Highlight – The Sacred Cow – 2012 – click for full view on site!

I’m sure if you look at this piece long enough you’ll find it very moo-ving. Get it? Moo-ving? …Eesh, tough crowd.

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I originally started using watercolours in 2009 as I felt it might be a nice change. Admittedly, I’d avoided them like some form of infectious disease up until that point as I never considered myself a painter and I didn’t really enjoy working with liquid media. All of that taken into account it was a nice summer, I was a successful young man, I felt like trying something new- and that age is particularly good for experimenting- so I did. I took up my brush and palette and mixed like there was no tomorrow.

Had I ingested some of the things I mixed with there is a good chance there wouldn’t be a tomorrow for me.

Initially I had much hesitation with watercolour. It was new, it was foreign, it was uncontrollable, there were no certainties, there was much to learn, and there was so much more to do. At this time I started branching out across various different materials. Pencil, watercolour, marker, ink, coloured pencil. It was all there. It was actually the basis for how I approached watercolours as I wanted to do something different with each one. Create a different style? Maybe not that far. But create different things so I wasn’t simply emulating pencil with watercolours. Early on I approached it with little to no line work but after the success of one piece I decided to radically change course and start using ink and watercolour together.

The original of this piece, as, technically, it is The Sacred Cow v2, was done without any kind of line work and very early on in my watercolour experimentation. I liked the concept behind it but I didn’t really like the execution. I felt that with other things I’d done and how many leaps I’d made I could make one here. I could better myself.
This later turned into a several month long project of approaching old pieces that had good concepts but that I felt lacked in execution and revitalising them with a new approach. Sometimes it would be a new material, sometimes it would be the same but using new techniques, and sometimes I would drastically change the elements of the piece but leave the concept intact. This particular piece started all of this as I hadn’t considered doing anything like that as I didn’t think I could better myself. Too much fear. Too much apprehension. Too many times I looked at things and doubted that I could go any further. Funny, in hindsight. But then most things are when it comes down to it.

Hard to believe that this piece is two and a half years old.

As I had done with other pieces in this style I began with a very simple lined version of the original pencil sketch. I tend not to add much in the way of shadows or heavy detail as I let the watercolour take care of all of the details and define all of the shape, form, tone, depth, and so on. It’s just the way I do these things. I’m not quite sure why that seemed like a good idea at the time- but here we are. Who am I to question myself? In later pieces I did add more details and more in the way of shape, depth, shadows, and general form. But that has a limited effect depending on how well the painting goes and whether or not you’re actually getting the result you want. If you aren’t then there’s very little way to salvage that as you can’t just paint over the blank areas. It’s there. It’s stuck.

The area I’m most pleased with is the nose and the lower facial area. Least pleased with the ears. Then again, it’s a learning experience and I try not to stress over each individual section as much as I probably should as I like to see progression between pieces. Which is pretty hard to do if you’re constantly “fixing” everything.

This is one of the signature pieces that I use for various things in and around the sites. I like it. I’m not completely satisfied with the result and there are things that if I were to approach a new animal portrait I would take into consideration, however, that said, I wouldn’t say I’m dissatisfied. It sits somewhere in and around the same sort of place where other signature pieces are. They’re the things that if someone said “What do you do?” I’d reply with those and say “This is what I do” without hesitation. Most of those pieces are older ones and there are few, if any, of the last two years. I guess that was a better time for me? Or maybe that was my usual time and this is just a worse time?

Have a nice week, all!


Art, design, and the like found herein (unless otherwise specified) is drawn and owned by David Wilkshire (also credited as Moggie) from 2006 to present date.