Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Fun with guns

Posted by: Dave

Recently I started another painting of Allie hunting pheasants ... as hunting kittens is apparently frowned upon.  I also finally had the opportunity to include my dog Bishop aka "Mr. Nibbles" in a painting, something I have been wanting to do for years. 

Recently I have been trying to be more ambitious by incorporating multiple elements into a piece (landscape, the figure, animals, etc) in order to create a narrative.  One of the reasons I tend to avoid doing more of this type of work is the energy and time it takes for me to do one. This is one of the main reasons  I have been avoiding painting the face and hands on this piece first as I find them the most enjoyable to do.  Saving the dessert until last so to speak.

I have to say though that this one is going a lot more smoothly than "wetlands" and I attribute that to the planning stages being better realized.  The background landscape is drawn from the field by my house, so its easy to reference it as I paint.  I tried to invent the landscape in "Wetlands", which was extremely difficult.  Good locations, and good props are essential to making a painting like this work.  As far as the props, I did have to order several pheasant pelts and purchase an antique shotgun from the US to give the piece authenticity.  If there is one piece of advice I have to give when making a narrative piece like this, it's do your research.  If the correct ammo is paired with the wrong rifle, it's a problem and may even result in a piece never selling.  A belt isn't simply a belt.  A hat isn't just a hat.  And a super badass 1845 Devoir Pinfire 12 Gauge Side-by-side Shotgun isn't any gun....its mine.

Which brings me to the topic of shotguns and hunting.  This will be the first time that life imitates art as I will be hunting this year with my awesome "freedom stick of doom" aka The Winchester SXP Field Shotgun which my wife bought for my birthday, and by bought, I mean I purchased it myself and told her it was from her.  No more running over deer in my Jeep for me. 

Drawing study that was transferred to canvas

étude/color study for Allie's face

Drawing has been transferred.  Color study is in the front of the painting with the ébauche being laid in.

 Working on the pheasants with a focus on paint quality.

Painting up to date, about 60 percent finished.


  1. This is really looking good so far, David. I really like what I see. Your comments struck me saying you are now including landscapes an other items with you figures. As a landscape painter myself, I am sort of going the opposite way in adding figures to my landscapes and actually limiting the amount of landscape and in some case eliminating it all together. Thing is, you are exactly right. Good planning ahead of time and having great reference material like looking out your back window for the landscape, for instance, is the key. Can't wait for further updates and seeing the finished piece. It will be a goodie, I know.

  2. since the painting looks so good at this point, do you tend to get nervous to finish it or do you waltz into the studio and make the painting your bitch?

  3. Strong design; great face study.
    Remington SXP - or Winchester? Whatever it was nice of Kate to get it for you.

    1. And the gun's name is it is beautiful, yet deadly.

  4. oops, typo, Winchester. I was looking at Remington on the Cabelas site when I wrote this :)