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Creating a painting

Many people ask the question why does a painting cost so much. Each painting is a  UNIQUE and ORIGINAL piece of work and takes may hours to produce. The length of time spent on any work is dependent upon the size of the canvas, the style used and the subject being painted.

Below is the process used in painting the latest painting of a Clouded Leopard (Neofelis nebulosa) (photograph used courtesy of Jim Zuckerman) 
The first stage is to create a basic background - here I wanted to create the impression of a cloud shrouded rainforest. This is only an impression and will be worked on more at the final stages of the painting.

Once dried I then block paint the basic shape of the leopard and draw in the important areas (eyes, nose and mouth) to provide location points for the initial painting.
I always starting the painting of any animal by painting the eyes as these are one of the most important aspect of any portrait. I feel if I am unable the realism of the eyes then any further work is fruitless. 
Now the time consuming and repetitious work of creating the effect of hair using a 'Rigger ' type brush starts. Creating a base and then working in different colours and shades of the base colour then creates depth to the face and neck.
Phase 4
After marking out where further spots on the body are positioned, the same method is used to create the effect of fur on the main part of the body. Leaving areas without any painting provides ares where the black spotting seen in the species occurs. Later these will be given a light wash to provide a little more depth to them.  To have a break from the repetition of painting hair I decided to paint the branch where the leopard is sitting.
Phase 5
And slowly, but surely it is beginning to come together.

Phase 6

After approximately 15 hours filling in a large area of the back with the base colour for the hairs and less of the initial block base colour being visible it is all slowly coming together.

The whole process is reminiscent of when I used to work with pen and black ink doing line drawing, except with this procedure I am using colour. Very labour intensive and repetitious, but worth it for the effect.

Phase 7
After approximately 30 hours now spent on the painting, the main base area of the body has now been completed and the hair on the body can be seen. The next  stage I find the most nerve wracking as so much work has already gone into the painting, but now loose washes of colour need to be added to create depth to the overall image.
Phase 8
The final washes given to the body and faint images of tree put in the background to create the illusion of dense forest there you have it, a challenge but worth the effort.