The Process of: Just Lion Around

This piece took a while to complete. Mainly because I was in between other pieces and honestly, I just didn’t want to paint. Sometimes it happens. For this piece I worked in oils with a variety of brushes. Mainly I used flats…..I really needed to update my brushes though. Anyways, let’s continue 🙂

Ifaw 1
Note the lack of detail in this stage. It’s not entirely necessary. Right now it’s about lights and darks. Always think in mass and direction in the first stage.



Starting off I leave the canvas white and lightly sketch in my outline. Next I do my underpainting, which in this case is a light brown. Typically you’ll see these colors as the most commonly used for underpaintings. For this it worked really well since Ifaw is after all, a lion. It’s important to remember to keep your layers thin until the final coat goes on. It’s slightly easier to fix a mistake on a thin layer vs something thick.

Ifaw 3
Since painting isn’t my strongest medium, I do a lot of stop and go. I find that when I over think something it comes out not so hot. To combat this, I think in terms of drawing. Which for me means, take your time and enjoy it!

In this painting I wanted a simple background since the position of Ifaw was unique. I went with black to offset and really pop his coloring. After filling in the black, I start going in with laying in more colors for the fur. I’m still not overly concerned with detail, although it’s hard not to be. Right now I am just playing with colors to find the correct match. I keep my color pallet fairly small so I don’t overload anything.

Ifaw 5
Always keep your pace light. It’s not worth rushing through something.

At this point you start to see more volume going into the fur. Notice I’m focusing on the head versus the body. I tend to try new things each time I’m at the easel when it comes to painting. I still keep my layers of paint fairly thin as well. I go in with middles to darks to lights, I just keep working the process until I am satisfied.

Ifaw 6
It’s also worth noting I am not doing any glazes at this point. I am just work in thin layers of paint.

A lot more has been done now. There’s more texture throughout the entire body along with the face as well. I add some light blue into the white fur portions for shading and to keep the piece a little on the cool side. I keep going back and forth until I am satisfied again.

Ifaw 6
More detail is starting to happen but not to much. Always save the best for last.

Adding in some blue to the background, I have a better idea of the needed temperature of the painting. Not to mention, it puts Ifaw on the ground. Once I have most of my main areas of orange/brown fur in, I start working on the white fur. I use blue for shadowing in the fur to match the blue in the background.

Just Lion Around 16x12 oil
Just Lion Around; 16×12; Oil on Canvas $200.00 (40% of the price goes to Safe Haven Rescue Zoo to help support their rescues like Ifaw)

The finale has come. More texture, thickness, and highlights have gone into the final stretch. I did a lot of back and forth on this piece, as I usually do with my paintings. I did bring in black around the face and some areas of the face, which is something I usually don’t do. I really liked the look of the black and may end up using more in the future.

Next post I will be doing a subject on painting vs drawing. As I have said before, painting isn’t my strongest because I haven’t been doing it for nearly as long. Say about 15 years of drawing to 5 years of painting. The main reason I why I paint? I want to get better at it. It’s a topic I feel many artists struggle with, so why not talk about it? 

On The Easel:


Another colored pencil piece :)
Another colored pencil piece 🙂 Snow is rather interesting to draw and fill in. Let’s see how this one comes out!
Also a new oil painting too! I am again working in a different way, glazing layers. Always fun to learn.
Also a new oil painting too! I am again working in a different way, glazing layers. Always fun to learn.


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