I'll never forget the time I was walking in the woods in the dark on my own, many years ago, and I met a group of deer coming the other way. It was like coming upon a group of people in the dark, and I don't know who was more scared by the experience - the deer or me! This was a different experience. Up here in Moray I see deer very often in the woods around our house, but it's rare to see a stag. This chap may just have been out for a stroll too, enjoying the dappled sunshine. We both froze as we met and, for a brief moment, stared at each other. Then he was off. I felt guilty. Deer are allowed to use the paths too!
The problem with an encounter like this is that there's no chance to sketch - it's over in a second. I did have my camera with me, though, and got some good pictures and did some brief planning sketches. I then used some reference photos and sketches I'd made a few years ago for the stag.
Although the stag forms the focal point of the picture, for me the painting is about the atmosphere. I wanted to painting to feel like one of those beautiful days when the sunlight is dappled and everything seems to glint and catch the sun at the same time. I have tried to convey this with a golden background glow, together with golden highlights everywhere among the trees and in the foliage. The colours of the plants and trees are never ostentatious but glow subtly in the low sun. And off course the stag eyes me briefly with fright and suspicion as we run into each other - you can sense his feelings of unease from his uncertain stance, his leg bent as if in mid-stride.
This painting is the start of a trend for me now - working bigger. I enjoy working on more compact pieces but I've done bigger in the past and am enjoying the freedom it gives me. This painting makes quite an impact - it's attractive in any light but when illuminated it positively glows! I'm very pleased with it and I hope you like it too!
A professional artist living and working in the beautiful north of Scotland. My work is realistic and quite traditional, though strongly interpretational in nature. My inspiration is the beauty of Nature, and the wonderful colours and moods she shows everywhere.