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Artists & Illustrators|August 2021
Instead of tackling a standard wildlife portrait, HASHIM AKIB shows how a more complicated grouping of animals offers the chance for a more painterly approach
HASHIM AKIB

Hashim's materials

Paints

Azo Yellow Lemon, Azo Yellow Medium, Azo Orange, Pyrrole Red, Primary Magenta, Quinacridone Rose, Ultramarine Violet, Permanent Blue Violet, Sky Blue Light, Brilliant Blue, Cobalt Blue (Ultramarine), Phthalo Blue, Greenish Blue, Prussian Blue (Phthalo), Permanent Green Light, Phthalo Green, Yellow Ochre, Burnt Sienna, Warm Grey and Titanium White, all Amsterdam Standard acrylics

Brushes Daler-Rowney Skyflow large flat brushes, sizes 1/2”, 1”, 1.5” and 2”

Support Stretched cotton canvas, 60x75cm

White plastic mixing tray

Kitchen roll

Water pot

When it comes to painting animals, it’s common for artists to go for a photographic likeness, perhaps with a heavy helping of cuteness. It’s worth considering a few other options before you start your next wildlife painting to help it stand out from the crowd.

For starters, avoid obsessing over the source image and allow yourself to break free by using colours or marks more expressively. This reflects the wildness of the subject matter and adds a creative twist. Try looking for patterns – these might be interesting shapes or colours, you might look at how repetitive these are, or focus on the effects of light and dark. In simple terms, look at everything other than how detailed the reference material is. Drawing and proportions are vital when it comes to adding naturalism but best tempered by some self-expression.

For this exercise, I will be talking you through how I painted a group of flamingos in acrylics, going through the various challenges and choices made. I based the painting on a photo I took at Berlin zoo. I loved the soft tints against dark and the various intricate shapes formed from the extended heads and legs. www.hashimakib.co.uk

1 Mix up colours

Working on a grey base colour mixed from Brilliant Blue, Burnt Sienna and Titanium White, I sketched out the flamingos to make sure everything fitted on the picture plane.

On my mixing tray I added plenty of Titanium White, reds, oranges and earth colours, along with small dabs of blues and purples using a slightly damp 2” flat brush. All the flamingos will have a combination of these colours so be generous with squeezing out the paint. The central pool of colour on your palette can then be split into sections as your mixes develop, with stronger reds, slightly browner mixes, blues for cooler combinations, and a creamy mix with extra Titanium White.

2 Let paint streak

Each flamingo was painted using a 1.5” flat brush, starting with a few semi-circular strokes for the body. The paint was used neat to add an impasto effect and colours were slightly under mixed to create some streaking, which mimicked the flow of feathers.

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