My latest artwork is just off the easel. For my subject this time I decided on a creature that I have never attempted before, an American alligator. This remarkable reptile dates back to the time of the dinosaurs and today is mostly found in Florida and Louisiana in the US.
I began with the basic outline on a piece of sanded paper using a brown pastel pencil. My initial drawings are always very rough and serve only as a basic guide for the artwork to start. Changes will be made as the picture progresses. I loved the composition of the reference picture. The dramatic way the alligator rears its head out of the water was dramatic and forceful.
The first bits of colour are added. At this point I haven't decided on the final colour palette I will be using but am instead trying out tones and hues and seeing what is working.
The water was always going to be challenging on this artwork. The movement and flow as the alligator moves through is difficult to replicate. The colours too have to be carefully considered with the reflections of the alligator playing in a big factor in what colours I choose.
Many layers are added until I finally achieve the desired look that I am after. I work on the picture as a whole, building up the layers one on top of the other. The detail of the distinctive armour was certainly a time consuming process.
Overall I was pleased with how the finished artwork turned out. I like the energy and movement in this picture
Wildlife artist Richard Macwee