Morgane Antoine’s acrylic wildlife painting Over the Edge was a finalist in The Artist’s Magazine’s 29th Annual Art Competition. Keep reading to see how she began her journey in art, and what inspires her to paint.
I started creating art as a mature and deliberate process about five years ago when I was given a box of acrylic paints and fell in love with this medium. I’ve always had a passion for drawing and though I took some watercolor courses as a child I’m basically self-taught. I developed my skills with an intensive observational work and by studying the technique of hyperrealism masters such as Robert Bateman, Carl Brenders and Terry Isaac.
After practicing a bit with my new paint tubes, the gifts to family and friends started to turn into valuable pieces bought by collectors, so I said to myself, “why not?” Since then I’ve been showing and selling both traditional and digital art on a steady basis and I would qualify myself as a semi-professional artist. (And my relatives hang on dearly to their early artworks—they could be worth a lot in a few years!)
I primarily use water-based media (acrylic and watercolor), but I also like to experiment with graphite or color pencils. I tend to work in a very detailed and realistic style; I started by creating miniatures and then moved on to bigger pieces while keeping the same technique.
The delightful Jampal, the female snow leopard at the Parc des Félins (a wonderful park near Paris dedicated to felines preservation), inspired this painting. I wanted to put her back into her natural environment to show the quiet strength, resilience and beauty of these endangered cats.
I sometimes paint outdoors from life but I usually work from several pictures that I combine for an ideal composition (with preliminary sketches if needed). That way, I get a real one-of-a-kind vision, a perfect shot that can’t be taken anywhere else but in my mind (though I always try to keep it as realistic as possible, I’m not trying to defy the laws of physics here!).
My typical color palette contains no more than six to eight colors as I like to keep the mood consistent. For this one I used Titanium White, Unbleached Titanium, Payne’s Gray, Ultramarine Blue, Cerulean Blue, Raw Umber, Burnt Umber and Burnt Sienna.
The smaller paintings take two to three days to complete but it can take up to two months for bigger pieces because I tweak them until I’m happy with the results. My biggest problem is that I love to paint furry creatures, which doesn’t help at all when you have to paint every single hair!
Over the Edge took me about six weeks from picture selection to framing, and I spent more time on the scenery than on the cat. At first I thought that I was painting the Himalayas but when nearing completion I realized that it was in fact a reference shot of the French Alps! Ah well, I’m a French artist, painting a French cat, after all; it’s only fair it should have a French scenery!
My favorite part of painting is always when the different layers and planes start to show life, with the perspective emerging. I try to capture the true essence, spirit and wonders of nature and to show the grace, gentleness, beauty, power or nobility of creatures. A mesmerizing expression on a closely cropped portrait, beautiful scenery or a peaceful setting, a spectacular sky, an intense action scene or an interesting attitude are all elements that can inspire me.
To all my relatives, collectors, fellow artists and photographers who will recognize themselves, thank you for always supporting me and pushing me forward! I always like to hear from art lovers so please feel free to get in touch if you would like to know more about my art.
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