Step by step – colourful cat

Had a happy afternoon painting cats. And I would like to know, why one day you can paint with fresh colours and a spirit of excitement and on another day, using the same colours, everything looks solid with not an ounce of life in it. Yesterday was a dead loss, today a happy one – no idea why.


Colours: Quin sienna, Shinhan greenish yellow, Diox purple, quin magenta, french ultramarine

So first, I started with a sketch and then the eye and nose. People think painting loosely means quickly and without care. Not so. You need to plan a bit, work out what needs close attention and where you can let the water do its magic. Cats have eyes like marbles and you need to capture that transparency and shine. I decided that whiskers are going on at the end, so that was one less thing to worry about.


Next I worked on the dark round the eye, then started on the stripes. All cats have lovely stripes just like tigers, so I wanted to emphasise those. I also knew I wanted some dribbles to give height to the painting. Again, dribbles need to be where you want them – they might look spontaneous but they still need thought.


Then it’s time to put in light washes in the background, just in a few places where I need to define edges a bit.


So let everything dry (I took my son to kick-boxing) and then rub out pencil marks and check if anything needs adjusting. Final thing is the whiskers and eyebrows – think about colours – yes I know whiskers are white, but wouldn’t orange, green or pink look nicer?


Leave overnight, so you can look with fresh eyes and see if  anything shouts out at you and then you’re done. So, if I am happy tomorrow morning, I’ll take a pic in daylight and post it here…..

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