Tuesday, February 28, 2017


Isn't he magnificent?? You can understand why they were revered and worshipped long ago. I think this is one of the Spanish wild bovine breeds. There are several groups in Europe that are "back-breeding" to re-create some of the older breeds of animals. They were actually better suited and more fit to survive in their environment. The concepts of back-breeding and re-wilding are fascinating to me. I wanted to create an homage to this magnificent animal. My idea was to have him roaring out of the cave, with images of his ancestors behind him - sort of symbolically showing his return.

This is a photo of a skeleton in one of the German natural history museums. I used  the shape to create my image.

First tentative washes, with burnt orange and an indanthrone/pink mixture.

Getting into the blacks - pink, orange and indanthrone.

Gradually building up shadows defining musculature and indicating light source.

Starting a scrumbled background with aureolin, pink, burnt orange and indanthrone.

Finally gently spraying the entire paper, and dropping in black and letting it flow.

Darken one side of the face and neck, and add [by direct painting and lifting] some prehistoric graffiti  on the wall behind him.

My critique ... the bull does not look massive and impressive enough. Perhaps a different format? Also, having the bull emerging from  the cave-like background would have been more readily accomplished using a lifting technique. Ah well, live and learn.

Thank you all for dropping by!


  1. Your painting works fine - the graffiti is a great touch. Perhaps a Burnt Sienna backwash allowed to bleed through would have introduced a fiery temperament? Having said that, if the reference photo had not been shown I wouldn't have thought of making that suggestion.

    Thanks for visit btw. Let me explain the name Blodwyn, my daughter's Welsh Sheepdog.
    Firstly the History :)
    There were the Ancient Britons living in Britain in the Bronze Age - they spoke the Old Celtic tongue. Then the Romans invaded and they employed Mercenaries from the North German Tribes: the Angles, and the Saxons. (hence Anglo Saxon - as they stayed!!)

    The Romans/Angles/Saxons drove the Celts into the mountains - those in the North mountain became the Scots (hence Scotland). The Celts driven into the West became the Welsh (Wales, where I live). The old Celtic tongue was modified over the centuries into the Welsh language (so Welsh is older than the English language).

    Blodwyn is a female name from the Celtic Welsh (not Anglo-Saxon) and means 'White Flower'. So the Sheepdog is female and her name is Blodwyn/White Flower.

    Out of interest. The centre of Briton was know as Mercia, and the Mercian Saxons had an accent which is very close to the way the English Language is spoken globally today...... but then there were the Vikings and Norman invasion.............!!!!

  2. I love his 'pose' but I think he needs a little more 'beef' on his bones. :) I love the idea of ancient grafitti in the background!

  3. I think there is nothing wrong with the bull. Just that there is nothing there to compare his size with. Which is why he is not looking imposing enough. A great work.

  4. What a beautiful idea and the approach of starting with the skeleton is interesting.
    However, I think that the skin of the neck should be more massive under the head which will give the impression that the front legs are shorter than in reality and will give the impression of strength and mass ... and I suggest to you search images on the web "taureau de concours".
    And yes, a little croping will be welcome.

  5. would love to see a skeleton of one in person, massive looking things

    your painting looks fine,does look like he is emerging from a cave

    maybe if his back was a little thicker and not so bowed he would look little stockier?

  6. You could always crop the painting to change the format? If anyone can do this animal the justice it deserves, you can!

  7. Wow, Kathryn - what a great tribute to this fearsome beast! I once did a similar concept painting with ancient horses showing cave drawings behind them. I used diorama displays from the Natural History Museum in New York for mine. It seems great minds think alike! If you are interested, here is a link to the page on my website - this painting, is on the far right in the 9th row down! http://susansmolenskyfineart.com/Animals.html

  8. Well done Kathryn!!!! Excellent work on the background!!! It's your signature...

  9. Dear Kathryn - I think the pose as well the colors did a great job of giving this beautiful animal a wonderful tribute. The background offers just the right amount of texture to bring this fellow forward. Really super friend. Hugs!