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Painting the Polar Bear by jennibstudios and why I love wildlife art

The Polar Bear maybe classified as a vulnerable species due to decades of large-scale hunting among many other factors however this beautiful species that lives primarily in the Artic Circle has one real threat to its survival, that is the habitat loss due to environmental factors.

Often when we see wildlife art the animals are portrayed in a hunting stance or fear state. Personally, I prefer those moments when our animals show us more about their personalities.






STAGE 1: I thought a lot about what I wanted the viewer to see when they look at this painting. In order to do that I ask myself a few questions and consider each answer. I ask my students similar questions when they are about to produce a painting. These questions help define the direction that I want to go. What is the story behind the work you are producing?

After I have a direction and have prepared my canvas, I can then move on with the first stage of blocking in as per photo 1.


Knowing the answer to the question I can block in the composition which best suits the story I am telling with watered down acrylic paint. Think Melted butter consistency.


tip #1- Blocking in designing the composition for the story



Tip #2 - keep it simple


we have all heard the KISS theory and I apply this to my work. Concentrating on the tonal application so that i can create contrast and excitement without taking away from the story of the painting. With the first layer completed it is now time for me to strengthen the darks keeping my lights slightly darker than you would think as my lightest lights will go on last.


“A work of art which isn’t based on feeling isn’t art at all.” – Paul Cézanne

Tip #3 - Keep the darks and the light will glow


As I add the next layer of paint i work on the basic principle of dark to light and thin to thick. At this stage my paint is more like soft butter as I apply the paint and build up the layers. This is important because I want to build a strong foundation for this painting as i do with every painting. You can see here the effect of the dark and light. I am also looking for the colour, often hidden, in the white fur. These subtle colours or hues help to add interest and a glow to the final stages.


Tip #4 - Bring it home


At this stage your painting may not feel like it will be anything other than a mess however working through this stage is more about problem solving. This is something I remind my students all the time. From the first stroke to the last it is all about problem solving. So have courage! My paint consistency is now purer and thicker having more body. The final stage is more about the detail and the light.




This Apex predator comes to life in a moment of contemplation.


This Painting will be available for purchase after the 8th of January 2023 from jennibstudios.com


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