Marc Mitchard

I’m fascinated by the process of creating detailed, representational paintings.

I paint in Acrylic on smooth gesso panels, and my current style and methods are self-taught. My focus is wildlife, specifically the study of birds. I’m a member of the RSPB and The David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation.

I’m very inspired by photography and cinematography and the range of images these disciplines can create. A shallow depth of field, for example, rendering some textures of a painting soft and out of focus, when contrasted with the more detailed elements of a composition. I use these principles to help me plan and create depth and balance in a new painting.

Each painting takes many hours to complete, from initial concept, to the finished piece. My motivation is quite simple, I want the finished work to look and feel as real and authentic as possible. For me it’s about trying to bring the image to life and create an honest representation of the subject, as I see and interpret it, before it leaves my easel.

I have always enjoyed and appreciated viewing many different painting styles, it’s what I love about art, the variety is amazing. An artist’s style is of course unique, and theirs to own, this one is mine and I hope you enjoy the experience as a viewer, as much as I enjoy the process as an artist.

Painting Method

I’m very inspired by photography and the range of images this discipline can create. A shallow depth of field rendering some parts of an image out of focus for example while contrasted with more detailed elements of a composition.

I paint in acrylics and my current method is self taught. The ideas for paintings usually start from wildlife and natural environments I witness and observe. I work from my own photography and observation of the subjects I choose.

I paint on wooden panels. These supports are sealed and finished with ultra smooth grounds ready to paint on.

I work the backgrounds up first to almost completion, laying down multiple thin layers of the most neutral, least saturated colours in the piece to help create depth. I use sponges and soft nylon brushes at this stage to ensure the background of the compositions remain blurred and out of focus.

I then start adding middle distance objects in a similar way but increase the saturation and detail a little more followed by the main subject of the painting using the darkest contrast at this stage, most saturated colours and fine detail while retaining form. There is always a constant process of pushing and pulling of colours and value throughout the process but this is the basic order I work in to create a piece. This process involves starting with anything up to 2” and larger nylon brushes for the backgrounds and finishing the finest detail working down to 5/0 pure sable riggers/rounds and designers etc to capture the last detail.

I glaze the painting at this stage with a clear gloss medium, which serves a couple of purposes. Firstly it will unify the colours,values and overall sheen, giving me an accurate view of how the final varnished piece will likely look. But it also allows me to still make minor adjustments at this stage if required as I can still paint over this medium. In addition it also acts as a barrier protecting and separating the paint layers from the final varnish coat. Its at this stage I photograph the painting as well ready for online publishing and archive. The final stage is to gloss varnish the piece prior to having the painting professionally framed.

My paintings take many hours of work from initial concept to the finished piece. There are lots of checks I perform and are required before I can consider a piece complete. Ultimately though, I know they are finished when I simply don’t want to part with them, that really is the very best test of all for me.