Monday, November 24, 2014

Cat Painting, Step #1

I just finished my cat painting and am really pleased with it.  This will take you along on a little journey of cat-dom development.

 My inspiration - Calypso, of course.  She inspires me to many things.  I also used some other photos and began my work.

This is on a nice wood panel with a deep cradle.  The first layer was a mixture of brushed-on warm colors.

After that, I layered on some blue to get those cool textures.  Trade secret.

Third layer - Dots.  Two colors, and of course not all dots perfect, that would be boring.

Once I had the background established, it was time to do the subject.  Spent an hour or so looking through pictures and choosing my cat's position.  Here we are.  Although Calypso inspired me, I didn't want to do such a gorgeous fat ruff with this one - I wanted it to be more of 'Every Cat.'

Having chosen the cat, I started my drawing in vine charcoal.  Love that stuff - you can erase out mistakes with the swipe of a finger!

Here you can see the basic lines established with charcoal.  At this point, I'm simply outlining the charcoal with one color, and will layer in the other colors as I go.

Hey!  Looks like a cat!

The tail is going to remain unfinished.  I really like the sweep of the furry tail and the fact that I can see the background through it.  I'm planning on bringing the background on top of the cat later, and also planning on leaving some of the entire cat unfinished so you can enjoy the nice complimentary colors peeking through the fur.

Getting closer.  I've added greens, yellows and more of that lovely teal.

Okay.  The last one shows it close to finished.  Got the eyes finished and left some background showing through them as well.  Gleam in the eye - check!

Especially on the face I left a lot of background - if you can get a close look, the textures in the background are pretty fascinating, and I like the big blue dot on the cat's cheek.  It'll make people wonder what on earth I'm thinking!

Here the cat has darks added.  I pulled in a nice deep Payne's Grey.  Almost black, it has the nice dark value I need, but not that black black shouting at you.  Almost everywhere I mixed the Payne's with the other colors to get variance, but there are a few places I laid down the Payne's without mixing.  These would comprise about 5% of the cat, namely eyes, nose, and a few shadows I wanted particularly deep.

So, that's the cat so far.  Haven't named the painting yet.  I kind of follow Renoir with his painting naming, "Two Girls at the Piano," or "Girl with the Watering Can."

How about, "Cat with Dots?"  or, ummm.... "Colorful Cat with Dots"  Dot Cat, Cat Dot, Dottie Cat... no!  Um... Bright Cat with Dots...

Anyway, I understand other artists' naming process.  What we really care about is the painting.  We really don't care about its name, and it often comes as an afterthought (shhh!!!)

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