Sunday, February 22, 2009

Fox--Before and After

Here's a cute little fox who lives in New Jersey at the Lakota Wolf Preserve. Her name is Red (of course!). I started this painting a few years ago and thought it was finished in 2007, but I always felt uneasy with it, so it sat in the studio for all this time against the wall. I'd look at it, turn it upside down, look at it some more...Then, a while back, I just painted out the entire background and let it sit around for a few more months. Finally, I figured out what it needed so that the fox would be better integrated with the background. The orange/red leaves were necessary to balance the colors, but the fox still stood out in a funny way. I saw a dog at the park with shadows on his back and it made me realize that shadows would be just the thing to help.
I still look at the two versions and can't decide which I like better, but that's just the way it goes!


Shany said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Shany said...

The First picture, with the forest behind the Fox is more subtle and give more life to the Fox than the leafs.

In the second image, the background is too dark, while the Fox is too highlighted, it looks like someone has directed a flash light right at the Fox.

If you like the second picture with the leafs, than the background must be highlighted with more light.

Although I know you want the fox to be the 'Theme' of the painting, therefor, sometimes, you just need to understand that mother nature must be blended with everything around it to create Harmony.

So, Harmony is the name of the game for your beautiful painting. It's just a matter of finding the perfect harmony between the Fox and the background's colors.

Jen said...

Ah, two of my favorite things in the world; a red fox and autumn! Like Rien Poortvliet, I've always seen the red fox as one of the most beautiful and elegant designs in nature. Foxes have popped up throughout my life; from the pet our neighbor had when I was a toddler, to the two tame foxes at the natural history center that ate goldfish crackers from my hand on my college lunch breaks. I even use a winged fox as my logo! And nothing is more perfect than a red fox among autumn colors, though I admit there are things that I really like about both versions; the lightness in the distant background with the strong verticals of the trees and crisscrossing branches (who doesn't love tree architecture?) appeals to me. But then I also love the colors and shape of the leaves in the foreground of the second version along with what they bring to the composition. Maybe just a little more sunlight/ fox orange on the leaves to the left? It's always tough when both are so nice!

Thanks so much for showing this to us. It brought a smile to my face!

Boris and Julie said...

Thanks for the thoughts and suggestions! I do feel that there's still more work to be done with the leaves, so you'll probably see another "finished" version later.
And hooray for Rien Poortvliet! His animals reign supreme.


Pierz said...

I don't envy the paradox these paintings created for you. They are both awesome for different reasons :P :P

Although, I think I am partial to the on on top. I really dig that sense of depth in the back ground.

But the shadows from the leaves on the second one are very interesting too...

Now I can't decide which one....sheesh

Boris and Julie said...

There is a really interesting point to think about here--there's not a "right" way to approach art. Also, one thing that's different in working on this piece is that it's a personal piece and there is no deadline, so the luxury of extra time and no constraints adds a big x-factor to things. When you have a commissioned piece with a deadline, you have to just decide where you're going, do the work, then let it be. Not too much time for second guessing.
Every situation presents its own challenges and rewards!


Shany said...


True, True. The hard thing as an Artist who paint/draw for him self is how complete he is with his own artwork. When you finally agree with your self about what you've done (no matter what others might think), than, that is the place you wanna be.

Commissioned artwork doesn't express your self as an artist, it is a work flow that has guidelines, and you as an artist must go through them and maintain them.

Boris and Julie said...

Yeah, it's great when you do agree with yourself, but it can be a struggle when you have all these different ideas presenting themselves at the same time, each with its own great argument!
Anyway, it's fun to explore.


Shany said...

Yup! Nothing like exploring ideas! The are endless. As Thomas Edison once said "I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work." ;)

Continue with your amazing work, Julie. You're a living legend among artists!

Jose E. Buezo de Manzanedo said...

Maestros es un gran placer para mí poder escribir en su blog, sorry si no escribo en inglés. Ud. Usted y su esposa Julie son de una gran inspiración para muchos como yo que crecieron con su gran arte. Espero puedan venir al Perú algún día.
Gracias por compartir sus trabajos y técnicas.
Abrazos desde Perú... :)

Arbiter Chrono said...

I really couldn't say what the second one 'needs', but I do prefer it. Maybe a touch more light picked out on the leaves? or just a little more shadow underneath him. I really like the colour of the leaves. Thank you for sharing your lovely work with us.

pablo pablo said...

Great !!
I am Bori´s fan since 80¨
Lo digo en español
Soy un admirador de Boris desde los años 80´s
eres uno de los mejores!
Saludos from Argentina!

David Patel said...

I dont see where Shany gets the rocks to critique Julie Bell...
they both look great to me! thanks guys, you are the reason i started drawing and now painting! i used you as examples in my essay that i wrote for my application into art center, im going next fall!

Boris and Julie said...

Awww, shucks! Thanks, David. Your paintings in your blog look great! Keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

I am indeed more partial to the original. I prefer how the subject stands our more among the darker woods rather then blending in with the red Autumn leaves.

Barbara said...

I think the forest one was better. The second one just looks pasted on and flat.