I’m working on painting a raccoon on black paper. It’s the first time I’ve painted on black, and the experience is very different from anything else I’ve tried to paint. As I was deciding which paper to put it on, I was holding the old Arches block of watercolor paper and about to throw the back liner away. Rather than throw it out, I decided to see if it would work as a canvas. It’s acid free, just like the paper block was, so why not? Starting with black would be easier than trying to get the deep shadows of the background, if it worked. I didn’t know if my Paleo Paints would show up on it or not.
And there’s the catch. They don’t show up very much while I’m actually painting. But once it dries, they show up very nicely. The trick is pausing often enough between paint applications to decide where to put the next round of paint. You can see how I’ve built up the layers on the rocks. I’m working on the foreground first then will do the background and last will do the raccoon itself. I’ve just blocked him in there for now with my Ancient White made from our native limestone.
If I wanted to, and I may want to one day, I could do entirely black and white with black paper. It’s turning out to be an interesting process.
Raccoon of the Forest
Granddaughter Chloe’s birthday is coming up and she wanted a picture of a raccoon. They’re getting ready to move into a new house and she’s planning her bedroom decor. “Forest” is her chosen theme, along with Guardians of the Galaxy and a raccoon picture that isn’t Rocket. She only wants Rocket on her bedding.
So, I’m trying to get this painting finished and a print made and framed within the week. My painting style is normally sloooooowwwww, but I’m trying to speed up my process. Not only am I trying to do a faster than usual painting, this one is a complete experiment because it’s on black paper.
Here’s the progress so far. Keep checking back, or follow me on Instagram if you want to see current progress as it happens. Today I also have some outdoor chores to do, so I may not get back to it until later this week.
The Palette I’m Using for the Raccoon Painting
All of the colors in my palette for this painting are my handmade watercolors. All but one of the colors were sourced right here at home. Spitfire is from a shard of an old brick found in Texarkana, AR (or maybe TX). If a paint is called ‘lites’, then it is a washed pigment and the fines portion (the part that stayed suspended longer in the water) was used to make the paint.
- Murdock yellow (combination of Murdock heavies and yellow sandstone)
- Spitfire lites (from an old red brick)
- Yellow heavies (yellow sandstone)
- Russet lites (russet sandstone, lites)
- Creek Shale (a dark gray shale)
- Ancient White (limestone from the creek)
- Rosy heavies (a red sandstone)
- Green Heavies (a green siltstone or shale, not sure what it is)
- Bone black
- brushes: #10 round, #8 stiff round, #2 round, a liner, not sure what size, and short squared bristle, not sure what size.
Original and Prints
When I’m finished with this, I’ll make the first print and get it framed for Chloe. Because of the density of black, prints for this image may cost more than my other works and it might not be feasible to make note cards. I’ll see. Once I’ve decided on that I’ll link here to the listings.