View Full Version : Serval WIP (xPost Wildlife Art)

04-21-2015, 06:34 PM
Hi all
Heres a little Pastel piece I'm working on while I'm waiting for oil to dry on a Cheetah.

This is my own ref. Can you believe that this little lady was kept as a pet! I took this shot of her about a month after she had been rescued. At this point no one had been able to get near enough to remove the silly diamonte collar! Her 'owner' kept her in the bathroom until she decided one day that this was her territory and wouldn't let him in. Anyway thankfully she was rescued and now lives in a Wild cat sanctuary. Unfortunately she can never be returned to the wild as she was a tiny kitten when she was 'purchased' as a pet, so taken away from her mum before she learned enough natural behaviour. Now she does have a massive natural environment enclosure and her keepers are working on keeping her stimulated with natural behaviour therapy. She is a much happier cat.

Anyway, here's the WIP
Starting the sketch on a small piece of velour about 12" x 8"
I used my scale dividers to get the proportions accurate

Head is coming along nicely here - look at those huge ears!

Started to add the foliage around the face. I loved the intense stare of the cat as she watched me from the undergrowth. You can imagine her stalking a bird or rabbit.

These images are taken with my iPhone, so not such good quality, but in this shot you can see the texture of the velour.

OK so I have finished the base sketch and I'm now ready to start on the colour

I've started to work on the background now. I'm using Unison stick pastels and Caran D'ache Pastel pencils

I've picked out the darkest and lightest areas of the leaves now, so I'm ready to add the mid-tones to blend the two together.

So now after darkening up the shadows, I think the background is done for now

Now for the Serval, I've started with the eyes simply because its my favourite place to start

Next I block in the intense highlight areas before underpainting the base colours

Now for the layers and layers of detail that creates the depth in the fur

Progress so far, now its time to work on the body
See you next time

Places still available on my pastel wildlife courses - see website for details.

04-21-2015, 07:49 PM
Jilly, your painting is beautiful, and I love the backstory.

04-21-2015, 09:45 PM
It's beautiful. I like the progression steps.

04-21-2015, 09:52 PM
Love it and the chance to see your work in stages, Beautiful

04-21-2015, 10:54 PM
Oh! She is so beautiful! You captured her eyes so well, her mood, her ears... her expression! Cats' expressions are so easily read sometimes and she is so very alert! Listening in both directions, watching quick movements, ready for the right moment in balanced alertness!

Servals are wonderful cats. Snap up to catch birds on the wing. Even if she's never trained, she'll still shoot straight up now and bat down bugs or unlucky sparrows in her new environ. Thank you for her story too. Can't wait to see the finish, she's already coming to life with those eyes!

04-22-2015, 05:48 AM
Very beautiful!

04-22-2015, 07:25 AM
I LOVE this!! How did you decide the order you painted? Was is darkest darks then lightest lights? Or did you do background foreground then main attraction? I just love the steps and the end result and would love to have my wildlife pastels turn out so beautiful! Ok I'm an idiot you did explain your steps I guess I want more of why this order and is thus your normal steps or plan? I find it hard to not jump right in in my animal and yours turned out beautiful!!

04-23-2015, 07:10 PM
Hello again all
Well this little piece seems to have grabbed your attention! Wow some lovely feedback :clap: Thank you.

So this is the finished piece
Pastel on Velour
28cm x 20cm (11" x 8")

Funnily enough I was surprised, as I normally am, that she was finished. I don't know about you but there are times when I get 'lost' in my artwork and then suddenly realise that I'm done and can't add any more:lol:

Blayne - Thanks. It is an interesting back story, but it never ceases to amaze me why someone would want to keep a beautiful creature like this in a domestic house. I have enough trouble with my British blue lol :cat:

Barbara and Scotty - Thank you, hope you enjoyed it

Hey Robert - she certainly was alert and quick! Like lightening, so I wouldn't want to get in her way. I loved the way she was semi-hiding in the foliage, but she knew everything that was going on!

Thanks Donna and Calley
Lol love your passion for knowledge Calley. Good on ya!
So I normally start with the darkest areas, then the lights and then blend between the two with the midtones. Its a fairly traditional approach with one slight change...
Regardless of any darks or lights, I always do the eyes first. It's just a mad thing, but I want to see that first spark of reality and it motivates me to do the rest. (in the order that I described).
There can be times when the piece goes through a really rough looking stage - usually after the base colours have been laid in - so I like to have something to look at that moves me to work through that stage.
Once I start to add the detail layers, that's when I can get lost in the piece, so if I'm creating a teaching piece I have to force myself to remember to take the step x step photos.
The very last thing is to strengthen the shadows and highlights and when you're at that point, you're done.

See you on the next piece
J x