“African Buffalo” | 2015 | 30in x 30in | Acrylic on stretched canvas | aimeehoover.com
ON BUFFALOS & BREAKING HABITS
In the last year, my goal as an artist has been to move away from more tightly rendered, realistic portraits, and towards looser, more painterly, bolder pieces that are (hopefully) still able to relay the animal’s emotion.
This has been a very tough habit for me to break.
It’s feels more like “un-learning” something than trying to do something new. Which, it turns out, is both weird and uncomfortable.
But last month’s 30/30 painting challenge turned out to be a great way to practice feeling weird and uncomfortable (as did my last video Q & A if you missed it)! For 30 days in a row, I attempted to push a little further past the OCD muscle memory in my hands—the ones that want to get every little detail perfect—and just allow my brushwork to loosen up.
And now, with African Buffalo, I feel I finally came a little closer to the vision that I’ve had for my work for a while.
African Buffalo face detail | aimeehoover.com
African Buffalo horn detail | aimeehoover.com
Detail of brushwork | aimeehoover.com
I’ve also been experimenting with what’s called a “limited palette,” which I haven’t done for YEARS. It’s about working with only a few colors, which can help prevent the painting from getting too muddy. I usually put every color of the skittle rainbow on my palette, but I’m starting to appreciate the effect of working with less.
African Buffalo color palette | aimeehoover.com
And is it just me, or do I have a thing for horns lately?
About one third of the animal subjects in the 30/30 series actually had horns or tusks. Before that there were multiple cows. And now, an African Buffalo appears on my easel…
African Buffalo on the easel | aimeehoover.com
Speaking of horns, have you ever seen Watusi bulls? The is the famous Mr. Lurch, the African Watusi bull. he won’t be on my easel any time soon as I don’t believe any painting could do this spectacular animal justice…
“Lurch,” the African Watusi bull
One last note on this week’s animal subject…
I thought I was painting an African Water Buffalo when working on this piece. But what I actually painted was a African Buffalo, which is not a water buffalo at all (like the Wild Asian Water Buffalo), it’s actually a type of bovine. Who knew?
So even when I’m painting Buffalos, I’m painting cows. Apparently my love for cows will never cease. Which is fine with me.
Until the next painting, thanks so much for reading…
– Why did I do the challenge?
– How do I know when a painting is finished?
– How long does it take to finish a painting?
– How many showers did I actually take during September?
I promise to get to the rest of your questions in part two next week. If you have anything you’d like to ask, be sure to leave your question below in the comments section and I’ll do my best to include it in next week’s video.
Please enjoy part one above, while I go back to doing something I’m (hopefully) better at!
A 30 by 30 inch painting for Day 30 of the 30 paintings in 30 days challenge felt appropriate. Especially of one of my all-time favorite subjects.
Here’s a few close-ups…
Hereford – Eye detail | aimeehoover.com
Hereford – Nose detail | aimeehoover.com
And that, my friends, is a WRAP.
Thanks so much for all the encouragement and following my work during this 30 day challenge. It actually feels weird that it’s over! But then again, so does painting two years worth of work in a single month.
I’m going to let everything I learned this month marinate while I take a few days off. Expect a post about that here on the blog next week.
Until then, thanks reading…
Hereford is sold, but more cow paintings can be found in the paintings gallery. Or if you’re interested in a custom piece, feel free to email me directly and we can chat. Thank you!
I’m a huge big cat fan and wanted to include at least one variety in this challenge. But big cats are one of the most challenging subjects to paint, even withOUT the time pressure of a daily challenge, so I wasn’t sure I could pull it off.
Then I realized that this challenge is not about creating a perfect painting, it’s about…well…challenging myself! So when I saw this beautiful animal (reference photo by Tambako the Jaguar) I knew I had to give it a shot.
Snow Leopard – Face detail | aimeehoover.com
Leopard’s eyes are probably the most beautiful animal eyes I’ve painted, and the most difficult. I actually had no idea they were blue and green and yellow. It’s probably why these cats seem so other worldly.
Snow Leopard – Eye detail | aimeehoover.com
Tomorrow is the the last day the challenge. I can’t believe it!
I’ll be posting the final piece tomorrow night right here on the blog.
Until then, thanks for reading.
Snow Leopard is sold, but if you’re interested in a custom piece, feel free to email me directly and we can chat. Thank you.
Over the last 10 years, I’ve had requests here and there to paint an elephant. While I am mesmerized by them, I never thought I could do them justice. They just seem to have a presence that is difficult to convey in paint.
I also wanted to paint one in a slightly different pose than is typically portrayed. Then I found a great image (taken by Holly, aka, “chopchops” on flickr.com) of one with it’s trunk resting on it’s head and knew I had to paint it.
And of course, while working on this piece, I fell in love with them as an animal even more, and was kicking myself for not painting one sooner!
Elephant – tusk detail | aimeehoover.com
This piece is painted in my new, more “open” style…where parts of the background poke through the subject, creating contrast with the more tighly rendered areas.
Until painting #28 tomorrow, thanks so much for reading…
If you have a question about this piece or are interested in purchasing it, feel free to email me directly and we can chat. Thanks!