This beautiful bird just had to be worked on leather, and here he is. When I am working on a large piece like this I just get so engrossed in the close up and the attention to detail that it is not until I get up from the easel that I can get the full extent of what I have done that day. It takes many hours to get it all right and possible re-working of some parts until I am satisfied. In the places where I will lay the gold leaf, I usually underpaint this with red oxide to show the vibrancy of the gold: also this acts as a marker for where I will actually apply the gold leaf at a later stage in case I have forgotten what I had initially planned!
Just for the record and to reinforce the integrity of my work, I have never painted an animal on leather unless it is a carnivore and preys on other animals for food. I would never paint a herbivore on leather (i.e. my beloved elephants) although I have been asked to do this. Canvas and linen are fine and the paintings are just as challenging to work. To those who have made derogatory comments about my painting on leather – this is what I do – the actual animal is no more and the skin is a bi-product of our human liking for meat. For many years I was a vegetarian, wore leather shoes and painted on leather – that’s just the way it is!