This wolf’s name is Spirit. I call this painting I recently finished Spirit Wolf at Play, which you can also find on my website. When I visited Wildlife Images awhile ago, he was brought out of his enclosure for us to see, and the fellow immediately proceeded to nose around in the Vinca bed and get entangled in the vines.
I loved seeing this playful side of the wolf. Wolves are so often portrayed as noble and savage, but not everyone sees that they play and are goofy like any other canine.
Sadly, Spirit is no more. Apparently he died after surgery not long ago. He is sorely missed by his keeper, his admirers – and there were many – and of course his female wolf pack that was left behind.
This painting was a departure from the watercolor I normally use. I used primarily artists’ quality gouache. Gouache is most often used by illustrators – it dries fast and lends sharp, clean edges for good quality reproduction. But with the best quality gouache paint (lightfast pure pigments), one can achieve results that are similar to oils. Unfortunately, I cannot use oils – even the watersoluble types – as there are too many chemicals in the oils that cause me headaches. So gouache was the next medium I wanted to try, as I’ve missed the depth one can achieve with oils.
Unlike watercolors that dictate painting from light to dark and reserving the white paper underneath for the lightest areas of the work, gouache can be painted dark to light like oils. I had great fun experimenting and seeing new possibilities.
I will continue to paint with watercolors, but you will see more gouache paintings from time to time.