What is to most difficult thing to paint?

I think if I asked what people they thought was the most complicated thing to paint, they would guess fur or clouds. 

But for me it’s wood! 

It’s so diverse, with so many different textures and patterns that it can be difficult to make it look realistic. 

My latest painting is based on over 20 references I took in Africa in 2013. 

This young male Leopard had recently separated from his brother and was out on his own for the first time. He liked to spend time near a group of fallen trees that had been knocked over by local elephants. It was a pleasure to photograph him for many hours during my trip. 

But let’s get back to the wood! My goodness, it took a long time. 

Here is the work in progress. The leopard and clouds are only roughed in, but the fallen log is now close to being finished.

Dividing the log into 3 sections you can see that there are 3 very different patterns of wood: 

1. Knotted areas where branches were once attached:

2. Rough Bark overlapping the smooth sapwood (I had to google sapwood LOL)

3. And finally, pure sapwood with its parallel lines, as it ages and cracks

With each new piece that I work on, I want to challenge myself as much as I can. It does take longer than repeating the same idea again and again, but I want my work to feel fresh for myself and my clients. 

Here are some examples of challenges I took on before I knew HOW I was going to create the effect with paint: 


Motion of Water

Big Clouds

Mountain Rocks

Still Water and Reflection

Wet Fur

I hope you find these peeks into my painting world interesting. 

I’ll continue to challenge myself with my work and I thank you for reading. 

Stay safe and take care, 


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