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How Much Can A Koala Bare ·

How Much Can A Koala Bare
Medium: Pastel
Base: Paper
Year: 2011
Highly Commended - Fauna Division, Pastel Society of Victoria Exhibition at the Victorian Artists Society Gallery (2012)
Pastel on pastel paper derived from a photograph I was kindly allowed to use from a Facebook page about our lovely Australian wildlife. The original photo had a lot going on in the background and the foreground was covered in pebbles. These all looked attractive but I very much wanted to concentrate on the face of this beautiful animal. He really does seem to be smiling at you!
After being entranced by this lovely pose, I asked permission to use the original photo as a basis of the artwork. The site says that the photos are freely available but I like to ask anyway, just to be polite and so that they know what is being done. With this taken care of I made a colour laser print showing just enough detail to get going on the finished artwork. As most artists, I am not interested in a direct copy of any photo. I get inspired by them and then create my own artwork with it's own character and style and also with it's own colours, as many photos flatten the colours and fill in shadows.
This Pastel drawing (as opposed to a painting - which is the entire sheet of pastel paper filled in from side to side), was such a delight to draw. Once you get the eyes in, the character of the animal starts coming out from the surface very quickly and you are in a way, just revealing it. The goal is to set a light source if one is not obvious and in this case it wasn't, decide on your colour range and medium - of course, and then makeup your mind how detailed the work is going to be. For example, is it going to be a photographic realistic copy, a realistic artwork, an impressionistic representation or somewhere in between?
Early in my career I would have gone for as realistic and detailed as possible but I have changed my style in recent years and find that I am drawn to a more impressionist style of art. I like to leave things to the imagination and use light and colour a little more along with the medium and the unique textures that it may add. I want more emotion to capture the feel of a scene and the character of the animal to be of more importance than trying to reproduce a photo. After all if you want a photo - take a photo, if you want an artwork it should, to my thinking, look like it is one with a little of the personality of the artist mixed in with the paint or pastel.
That is what the ultimate goal was for this little koala. Nothing to take your focus away from him and how I see him, how I want to present him to the world through my eyes and from my heart and head to the surface of the pastel paper. I hope this does justice to the original photo and to the unique wildlife we are lucky enough to have in Australia. May we all be able to enjoy them in the wild for many years to come.
Dimensions: 51 cm (width) × 71 cm (height)
Ownership: Private collector

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