May 21, 2015

Drawing a White Cat with Pencil!!??


Really it seems like a misnomer,

A white cat 

with a gray pencil

Is that really possible?!

Moka - Commission Piece
Little Moka is a lovely, fluffly, white cat.  A much loved little cat in her home. I was thrilled with the opportunity to draw her.  She is such a sweetheart, with her little hat and scarf.  It was really kind of fun to draw her and play with the hat and scarf.

Drawing white has it challenges just as any other drawing.  I find the best plan of attack is to focus on my darks first.  (A note of caution here, don't be afraid to go dark.  The shadows of even a white shape can be very dark!!)  Once my darkest dark is in place I have my darkest value to compare all my other values too.  Then I outline my whites.  This is the tricky part!  At first glance, everything looks white.  But if you look closer, everything "reads" white but it is not really white!!  Look closely at the detail of Moka's face.  
Moka - Detail of her face
There really is only one small spot on her ear and just below her ear that is truly white.  The rest is some value of gray!! (I know it is a little tough to see as  the computer screen washes out some of my subtle grays.) 
Once you isolate all your truly white areas, everything else will have some level of gray.  It may be very subtle but it will have a gray tone to it.  Building up these layers will make your cat come alive. 

As a final touch I put colour to her little scarf and some blue to her eyes.  She had such pretty blue eyes I just had to give them colour!!  
Moka is on her way home now; her owners were thrilled with the picture.   

Contact me to create a portrait of your animal.  See more examples of my pet portraits on my Commission a Drawing Page.

A Special Note: My picture "Early Morning Hunt" was awarded 3rd Place in the Artist of the Year Award for the Guide Outfitters Ass. of BC.  Very exciting news!!

Have a great day and keep up the drawing and painting,

May 6, 2015

BackgroundsThat Paint themselves!!


Backgrounds seems to always drive us crazy!
Too busy!
Not busy enough.

Too Dark! 
Not dark enough.

My answer?

 Suggest One!!

 It combines my need for a realistic drawing of my subject with his environment.  But at the same time gives a looser feel.
 And to top it off, it will almost paint itself!!
Caught in the Light - Watercolour - 16 x 20 Framed
To understand how this happens you should first check out last week's blog "Backgrounds, More on Painting Backgrounds".Where you will see the prep - doesn't look like anything, eh?!  But remember, I was aiming for a night setting.  Only the owl itself was blocked out, everything else was painted. 

As I started in with my plan for the stump and log things just happened.  All of a sudden the background came alive with texture, colour and movement.  Things began to 'look like something'.  That's what I call the "suggestive" part. It is almost like magic!!

I have included a few photos as I worked.  You can see the more I did the more the background came alive.  It really did 'paint' itself! 
Caught in the Light - WIP 1

Caught in the Light - WIP 2
Once I was finished my barn owl, I went back into the background with some light glazes to tone it down.  It is really important to get in and get out fast so you don't drag and mix the under layers.   I like to make sure everything is dry before I go in with a glazing layer.  I also work on tidying up edges from the frisket, darken things or quieting things down. 

To me this process is kind of like the oil painters that block everything in or tone their canvas.  It gets rid of the white surface and gets you into your picture. Certainly something to be said for that.

I have been focusing on Backgrounds lately on my posts, if you are looking for more ideas on working with backgrounds see:  March 19 - How to paint the background?
How do you handle your backgrounds?

Good luck with your backgrounds, and remember a Suggestion can go a long ways!!

Contact me to create a portrait of your animal.  See more examples of my pet portraits on my Commission a Drawing Page.