For a change of pace, I decided to finish up another painting I had started in July. I don’t often paint animals, not because I can’t, but because I have little to no interest in doing so. I love animals; I have 3 cats and spend a lot of time with horses, but people fascinate me more.
But then Guardians of the Galaxy came along and the buddy story of Groot the walking tree and Rocket the sentient raccoon just crossed that line for me. An animal (and tree!) that hit me in the feels. I watched the movie several times looking for the one moment I really wanted to paint.
This is it.
Painting fur is like painting bears and hair – I want to show detail but not too much detail. In spite of the fur, Rocket still had a 3D shape that needed to be considered, so I started as I do with every portrait and worked on getting his depth in place. And taking his colouring into consideration. How do you make a raccoon look like himself? Same process as a portrait, but I found Rocket a lot more forgiving than most portraits.
I’m finding that I work with one brush for the majority of the painting now and it’s a fairly large one. When I switched to a small brush for the fur I felt like the piece was losing the looseness it had. I prefer to hint at detail than spend too much time stressing over it. Large sweeping strokes and swing around to nudge some detail into place.
The human brain is so fascinating in how it perceives the world. There are endless studies you can read about how we see things about an eighth of a second after it happens. Or how the brain fills in a lot of gaps on its own. Like how we don’t actually spend time seeing our own noses for example, though they’re there. Or my favourite, hint at something and the brain fills in the rest. This is what I keep in mind when I paint.
Have I mentioned how much of a nerd I am? But it makes a difference.
To finish off the painting, I wanted Rocket to look as vulnerable as he was in that scene. Sure they beat the bad guys, but at a huge cost. Groot was obliterated and it made Rocket small. Sure, we will have Groot back, or one of his offspring, but it will take time. At any rate, I added in the legs of the people he was standing between to convey that lack of height and presence.
16″ x 20″
Acrylic on canvas