Studio Painting: “Hi Lobo’s Expression” (Weird name, cool cow)

This is "Hi Lobo's Expression"... that's the name. No, really. 16x20" acrylic on canvas
This is “Hi Lobo’s Expression”… that’s the name. No, really. 16×20” acrylic on canvas

This is a painting I’ll display at the Art Walk in a week.   This one will be for sale AFTER the Art Walk in a top-secret, extra covert fashion.  (You can contact me or visit my website). I’m supposed to have a sole proprietor business license to sell artwork, else the Texas Tax people will sent their goons to knock on my door with open hands for money and pink citations for my villainous underworld activity.  However, once they find out I made less in a year than a true sole business person makes in a day, they might do the math and discover it’d cost more for the postage stamp than what they’d collect from me.  🙂

Back to the painting: this is another longhorn from my uncle’s ranch (see ref pic)

This is the reference photo.

The story goes, the dad was “Little Ace Lobo” and the mom was “Supreme Expression”. By naming the kid after both the parents, it keep the lineage straightforward. … in theory.  Thus, “Hi Lobo’s Expression” was born.  One aspect of this cow is, it really is a “low – bo” with short legs. Kinda the weaner dog of cowdom. I thought about giving him leg extensions with my artistic license, but art is about loving our differences. Sorry HiLoBo Ex, no stadium shoes for you this time.

Here’s some progression pics with captions:

fairly detailed under-painting.
fairly detailed under-painting.
Layered in a background to cover all the canvas and worked the details a bit more on the fence and face.
Layered in a background to cover all the canvas and worked the details a bit more on the fence and face.

In the final photo (at the top of this article), I invented a post to the right, put in the grass and weeds, added some oaks in the background to balance out the invented post and further developed the details, especially around the face.  Oh, I almost missed giving poor HiLobo a tail! In the reference picture, it’s tucked behind his legs.  If I tried to paint it there, it would look like it’s peeing or doing something else, so I swung the tail to the side and only gave it a slight highlight to keep it unnoticed.

This was fun to keep this painting loose and abstract in the background and grass, but give just enough in detailed objects to make the rest seem real.  At first it feels like cheating, but if you go outdoors and view a scene in nature, that’s really what you see.

Thanks for letting me share this with ya!

Artists Chat:

Palette (ridiculously extended): Titanium white, cobalt blue, alizarin crimson, hooker’s green (warm green), pthalo green (cooler green), raw sienna, yellow ochre, cadmium yellow hue, burnt umber (make a great dark grey with the cobalt blue), cadmium orange and ultramarine blue.   I really only needed half of this, but it’s fun to experiment and see the benefits of each. For example, the raw sienna was a great saturated color to really give some punch against all those greens for the lit side of the cow. The saturation couldn’t be matched with mixing.  The shadow side is really key to making the cow look real. If you can see in the white hair of the cow in the shadow side, it’s full of reflections (sky, grass, and a warm grey in between).  I’ve heard it called “opalescence”. Check out Daniel Gerhartz’s latest blog post to read about it from a world renowned pro. If you haven’t tried this, please do! You’ll love it! It’s subtle changes, but so important!



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