Before I start painting, the complete image is already in my head. The colour of the background, the composition, the way the different parts of the canvas will be filled in, the position of the animal...
To be sure that the image will be perfect, I first draw a sketch. Using this sketch, the right size of the canvas is fixed.
First the canvas is painted with four different layers of the same coloured paint, using a big brush. This tint will be the background of the final painting.
When the paint has dried, the wanted image is sketched with lead- pencil, considering the exact proportion. These contours are filled in with paint in the most dark colour of the animal.
Now a silhouette is born, necessary to avoid that the background colour is seen through the image of the animal. This dark tint also gives the upper layers a more intense colour.
When I start painting on the animal, I change my brush for a thin pencil. I always start with the eyes. By doing this the animal starts looking at me and I can feel contact between us.
The next thing is the fur. Hair after hair, layer after layer and from dark to light. After a while you can see it becomes more voluminous.
In order to make the animal as realistic as possible, I use several photographs. From one I take the nose, from another the eyes and the ears to create my own "perfect" animal.
When the image is finally realised, I watch it closely. Maybe there are some more hairs to be added. Some more accents in the way the light is pictured. Sometimes a shadow is painted.
Finally, after hours, days and often weeks the work looks finished. The painting is removed from the easel and makes place for another new, empty canvas.
After two weeks of drying, I apply a fixing varnish layer. Maximum protection against heavy sunlight is required and it is also necessary to saturate the colours.