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Captivity - Kim Lee by Heatherzart Captivity - Kim Lee by Heatherzart
Scratchboard and Ink
24" x 36"
Chinese Leopard

Kim Lee is a Northern Chinese Leopard living at the Exotic Feline Breeding Compound in Rosamond, CA. It's a non-profit organization set up to save endangered species and educate the public. Kim Lee is the first of my "Captivity" series which has special significance to me. All of my reference photos are taken at zoos or breeding facilities and it's a fact of life that is both tragic and utterly necessary. Without protection, many of these animals will be extinct in our lifetime. My series is meant to show the beauty and majesty these cats hold regardless of and even in spite of their captivity. Kim Lee and I had a moment where she sat down at her fence not three feet from where I sat on the sidewalk and just... posed for me. I chose to show the reflection of the fence in her eyes so as not to forget where she is and why.

Professional photo now up - colors and detail are so much better! And I updated the print page.
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:iconkittenkateaspen:
kittenkateaspen Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2014
Is Wonderful
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:icondatfoxthou:
Datfoxthou Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Crying Charmandar Bulbasaur Crying It's so BEAUTIFUL 
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:iconbitch0nline:
Bitch0nline Featured By Owner Nov 19, 2013
:iconclapplz: WOW you are the best traditional artist I have seen you do such beautiful work!!!!
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:iconniftynguni:
NiftyNguni Featured By Owner Aug 25, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Amazingly beautiful! 
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:iconmatsuemon:
Matsuemon Featured By Owner May 22, 2013
Sorry, I can't critique something that is utterly perfect. Simple as that =)
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:icondwarf-in-the-flask:
Dwarf-In-The-Flask Featured By Owner Apr 26, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
How exactly do you add the colour? Do you just create the scratch art normally and then incorporate the colour?
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:iconheatherzart:
Heatherzart Featured By Owner Apr 27, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
Yes, that's what I do. I try to scratch the whole piece out first to lay out the direction and then I'll color it with a broad ink wash. From there I'll scratch and color and scratch and color until I feel like I've got the right mixture. The ink has to be diluted because it's really vibrant and it changes on you layer to layer, it also leaves a film on the board that reflects light and it's pretty hard to cover up. By watering the ink down and layering slowly, there's less of a chance that you'll go too far and then have to scratch it all away again (which I still do a LOT). Patience is the key - I do a lot better when I don't have a deadline!
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:icondwarf-in-the-flask:
Dwarf-In-The-Flask Featured By Owner Apr 27, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Well you do incredible work.
I've only made one piece of scratch art, and it turned out.. Meep. Not horribly, but certainly not like the pieces you make.
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:icontoohypper:
TooHypper Featured By Owner Apr 14, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Inspires me, takes my breath away and stirs my soul!

Thanks for that!
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:iconfalcolf:
Falcolf Featured By Owner Mar 11, 2013  Professional Filmographer
So pretty :heart:
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:iconmaniacalmew:
ManiacalMew Featured By Owner Mar 8, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Stunning work, and the inclusion of the fence reflections makes it very meaningful!
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:iconbirain20:
birain20 Featured By Owner Feb 27, 2013
whoaaaaa!!!! eye catcher damn you nailed this one , i mean damn!!!!
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:iconhyena27:
Hyena27 Featured By Owner Feb 26, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
This is absolutely beautiful. The detail you put in is wonderous. I love the eyes just breathe taking. I love the idea of the reflection.
I saw her about a week ago and thought of you(not to be creepy haha) I showed my mom this and she loved it. They have new tiger exhibits and their two malayans are gorgeous
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:iconheatherzart:
Heatherzart Featured By Owner Feb 27, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
Hahahahahha that's funny - no not creepy! I haven't been there since they put out the tigers, I really want to take a trip up there. I'm working on another one of Tate - he's my muse right now. Oh and Shakar - one of the Amur leopards but I'm not as happy with it. I'll post soon. Thanks for the note - it made me chuckle.
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:iconhyena27:
Hyena27 Featured By Owner Mar 1, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Yay^^ when ever you can go you should. It's really nice. They were chuffing back and forth while I was there. They might get snow leopard cubs soon. Their leopard pair was mating, a bit late for the season but it was their first time. That's so cool! Amur leopards are gorgeous. Can't wait to see more of your art:)
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:iconanimegirl2012:
animegirl2012 Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
*bows* I bow to a skill, far greater than my own.
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:iconsatodesign:
SATODESIGN Featured By Owner Jan 19, 2013
the bestĦĦ
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:icontwainwall:
Twainwall Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
Really love this; completely amazing eyes that seem to draw you into the composition.

One word.....inspiring! :+fav: :clap:
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:icontrinitite:
Trinitite Featured By Owner Dec 17, 2012  Student General Artist
Simply stunning detail!
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:iconnyx-aim:
NYX-AIM Featured By Owner Dec 17, 2012  Student Traditional Artist
Just great!

No download?
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:iconfirxxx:
firxxx Featured By Owner Dec 17, 2012
perfect
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:iconsusanjo:
susanjo Featured By Owner Dec 16, 2012
She is absolutely stunning!! So sad what we as humans have done to many species of animals!!
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:iconenigmatic-freak:
enigmatic-freak Featured By Owner Dec 15, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I know you already know , but I'll say it again : You are f*&^@#g Brilliant !!! :wow:
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:iconwolverine041269:
wolverine041269 Featured By Owner Dec 15, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Wow this is so beautiful, its fantastic and the detail is just awesome :D
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:icondeviouspiano:
DeviousPiano Featured By Owner Nov 3, 2012
Beautiful. I am literally astonished by your tallents, assumed it was a photo at first.
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:iconcola013:
COla013 Featured By Owner Oct 29, 2012
amazing! i especially love the eyes! : O :hug: stunning
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:iconkoshka-tanya:
Koshka-tanya Featured By Owner Oct 6, 2012  Student Traditional Artist
это великолепно!
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:iconpauladaruk:
pauladaruk Featured By Owner Oct 4, 2012
Beautiful artwork. I love the expression on her face and THE EYES! :eyepopping:
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:iconkookybat:
kookybat Featured By Owner Jun 28, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Wow, I live close to Rosamond and visit the feline conservation center often. :) This is amazing, I've seen some beautiful scratchboards but this one really takes the cake. The reflection in the eyes is a wonderful touch!
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:iconlavaland422:
lavaland422 Featured By Owner Jun 18, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
You did a wonderful job on the eyes, they are the most captivating thing about the picture! I absolutely cannot imagine how you felt when you saw the leopard in person!
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:icongenkofox:
GenkoFox Featured By Owner Jun 18, 2012  Student General Artist
Beautiful!
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:iconanastasya-murashova:
Anastasya-Murashova Featured By Owner Jun 8, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
You have very beautiful and interesting work. Can I ask you to tell us about technology?)
I've heard. that is applied to the surface layer of wax and soap. Then cover the ink and when dry start to scratch. But this method of work will be white .... and would be very interested how to get the colorful details. I especially liked his eyes, the color is very clean and deep.
Sincerely Anastasia.
P.S. Sorry for my english ..)
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:iconheatherzart:
Heatherzart Featured By Owner Jun 8, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
Hi Anastasia , scratchboard is done on a board that is covered in a fine layer of clay and then covered in black ink. Then you scratch off the ink to get your white image beneath. I then color it with layers of colored ink but I dilute it a lot. Ink full strenth can be too bright and then it muddies very quickly. If you layer the color on slowly then you can build it up to the right tone. I scratch in between layers to get depth - it's never as simple as scratching the image once and then coloring it in. I use an airbrush and black ink to go back in when I'm almost finished and darken some shadows and repair scratched areas in the background of the board.
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:iconanastasya-murashova:
Anastasya-Murashova Featured By Owner Jun 8, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thank you very much :)
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:icontrigoaji:
trigoaji Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2012
I still don't know how you colour it...
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:iconheatherzart:
Heatherzart Featured By Owner Jun 8, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
Very diluted ink and a lot of patience!
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:icontrigoaji:
trigoaji Featured By Owner Jun 8, 2012
yeah...wow.. amazing result amazing
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:iconamir-gallery:
amir-gallery Featured By Owner May 1, 2012  Professional Artist
veryyyy nice...
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:iconheatherzart:
Heatherzart Featured By Owner Jun 8, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
Thanks!
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:iconjeanne-lui:
Jeanne-Lui Featured By Owner Mar 16, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
:love: This great work is featured in my "Giving and Receiving - Feature" journal [link] and was suggested by :iconlackadaisicalcat:
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:iconheatherzart:
Heatherzart Featured By Owner Mar 19, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
Thanks so much, I'm honored to be included with such great art.
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:iconjeanne-lui:
Jeanne-Lui Featured By Owner Mar 25, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
You're welcome! :)
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:iconwhitelinx500:
whitelinx500 Featured By Owner Feb 11, 2012  Hobbyist Filmographer
this should get a DD O-o
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:iconheatherzart:
Heatherzart Featured By Owner Mar 3, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
lol! Thanks!
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:icontenchi8:
Tenchi8 Featured By Owner Dec 24, 2011  Hobbyist
Sorry for the late reply, technology seems to always be at war with me where ever I go. It's wierd and something I just don't quite understand. Anyway, on to the interpretation.

Kim Lee is a beautiful leopard with eyes that defies the barriers set before her. Her eyes very strongly shares a fierce determination as opposed to helplessness. An unwavering hope of being set free. As how you descibed her, in that her captivity did not take away her beauty and her quiet dignity. The painstaking details of her fur and whiskers is as solid and believable as the hope she holds firm in her gaze and even in her heart. Her blue eyes are deep, very deep. Though many of us may look at the cage reflected in her eyes. Her fierce expression is really focused on something beyond those bars. It's as if she knows that one day she will be free. The likely hood may seem very thin, but it won't stop her from believing it. Her expression is how we must all need to be. Unmovable as a mountain, with a certainty for the unknown, an unwavering hope.

There's a visual message here that s[eaks strongly to me personally, that though I cannot see what it is beyond those bars of captivity with the naked eye, does not mean that what I hope for is not there. Lee has the eyes of a visionary. The kind of eyes that sees beyond the physical, beyond what surrounds her, and focuses on where her mind and heart really belongs. Anyone can take her out of the wild, but they can't take the wild out of her. This is simply who she is, and she refuses to settle for anything less of the truth. In the same way, we need to be this way as well, in every aspect of life. If we do, we can easily live without the influence of things we do not need. Thus, we live above the influence as they say in commercials.

Overall, this pic is very powerful and the expression you've captured is one that responded to your sadness towards her...one that says, this cage cannot hold me, I still remain undefeated. Now anyone who sees a caged animal may not really understand this, but it is indeed a very spiritual thing that is essential to what it means to be free. We live in a world of captivity as well, the kind that has us bound to habits and vices, to worries, fears, stress, and anxiety. Our emotions, and in the situation that surrounds us on a daily. Lee's expression is all about attitude towards life. She may look helpless behind bars, but her unwavering hope is what will make her outlast most of us who can wander around freely. It's all in the mind and attitude. Being secured in who you are, no matter the circumstances. In truth, her beauty is the reflection of who she is. The same can be found in anyone, only it is but a light switch away. XD Well, that concludes my interpretation. I hope I hit the mark here. It's been a long while since I've interpreted an art work. This one provided another fun challenge for me. Incredible art work powerfully done. ^^
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:iconheatherzart:
Heatherzart Featured By Owner Feb 13, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
Thanks again for a very interesting and detailed interpretation of my work!
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:icontenchi8:
Tenchi8 Featured By Owner Mar 3, 2012  Hobbyist
Your very welcome. Sorry it took so long for me to reply again. I was able to visit DA on my tablet, but typing and navigation remains to be a technical problem for me.

I'll still be in touch in anyway that I can. But it will be easier once I somehow manage to afford my own lap top. The process have been extremely slow for me. Visiting this pic again, gives me a personal reminder, not to give up. Sometimes I feel caged as well. Caged from being productive with my talents.I've tried just about everything I can think of. It just seems that I never have time to really concentrate on my art and other creative talents. The world with it's circumstances seems all too demanding, that all I can think of is to attempt some kind of break through. Not an easy thing to accomplish, but I strongly believe, I can make it work. I just can't lose that hope. Being strong is pretty much all I have left right now.
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:iconheatherzart:
Heatherzart Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
Often times I find that when I'm trying too hard to do then thing I WANT to do - which is to create my next masterpiece which will eclipse all of my previous works before it - I have to stop and do something else. I'm artistic, not literary so my distractions take the form of other artistic endeavors but I always make them trivial. I'll do something cutesy for my kids like a rhinestone t-shirt or a playful dragon sculpture in sculpy or just a pencil sketch of one of my many animals. The key is they are short easy projects that make me happy to do yet fit into my busy schedule when more intense and long term projects can't. I keep my creative juices flowing, I stem my frustrations with "artists block" and I make others around me smile. Don't fret about not being able to do what you want or even think you need to, Instead choose a less lofty goal but one that will still inspire you. Victory can be won with small steady strides.
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:icontenchi8:
Tenchi8 Featured By Owner Mar 7, 2012  Hobbyist
Hm, that's an excellent idea. I've actually have always enjoyed using color pencils in my drawings more than digital coloring. Just recently, I've actually managed to do just that.

Digital art has it's advantages, but nothing beats the expression of the hand of the artist. Small steady strides is perhaps the best way to approach it. I also have done much of my story making mostly through hand writing.

I'll certainly take what you shared with me to heart. Thanks so much. ^^
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:iconeltasia:
Eltasia Featured By Owner Dec 21, 2011
Incredible work! :clap:
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Details

Submitted on
November 14, 2011
Image Size
1.0 MB
Resolution
1800×1224
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10,113 (3 today)
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Comments
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Camera Data

Make
Better Light
Model
Model Super6k
Shutter Speed
1/50 second
ISO Speed
400
Date Taken
Jul 12, 2012, 10:30:00 AM
Software
Adobe Photoshop Elements 11.0 Macintosh
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