Feb 6, 2015

How to Build a Cat -- Beyond the Blue!!


Okay, so maybe you don't want a Blue Cat
(See last post How to Build a Cat)

You want a Real Live Cat 

with thick, fluffy fur 

but in Colour!!

Looking Back - 5 x 7 - Watercolour
Working with colours is only a little different from working with tones.  I highly recommend trying a monotone like my China Blue in the last post as it really gives you a wonderful feel of how to build and sculpture the body.

How to Build a Cat - Part 2
Step 1.  Have a good photo that shows nice lights and darks to define the cat
Step 2.  Make a light outline drawing of the cat marking in a few reference points: eyes, nose, important junctions.  
Step 3.  Set up your palette.  I used a palette suggested by Susan D Bourdet.  (I love what she does with her birds and flowers.)  The colours are: Burnt Sienna (BS) + Paynes Gray (PG) for a gray violet; PG + Cobalt Blue (CB) for a blue gray; PG + BS mixed for a Dark neutral gray; Core colour PG +BS + Permanent Rose (PR); BS + PR for the light pink areas; and Naples Yellow (NY) for the eyes. 
Close up of "Looking Back"
Step 4.  Mix a light wash of the CorePG + BS + PR and paint over the whole cat, saving your whites.  Indicate some fur bits on edges where it really fluffs out.  This would be mostly on the right side. 
Step 5.  Using a wash of BS + PR paint the inside of the ears.  When dry, build up the area to the mid tone by glazing with the same mix.  Use light glazes, it may need more than one to complete this. 
Step 6. Mix the gray violet to begin to build up the mid tone/dark areas.  Always watching how much of the area is midtone and how much is darker.  Each larger should be getting smaller as you move out of the midtones and into the darker ones.  As you move to the darks shift your gray into the darker gray with more BS to warm it up. 

Step 7.  You will need to repeat Step 5& 6 several times to build up the layers.  To get soft graduation build up with light glazing layers.  If you want sharper value changes put more colour with each layer.  (I prefer to work with the light glazing layers but that is just my style.)
Step 8.  Using a strong dark mix of PG + BS paint in the darkest spots: the nose, edge of the eyes, the spots on the ears, around the mouth.  
Step 9. The inside of the eye has a light wash of NY around the pupil. When that was dry I added a light wash of BS + PR in the lower bottom.  The shadow area in the top is a light violet gray mix. 
Step 10.  Paint the whiskers. (I use a bleed proof white watercolour which is quite opaque)

I worked each layer wet onto dry which gave me some sharper edges, when I was finished I took a wet brush and painted over the cat to soften the edges but still leave them visible.  

Hmm. .  Interesting! - 5 x 7 - Watercolour

In the painting "Hmm. . Interesting!" you can really see the layers of mauve that build to form the fluffy white fur on his chest. 
Have fun, painting your own cats and other animals.  They are certainly one of my favourite subjects!! (Don't tell my dog Rusty!!)

Special Note: 
The Feb 22 Marketing Workshop is full but there will be a second on on Sunday, March 8, 10-3pm
See Workshop/Private Classes for registration and more information.

Points to Ponder: During February I will be adding weekly Marketing Tips to my Points to Ponder Marketing Skills.   This week's topic "Can Artists Compete with Walmart Pricing???"

Contact me to purchase any of my Work. Collectors enjoy a 10% discount on all original work.


Brenda Hill CDM said...


Wendy Mould AFCA said...

Yes, the gray cat is in our neighbourhood and loves to pose for me. As long as he gets a few pats and a treat!