I don't always know how paintings come into existence, they start as a vague idea, an idea of colors and mood, and as I go about choosing the subjects and the composition, details slowly work themselves up into one painting.
For example, with this piece, I knew I wanted my female figure sitting. But then, I had to break down how I wanted her sitting, and perhaps most importantly, where she would be in relation to the wolf.
My first draft had her much larger, about the size of the wolf. This gave an idea that she and the wolf were together, and my last goal was to make it look like a woman with a pet wolf. Just didn't fit the theme.
So I made her smaller and farther away, how a lone wolf might sit in society.
I wanted her to look part of the ethereal surrounding, but detached from the viewer. There is depth and awareness to her, but also distance. There's a hint of pain about her, but she looks up and out, as if in this state, she is thinking independently.
As far as the wolf goes, again there were many photo reference options and I played around with a variety. I decided on having the wolf standing and looking away from the woman (again attempting to keep the 2 separate in space) and I found a beautiful white wolf in the right stance. She was looking the wrong way, but thanks to photo editing I was able to flip it around and make it work.
each painting takes a million decisions to make. One small mark has the potential to completely alter meaning and content. At first she looked way too unhappy, based simply on the placement of values on her face.
Anyhow, I am very happy with the way it turned out, as I believe it got my feeling and the complexity of being a lone wolf, the tension but also the possibility, across.