The Moultings

Stage 1

This is the first stage of a new oil painting of elephant seals and king penguins at Diaz cove on the south shore of South Georgia. They are all undergoing moult – the seals are shedding old fur and the penguins, many of them immature birds, are picking out the last vestiges of their old plumage.

Size: 28″ x 40″

Stage 2

I’ve added some ‘local colour’ in very thin paint to start to get a feel for the light and atmosphere I’m looking for.

Stage 3

I’ve painted in the background hillside and the elephant seals., and have started on the grassy plain at top right. Pitching colour and tone correctly at this stage has been crucial as it helps set the quality of the light in the picture.

The seals had steam rising from them as the sun burnt off moisture into the cool air of early morning.

Stage 4

I’ve worked across the width of the grassy plain at the the back, gradually adjusting some of the colours as I’ve gone to reflect the change in the angle of the light source.

At the left of the picture, where one is looking more towards the sun, the colour is dominated by cool greens caused by light shining through dew drops on the grass. As one moves right across the picture light is reflected less off the dew drops and reflects more of the true colour of the grass.

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