Wednesday, 10 April 2013

The Tunnicliffe Process

Chuck-T, as his friends never ever ever called him ever.

From the mid-30s for over 40 years Charles Tunnicliffe spent most of his daylight hours observing, drawing or painting birds. If you ever learnt to read you'll recognise Charles' style, for he produced many, many of the paintings for the Ladybird books. Here at Mounds & Circles we present a little look at the process Charles went through to complete a painting:

Whooper Swan Cygnus cygnus. February 15th 1954. Three preliminary field studies in pencil for the painting below. 

Watercolour drawing drawn in the studio on return home. The following notes were added before the memory faded:

Whooper Swan preening and bathing. Adopts this position when beating its wings usually with one wing deep in the water. As a rule tail is submerged. Bill open all the time as if in pleasure. They would roll onto their sides and several times I saw a swan turn on it's back with both feet in the air.

Tunnicliffe invariably made a small sketch establishing the main composition and colour scheme. He then made a full size cartoon on thin paper where the drawing would be worked out in detail before being transferred to watercolour paper.

The finished painting, Whooper Bathing, was exhibited in the Royal Academy in 1960.


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