Caroline Shotton - The Last Straw

'This year I wanted to challenge myself, and add a new dynamic to my work, bringing in new animals.

Changing to oils from acrylics in 2011 has had a dramatic impact on my painting technique, allowing me to refine and explore finer detail in a new way. I no longer focussed on humour with the titles, but I could really bring out the painting quality, producing a more realistic finish.

I was also interested to see how other animals would interact with the cows. This is something I can develop further, but first I wanted to introduce these new 'characters' on their own, in a portrait style. This was partly inspired by the oil paint, and partly by my previous 'Moosterpieces'. I wanted a more traditional look - rich, dusky backgrounds - without the texture of some of my previous pieces. I also visited the National Portrait Gallery for some research. I then went through sketch after sketch developing the personalities of these new animals. It's amazing how much the slightest change of the shape of a nose, or the raising of an eyebrow by a couple of millimetres can completely change their look.

I have really enjoyed painting these pieces, giving each of the animals their own identity, and also creating the relationship with their portrait partner.

Most simply, my work is about making people smile, and giving animals human characteristics.'

Canvas On Board
24" x 24"

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