Keeping Watch

Digital painting of a wolf pup and parent; the parent is asleep or pretending to be while the pup is watching

Well, here’s yet another result of my late night painting sessions. It is a painting of a gray wolf pup and his parent. The parent is resting but obviously not asleep while the puppy is awake and looking like he’s on the lookout, hence the title Keeping Watch. I’m not sure whether the parent wolf is the mother or father. That’s for the viewer to decide, I guess. It began as a doodle I did right before bed in April. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with it. Kate encouraged me to paint it, so I did.

Color Palette A table of color swatches showing the color palette used for “Keeping Watch”
Color palette for “Keeping Watch”

I went about this a bit differently than I have in the recent past. I am unsure whether it’s because I’ve been doing a lot of shirt designs lately, but I just picked the colors that could be used in the painting first before starting instead of my usual practice of mapping out a color gamut on the wheel. I also actually painted it a bit differently than I would normally. All of the colors but one were used in the vast majority of painting. I reserved one color for a special part of the painting — the puppy’s eyes. It’s the only thing that’s blue in the painting. It’s barely blue at that, being a faint blue grey. The leaves in the background look to be reflecting a bit of a sky that is off view that also look faintly blue, but upon closer inspection they’re green. Juxtapositions of color can play tricks on the mind, and it’s been interesting exploring that aspect of color with this painting most of all.

I am generally happy with it. I could, of course, keep picking nits off of it until the end of the world. I had to stop at some point, but truth be told I stopped at Kate’s insistence. I have been painting wildlife a bit lately, and I rather enjoy it. The original image is 14,400 × 10,800 pixels at a traditional canvas ratio of 4:3; that makes it roughly 48″ × 36″ at 300 l.p.i. (121.92 cm × 91.44 cm at 118.11