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I’m painting a bee for Bee in the City, Manchester!

I’ve been buzzing with excitement over the last few weeks and now I can finally reveal why! I’m participating in Bee in the City, a public art trail where over 100 giant painted bees will be scattered around Greater Manchester. The art trail runs from 23rd July to 23rd September.
 
My sponsor, Henshaws, is an amazing charity that gives training, support and advice to visually impaired people. They do a lot of great work and I couldn’t have asked for a better sponsor- I am genuinely humbled that they chose my design.
 
My bee design is going to be tailored to be interactive so that it’s accessible for all people to enjoy it. I’ve been exploring lots of textures and other elements to include in my bee. I can’t reveal too much yet, but I hope you enjoy the cheeky sneak previews that I’ll be posting occasionally (Oh yes, and bee puns. Lots of bee puns.)!
 
Today was my first working day in “The Hive” – the warehouse where I and many fellow artists are painting their bees for the trail. I gave my bee a good bath as well as a fresh coat of gesso to get her ready for painting. At around 5 feet high she’s pretty big – but I’m just about tall enough to see over her head! 

bee in the city wild portrait artist wildportraitartist beeyond expectations henshaws realistic interactive accessible bee

I had just about enough time to sketch out some of the facial markings after letting her dry for a bit, but it was getting late by that point! My hands were itching for the paint brush! I am so, so excited to get started!

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I will of course be filming my progress in making the bee so look forward to that video once the art trail starts! Until next time!

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Acrylic painting tutorial and horse eye ACEO in coloured pencil

"Gentle Eyes" - original 2.5 x 3.5 inch miniature ACEO/ATC drawing in coloured pencil, on Strathmore Bristol Vellum. I used a mixture of Touch-up Texture and Titanium White powder for the highlights. Own ref photo used. Art by Wild Portrait Artist. SOLD.

It’s been a busy time for me in the last few months but I am still somehow finding time here or there for art. A lot of things have happened since my last blog post and I have lots to update you guys on!

My tutorial for my Kudu painting in acrylics is now available to watch, check it out below. Don’t forget the longer version is available over on Patreon and goes really in-depth on all the techniques I’m using.

 

A few weeks ago I also made a tiny little drawing of a horse in coloured pencil, and tried a few new techniques out for it!

"Gentle Eyes" - original 2.5 x 3.5 inch miniature ACEO/ATC drawing in coloured pencil, on Strathmore Bristol Vellum. I used a mixture of Touch-up Texture and Titanium White powder for the highlights. Own ref photo used. Art by Wild Portrait Artist. Available for sale.
“Gentle Eyes” – original 2.5 x 3.5 inch miniature ACEO/ATC drawing in coloured pencil, on Strathmore Bristol Vellum. I used a mixture of Touch-up Texture and Titanium White powder for the highlights. Own ref photo used. Art by Wild Portrait Artist. Available for sale.

Combining Touch-up Texture and Titanium White powder, then glazing over the top with coloured pencils allowed me to get lots of depth in this tiny drawing! This method is pretty risky because the touch-up texture does flake off a little when drawing over it (mainly because of the paper I’m using) but I love the effect I can create with it!

 

Check out the extended and fully voiced tutorial, available right now, over on Patreon! You can also download the photo to try this miniature drawing out for yourself if you’re a patreon supporter.

I’ll be making a short version of the tutorial for my YouTube viewers soon so stay tuned!

While we’re on the topic of Patreon, don’t forget to pick up this month’s reference photos while they’re still there! These reference photos are all taken by me for use in your artwork with no copyright worries. Even if you’re not a Patreon, I upload one entirely FREE reference photo a month up there that everyone can download, so don’t forget to come back each month for your free reference photo!

Perhaps the most exciting recent update (well, for me, anyway!) is that I’ve been upgrading my recording setup for videos!

My previous microphone setup involved a cardboard box lined with audio foam and a tiny little condenser mic precariously balanced inside. It took up all of my desk space, was very DIY and wasn’t ideal at all! Plus the background hum from my computer’s fans in the was getting on my nerves… and yours! I’ve been long overdue an upgrade after having the same setup for two and a half years…. and that’s where you came in!

I want to say a huge thank you to all of you who’ve supported me since setting up my Patreon account! You’ve made these new upgrades to my recording setup possible and they’re going to lead to much better quality videos from now on.

My new microphone is much better at eliminating background noise so hopefully the audio quality of my videos going forward is going to be much higher quality! Unlike my previous mic (the Samson Go Mic) I’m also able to mount this one on a proper stand clamped to the side of my desk, meaning it isn’t taking up any desk space at all!

I also bought a little clip-on light bulb holder and daylight bulb to add to my lighting setup. I already have a desk lamp with a daylight bulb in it, but I’m hoping the additional bulb on the opposite side of my table will help improve the visual quality of my art timelapse recordings. It will eliminate any shadows under my hands that were making it hard to see what I was doing and give me more consistent lighting.

Whether or not you’re a Patron, I just want to say a huge thank you for your support on this journey of art. Art tutorials are something that I’ve really wanted to do, and I can’t believe how quickly my youtube channel has grown since I started up! I hope to keep continuously improving myself and the quality of my content!

I’m going to leave this here for now as this post is already long enough. Until next time!

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Greater Kudu Portrait in acrylics

"Greater Kudu Portrait" - 10 x 8 inches, Winsor and Newton acrylics on Ampersand Gessobord. Art by Wild Portrait Artist. Available for sale.
"Greater Kudu Portrait" - 10 x 8 inches, Winsor and Newton acrylics on Ampersand Gessobord.
“Greater Kudu Portrait” – 10 x 8 inches, Winsor and Newton acrylics on Ampersand Gessobord. Reference Photo by Edwin Butter from Wildlife Reference Photos.
Finally found a spare moment when it wasn’t raining to get a good photo of the finished painting!
 
I’m hooked on acrylic painting now. Working on this piece was very relaxing and at some points while painting it I was so in “the zone” that I kept forgetting to hit record on my camera for the YouTube tutorial I’ll be making… oops!
 
After my bluetit test painting in acrylics back in February I really wanted to try out painting a more detailed piece in the medium. It was a big learning experience for me. The background wasn’t as smooth as I would have liked and I managed to leave some brush strokes behind, but now at least I know to get my background in entirely before adding my rough sketch of the subject in instead of trying to paint around it! 😛
 
It took me a little over 9 hours to complete. Something about the lighting in the reference photo made me really want to paint it. I really loved the cool purplish and bluish shadows, contrasted by the rich, warm highlights created by the backlighting from the sun.
 

And now a little bit about the subject of this painting, if you’re interested! Greater Kudu are a species of woodland antelope native to eastern and southern africa. They are one of the largest species of antelope. This painting is of a juvenile male, whose horns are not yet full length. The adult male’s horns are much longer and curvier.

Anyway, I hope you like the finished painting! I can’t wait to get started on the next one, though my next artwork is in coloured pencils:

water lily, coloured pencils on pastelmat work in progress

This time around I’m trying coloured pencils out on pastelmat for the first time. I’m blending with paint thinner for this one. Can you guess what it is yet? 😉

 

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Stabilo CarbOthello pastel pencils review and playing with Acrylic Paint

It’s that time of year again where all sorts of colds and bugs are going round, and unfortunately I finally succumbed to it this week! Being ill sucks but I was still determined to get some art done in between my sneezing and coughing!

My review of Stabilo CarbOthello pastel pencils is now available for you to watch on my Youtube channel, and I also show you how I drew my leopard portrait in pastels in this video too!


I’ve also been playing with my Rembrandt soft pastels for my upcoming review of them on YouTube! This landscape was a quick A4 study and took me around 50 minutes. Hopefully I should have a video about them up as soon as my voice recovers!

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Recently, on a whim, I bought some Winsor and Newton Galeria acrylic paints to try out. I’ve not painted with acrylics since my art GCSE. It’s amazing how much you remember about a medium even after a decade! This is a little 2-hour test painting  on a cheap canvas board that I did with them using my own reference photo. Not the most exciting of paintings and the canvas texture was a little too rough to get detail in easily, but I just wanted to see what I was capable of!

This little guy is a blue tit on 18 x 12.5cm canvas board. Own reference photo used. It only took around two hours to complete!
This little guy is a blue tit on 18 x 12.5cm canvas board. Own reference photo used. It only took around two hours to complete!

I was surprised at just how much I enjoyed painting with them so I decided to start on a more serious project.

Yesterday I started a painting of a male greater kudu in acrylic. I’m doing this on an ampersand smooth board which was left over from a failed coloured pencil attempt (yay for recycling!) This is a very different way of working to what I’m used to in coloured pencils, so I’m finding it a little tricky! It’s so much fun though!

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I need to stop working on so many pieces at once! Last but not least, I’m still working on my okapi drawing in coloured pencil. The okapi’s face is starting to come together now that most of the underpainting in that area is done! Started off with just blues and greens and black, but I added some reddish browns and bright purples into the shadows of the fur afterwards as an experiment, and WOW did it bring the animal to life!

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There’s still a lot of work left to go on this guy but I’m having so much fun with those green and blue pencils that the time is flying by. It’s kind of hard to even tell what you’re looking at at this stage as none of the fur or fine details have been blocked in yet (!) but hopefully it’s going to start taking shape and start looking a lot more tangible soon.

Until next time!