painting. Work in progress by Stephen Powell
Oil painting. Work in progress by Stephen Powell
Oil painting. Work in progress by Stephen Powell
Oil painting. Work in progress by Stephen Powell
Oil painting. Work in progress by Stephen Powell
Oil painting. Work in progress by Stephen Powell

In the stage above and left I've begun to add form and depth to the painting. Note: adding shading - shadow to the body pushes it back and brings the head forward. Using shading to lift highlights and add impact to an image. I've seen many paintings where the artist stopped just short of this stage. Much of the potential of a painting is lost.

The stage below I have deepened the shadows further on the back, face and sides of the tiger. Whilst it may be difficult to see in the images I have continued to refine the eyes and the fur on the head.

Please note the overall shift in colour from one image to an other is the result of the limitations of my camera, natural lighting and my ability to manipulate the colour balance.


Oil painting. Work in progress by Stephen Powell

Received some advice from a good friend.

well now I can understand why its taking you so bloody looooong!!!..........jeezuss man.....stop sneaking around it and rip into it!!!!...........

Oil painting. Work in progress by Stephen Powell
Bengal Tiger oil painting. Final close up by Stephen Powell
Bengal Tiger framed painting by Stephen powell

When to say its finished?
I could go in and fiddle but chances are I'd be the only one who'd notice. As with any painting I'd make changes if I did it again but I achieved much of what I'd set out do.


 

Zebra
Watercolour Painting 24 X 32 cm.
Reference gathered whilst participating in
Siyafunda Volunteers on Makalali Game Reserve South Africa
Private Collection

Zebra Watercolour painting by Stephen Powell
Please note: Unfortunately the subtle nature of this watercolour has not translated to the web images. There is also variation between the images due to scanning difficulties.

Step 1:
Produce a layout drawing on tracing paper. Resolve errors in composition. Transfer to watercolour paper. I trace the image on a light box or by taping to a window on to Arches: 200-300 gm Hot pressed. The tracing should be very soft if pencil lines are not to be visible on the final piece. The actual lines are much softer than they appear in this scan. It has been heavily adjusted so that the pencil lines are visible on the web.

Zebra Watercolour painting by Stephen Powell
Step 2:
I modeled the body shape, and under painted ears,eyes and nose before starting the stripes and features.
Zebra Watercolour painting by Stephen Powell

Step 3:
Progressively strengthened features and add depth to eyes.

Step 4:
Crisp up edges and enhance molding by adding strength to shadows and reflected light.

Zebra Watercolour painting by Stephen Powell

Zebra Watercolour painting by Stephen Powell

Tawny Frogmouth
Oil Painting 35 X 23cm.

The technique used for this work involves adding a number of transparent layers of oil paint and each layer requires overnight drying between each applications. It is therefore not possible to show the transition between drawing up the piece through to finished piece in a one day demonstration.

Frogmouth Oil painting

Step 1:
Produce a drawing on canvas board.(Very smooth surface for fine detailed work)
Step 2:
Fix the drawing and begin applications of oil paint combined with quick drying glazing medium.

Frogmouth Oil painting Step 3:
Blocking in and working up details.
Note: I tend to work on the eyes - major features early as it is a great motivator. However blocking in for all over balance is the preferred.
Frogmouth Oil painting Finished piece
by pushing the contrast, tone and the bits that work the piece evolved.
© © Copyright Stephen Powell 2008. All rights reserved.
All images on this web site are protected by international copyright law. No image on this web site may be used for any commercial or non-commercial purposes without prior written permission, a licensing contract and payment of royalties or fees to Stephen Powell. Images must not be used on web sites or email stationery, reproduced as paintings for sale,downloaded, copied, printed, saved, transferred or reproduced in any way in any medium without payment to and prior written permission from Stephen Powell.
ABN 83 885 889 212