White Lion

The White Lion, a new addition to my “In The Balance” series.

Oil on canvas, 120cm by 200cm, (2017). See my White lion time-lapse painting demonstration video – click here.


The White lion of the Timbavati area is the same genus as the tawny Southeast African lion. These lions are found in some wildlife reserves in South Africa, and in wild game parks around the world. They were thought to have been native to the Timbavati region of South Africa for thousands of years, although, the first logged sighting in this region was only in 1938. Held as divine by locals, white lions first came to public notice in the 1970s, in Chris McBride’s book The White Lions of Timbavati.

Furthermore, their white color is caused by an ebbing trait derived from a less-severe mutation in the same gene that causes albinism. This gene is distinct from the gene that causes whiteness in tigers. The white lion can vary from blonde to near-white. This coloration does not appear to weaken their survival skills. The white lions of the Global White Lion Protection Trust (GWLPT) have been restored back into the wild. They have been hunting and breeding well without human intervention for a long amount of time.

To paint this majestic animal I used the traditional Grisaille technique. I plan to produce at least 12 paintings of wild cats at this size and composition.


Snow leopard II

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Snow Leopard II, a new addition to my “In The Balance” Series. 

Oil on canvas, 120cm by 200cm, (2016). See my Snow leopard demonstration video – click here.


Endangered with an estimated population of 4080 to 6590, Snow leopards are found in 12 countries—including China, Bhutan, Nepal, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Russia, and Mongolia. The powerful build allows it to scale great steep slopes with ease. Its hind legs give it the ability to leap six times the length of its body while a long tail provides balance and agility and also wraps around the resting snow leopard as protection from the cold. It’s sole predator is humans. Hunting, habitat loss and retaliatory killings are the main reasons this big cat is now listed as an endangered species.

The technique I used in this painting is traditionally refereed to as Grisaille, which is a term used for a painting executed entirely in shades of grey or of another neutral grayish colours. This greyish colour is achieved by glazing subsequent layers of my ‘black’ (a mixture of Van Dyke brown and Prussian blue) and Titanium white oil paint. Glazing in oil painting is the technique of applying very thin transparent or semitransparent layers of oil paint over the dry surface of a painting. Glazing is used to enhance, change or deepen your colours. When light shines through the glaze layer it reflects from the layers underneath. Because the glaze layer has its own colour it changes the appearance of the lower layers, causing light diffusion and glow. The process is slow, but the results are not achievable by any other means of oil painting. The colours mix optically when two or more colour glazes are applied.

The oil medium (glazing medium) I used was a combination of a third Liquin, a third refined linseed oil and a third genuine turpentine. Liquin is a quick drying medium for oil and alkyd colors. It improves flow, transparency and soothes brush work. Liquin also has a great resistance to yellowing. The oil colour I used was 5 parts Vandyke brown and one part Prussian blue. Making sure that my oil colours are totally dry before applying my next layer. I have given the paining at least two days to dry before final glazing.