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Elephant oil painting... the process from beginning to finish

An amazing encounter on safari coupled with an extraordinary wild animal and you have an inspirational combination for a large painting... here's how I did it!

This huge mother elephant walked in for a drink to the waterhole where I was concealed in an artificial hide watching the herd from a distance and I was close enough to feel the enormous presence this giant of the land has. She gave me such a look of knowing... knowing I was there, watching. As I looked back I could see the wisdom, wisdom that was stored through the passage of time and I was in awe.

So began my process of this painting. I'm a strong believer in painting what you are passionate about, I feel it comes through in the work and you are fully armed mentally with a bucket full of inspiration.

I don't normally paint this way as I would do an underpainting on a large canvas like this and then add a couple more coats of paint but due to my shoulder injury I am very restricted with painting time as it's quite painful so I decided to create a looser work with thicker paint and I was happy with the result so I guess the injury has made me explore something different.

Beginning with a loose drawing I worked pretty much from left to right and top to bottom. I cropped the image so that it had more impact by placing her eyes in a pleasing position. a

A limited palette of three primaries of Ultramarine, Cad. Red Light and Yellow Ochre plus white was chosen. I decided on this combination as I could achieve all the lovely greys and shadow tones with these three colours and it makes for a lovely harmonious painting.

'Close Enough', oil on canvas, 30" x 40".

Below is a gallery of the painting steps.


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