See how the squirrel painting is done from start-to-finish with Dan Waltz.

How to paint a Squirrel Demo by Artist Dan Waltz

Have you ever wondered how a painting is done? Are you a budding artist looking for tips? Look no further.





As you can see in the photo, I started roughing the wooden window frame in. I will continue to work in the window area, adding more details, and cracks; darkening areas and adding shadows. What I'm looking for is a weathered look to the window. The window is old, in need of a paint job and needs to me resealed as you can see the frost build up on the bottom due to air leaks.


I now have the window frame looking pretty close to what I want it to be. I won't know for sure until the rest of the painting is almost done. Details are always added as I go. I painted a light base coat under the window sill to start the moulding and the paneling and also to show me the contrast of the window frame. I now will start painting the moulding and the paneling and then on to the curtains.


The moulding and the paneling is now roughed in. It won't be long before I'm on to the curtains.

This is as far as I'm going to get today. More coming soon.


I went ahead and roughed the curtains in tonight before finishing the paneling. It will help me decide just how much detail I need to add in the paneling and throughout the painting. I don't want to over do it with details yet there is still so much I want to add to the painting. Having the entire painting roughed in like this will certainly help me decide that now that I don't have any white areas staring at me.

Paneling detail. Actual size. Description below the final painting.


The final painting (above).

I then went into the paneling with a very small brush and started adding the wood grain lines randomly. I really didn't follow any pattern in the photo, I just went with what I thought it would look like (see paneling detail above the final painting). This is hard to explain because the earlier photos of the paneling were just a little darker than they should have been. I really only needed to added the darker wood grain lines, which in return made the brown in the background appear lighter. Once I got the paneling the way I wanted it I then went on to the curtains and airbrushed darker greens and darker folds in the material. I then covered everything back up with the same mask that I used before and airbrushed white to bring out the highlights more. In the original photo you'll see a pattern in our curtains at home. It had an acorns and oak leaf print on it. I thought that would be cool to have in the painting with the squirrel looking in at all, but I elected to leave them off after seeing the solid curtain. I liked the result to much and was afraid that the print would make it to busy and draw your eye away from the main subject too much.

As you can see, yes I do use my own photos for references for my paintings and go to some lengths to recreate the photo in the computer so it's just the way I want it. But, I don't just copy the photo. I see no sense in that. I change it as I go and try and improve it anyway I can, the colors, the lighting, and take things out and maybe even add some things in. If I didn't, why paint it? I could just enlarge the photo and hang it on the wall.


I hope you enjoyed this demo.


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