Painting #2 of 52/52 Challenge

Rodrigues Flying Fox- "Grace" – Gouache & Graphite; ©2012 Mindy Lighthipe

It is Week #2 in my 52/52 painting challenge. My post on Wednesday was about the Lubee Bat Conservancy and this special little bat "Gracie". Here is her finished "portrait". It is done with my graphite and gouache technique. I find it much easier to paint fur and feathers in gouache. My reasoning for this is that the opacity of gouache allows me to paint dark to light, light to dark, medium to light, medium to dark and so on. This is not possible with watercolor as the basic principle of watercolor is transparency. Gouache covers or partially covers the layer below, where as in watercolor the underlying colors shine through.

I use a great CHEAP brush to create the effect of fur. Many artists spend pain staking time using a 000 brush with just a few tiny hairs on it to create each individual hair on an animal. I use the Loew Cornel Rake brush.

Comfort Handle Rake Series 3120 by Loew Cornel

It appears to be just a flat square watercolor brush, but it has a density of bristles at the ferule of the brush and a sparsity of longer bristles at the tip. When used properly it creates fine parallel lines. It is important to understand the anatomy of an animal and how the surface contour of the fur changes with the bone structure underneath. Many types of hair, fur, and feathers have an underlying color, close to the skin. Often the underlying color is dark and then gets lighter as the hair gets further from the skin. Working with opaque layers I am able to do a dark layer and add the lighter layers on top. I work the rake brush in strokes that follow the surface contour. When I get an overall appearance of fur I then come in with a small detail brush and do the finishing touches.


You can find the rake brush at HomeCraftExpress.


This painting is available for sale. If you are interested in purchasing it or a fine art print please contact me for pricing.

More prints and original paintings are available in my Etsy Store.