American Hunting Gazette Summer 2013

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Learn why drawing is stfll "the bones" of every great painting

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Drawing Out an Idea Using as many drawings as he deems necessary, Ezra Tucker createsa starting point for his wildtife paintings


t age 7, I realized rhat I had an inexhausrible

"fH fascinarion with nature and wildlife and began collecting an extensive mental library of images from books, nature programs and visiting public zoological gardens. My greatest satisfaction and measure ofsuccess is having a collector expressthat even though my paintings are wrodimensional, they have life and presence and even a three-di mensi onalfeel i ngi n appearance. I have definite ideas ofhow to best portray the essenceof a creature in my art. My compositions and w arm col or pai erteare i nfuenced by my emotional reaction to each animal. \7hen I am observing wildlife, I see an infinite range ofbeauty of color and texture and power and motion and distinctive characteristics and personaliry within each individual creature. This is what I want to capture in my art whenever I am creating an image. I begin by selecting a creature from a moment of

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inspiration. I do numerous preliminary pencil sketches from memory and my general knowledge of that


species of interest. I will make compositionai decisions and imagine a color palette ro use at this time. After I


select a sketch to develop, I gather reference materials to remind me of the specific physical details that will


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help me to capture an essenceof the creature I want to highlight or emphasize in my artwork. These reference materials may be photographs, raxidermy mounrs ot live models. I will plan light and shadow effects at this time to enhance my composition. Occasionally, I will do a quick three-dimensional study of my model in clay and light it to help me to esrablish desired lighting effects. I will produce as many drawings as I feel are ,r...rr"ry

to work from as I am in the painting process.

I paint on 1O0-percent rag board or canvas. I use pre-primed cotton duck canvas stretched on custommade wood and aluminum stretchers for strength. I prime my painting surface with acrylic gessoapplied with a 3-inch synthetic bristle brush and a large palette knife to seal the painting surface for archivai purposes and to give me a textured foundation to build on. This process is spontaneous and energetic, keeping in

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MuleDeerDoe& Fawn,acrylicon board,48 x 36" (122x 91 cm) between to depictthegentlerelationship to compose thedoeandfawnin a manner Inthispaintingit wasmychallenge reducing thecontrastanddetailasyouviewthedoein thefaceof thefawnandgradually motherandchild.Byspotlighting layout. intothedepthof thismorecomplex meto directtheviewer'seyecomforlably coolercolorsenabled

@E Acrylic Demonstration

A FriendlyGaze,acrylicon canvas,24 x 48" (61x 122cm) Foxesarealwaysfunto paintbecause of thevarietyof colorin theirmulticolored wintercoats.Here,I lefttheshadowvery transparent. Paletteknifewasdominant in therendering of thelit areasof thisportrait.Various sizesof roundandflat brushes were usedfor thefinedetailsontheeyesandface.Thebackground coloris approximately fourlayersof transparent washes.

Sagebrush,acrylic onboard,40x 30" (102x 76cm) In thispainting I wantedto highlight thestrikingmarkings onthefaceandthe beautyof thelarge eyeof thepronghorn antelope. lt alsowas important to meto definethebeautyof colorandtextureof thehairof its coatby uslngcomplementary colorsin mypalette andpainting with thesidesof oldand frayedsynthetic roundbrushes.

mind what I want the final impact to be. The rigid board, as opposedto the flexible canvas,will give me different effectswhen I apply paint. I use acrylic artist colors in tubes using water asa medium. Acrylic paints allow me the flexibility to adjust the densiry ofmy color and to create desiredefFectseasily.They dry quickly and allow me to paint in layersand on inspiration. I tint my painting surface with a medium neutral tone using a large syntheticpaintbrush.During this process, I am beginning to form my emotional attachment to the painting and it givesme a midrange color baseto build on. I apply thinned controlled washesofcolor in layers with a sablebrushand usea spartering technique to add texture and spontaneiry. Vhen this foundation processhas dried I will transfer my drawing to the painting surfacewith a raw siennadrawing pencil, including asmuch detail as I feel is necessary. Or, at this stage,I may choose to leaveonly my drawing as my finished statement.Next, I lay in washesof color with different sizesofflat sablebrushes. A wet-in-wet watercolor technicue is

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what I use to establish my underpainting. At this stage the painting is lying on a horizontal surface so that I might control how the paint fows and puddles. I am

Anticipation,acrylicon canvas, 36x 48" (91x 122cm) Thispainting of a polarbearwasan imoressionistic symphony of colorand useof technique and tools.I felt inspired to bemoredescriDtive in mydepiction of this endangered species in its environment. I usedthesamepalette knifeto createthe surfaceof thesnow. background water andfur onthepolar bear.Theforeground wateris donewith #10filbertbrushes.

and enhancemy originalvision of the painting and composition.I usuallylet

feet and gives the painting an atmospheric

this layerofpaint dry for 24 hours. After this layeris dry, I beginto

\7hen I am working on the fine detail

and three-dimensional appearance.

of the painting, I am working with the

ofwater and using a palette knife to

painr opaquelywith an impressionistic techniqueusing a varietyof acrylic,bristle

variety of tools. During the application

manipulate these washes of color. I am

and sablebrushesand paletteknivesto

of these layers of paint, I am always aware

misting the surface with a spray bottle

art vertical on an easel using this same

to allow my warm base color to show through in order to keep my color and

"I have definite fdeasof how to best portray the essence of a creature in my art. My composftfonsand warm color paletteare influenced by my emotional reaction to each animal."

the painting in harmony and not to cover the exciting spontaneity I started with. I am continuously walking back and forth acrossmy studi o to vi ew rhe pai nri ng in progress, as I expect viewers to do, to judge the amount of detail to include. V/hen I feel that I have completed my painting, I will hang the art in my studio and observe it for days, weeks, or months to see ifthere is anlthing else to say or refine. I will work on more than one piece

intentionally encouraging the paint to

build detail. I am using all sidesof my

at a time in order to prevent my focus

run, splash and spatter. These transparent

brushesand knivesto blend color and to give variety to my edgesand quality

from becoming too narrow and losing

iayers allow me to see my foundation and give me a spectrum of color and a variery of edges.The spontaneity of these layers als o hel p s t o s t i m u l a t e m y cr e a tivee ye to offer myself opportunities

to adjust

of line.This brokenimpressionistic brushstrokeallowsthe differentlevelsof color to be visible.It alsoallowscolorsto blend optically from a distanceofabout 10

the freshness I desire in each work ofart. Finally, I use a UV-rated satin varnish to seal and protect the finished drawing or painting to reveal color and to prevent glare when the art is hung on display. E!

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*$;r#, ser $I'l$5r ttum ffimkgetg The Edge " r* i ' 5 ' T:3-g > Dramatic lightingis important to establishing thefocalpointof the paintingandcreatespathways of movementthroughout thecomposition. > Warmhighlights andcoolshadows help to establish thedramaofthepainting. > Keeping myshadows transparent andsimpleaddsinterest. Thisdirects moreemphasis onthe lit areasof the paintingandenhances thedramaand dimensional lookof thecomposition.

> Leaving someareasandedges undefined createsinterestanda sense of wonderto theviewer. , Usingearthtonesanda predominanfly warmpalettereflectsan OldWorld traditional appeal. > Thestrengthof mypaintings is in the foundation drawing. > | usetouchesof brightcolorin areasof mypaintings to createtheunexpected andinterest.

> Using a br0ken or impressionistic brushstroke will givea paintingair and looseedgesthatimplymotion. '.j:'.i--::.i-r::r :i LAYOUT Thisis myworkingsketchthatI produced froma seriesof thumbnail sketches. Myinspiration for this painting (1724-1806) is froma seriesof paintings by George Stubbs of a horseandlionin conflict.

:,: LION AND ZEBRA SKETCHES 111i.{-i,!, pencil Next,I produced detailed drawings of areas of thepainting thatI amplanning to bethe painting focalpointof myfinished asreference fordetails asI aminthepaintprocess.


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TRANSFERRING TO CANVAS fortransferring, thecanvas andprepared I stretched I decided onforthe Thedimensions mysketch. painting t0 thatwouldbemostcomfortable finished workwith was80 by 56 inches(203x 142cm).




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A r t is t s'Qu a l i tyAc ry l i cP a i n ts : )) , Yellow Oxide > lvoryBlack > Titanium White > Viridian HuePermanent )) > Vandyke Red > Yellow 0rangeAzo > Cadmium 0range > Cadmium Yeilow Light > Unbleached Titanium

Red Cadmium RawUmber BurntUmber Alizarin Crimson RawSienna

Tools: pencilin burnt > Drawing sienna > Various sizesof palette knives > 0ldsynthetic, bristle (flats, andsablebrushes filberts, brights) rounds, ) Spraybottle






Surface: > Aluminum andwood bars stretcher > Cotton duckpre-primed canvas Medi ums: n Gesso > Polymer satinvarnish

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ESTABLISHINGFOCAL POINT I establish thefocalpointofthepainting byapplyingtransparent washes ofcolorovermydrawing to determine theshadows and highlights. I usedlargeflatbrushes andvarious sizesofpalette knives to create theselayers ofspontaneous andplanned color. DRAWING TO ADD STRIPES pencilsketch This8-by-10-inch andlargeacetateoverlays helpedmecreatethezebra's paint stripesbeforeI applied to canvas.I drewthestripes on thecanvaswith a burnt pencil. sienna drawing

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PAINTING STRIPES #10bristle using I painted inthestripes Vandyke layers of burntumber, Using brushes. redlight,andivoryblack, red,cadmium orange, cadmium titanium, Unbleached blueforthehighlights. andcerulean

FINAL DETAILS fhe Edge,acrylicon canvas, 80 x 56" (203x 142cm) the thebackground behind I darkened headsof thezebraandlionwithwashes of colorandaddedmoredetail.

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bytheworks havestudied andbeeninfluenced I Rungius Landseer, Kuhnert, I of Barye, Wardle, of bythechallenge andKuhn.I amentertained myart. recreating myknowledge of wildlifethrough Mycareerbeganmorethanthreedecades producing many agoas an illustrator, andenduring familiaradvertisements Fortune imagesfor a multitude of America's suchas the Budweiser 500corporations posterart of the movieTheTen Clydesdales, andan illustratedStarWars Commandmenfs, novelfor LucasFilms. ArtMuseum, theRegional TheBoothWestern

in NovaScotia, Seagram Cultural Centre TheNational ParkService, U.S,Postal Company, BankofAmerica, and Service, Disney Corporation, that the MGMGrandHotelareamonqcollectors myart. havepurchased of Animal Artists I ama member of theSociety anda SAAWildlife andSafariClubInternational, AwardWinnerin America'sParksthroughthe Beautyof Art 2013. Gontactat: EzraTu com ckerl55@aol.

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