Neighborhood Watch IV: Bailey Sees All ©2011 Karen Mathison Schmidt
6 x 6 inches • oil on 1/8" Gessobord
SOLD • private collection • Leonding, Austria
Here’s Bailey, awash in morning sunlight, keeping tabs on goings-on outside as she plans her day. I guess this is her version of coffee and a donut with the morning newspaper.
When I started this painting today, I consciously decided to try to depict the scene with as simple shapes and few brushstrokes as possible, while still capturing the feeling of the moment, and especially the morning light.
The main thing that drew me to take this photo was Bailey’s pose. There’s something about the shape of a sitting cat, the combination of curves and angles, that really appeals to me.
Hey, one thing I’ve been noticing is that after the completion of the underpainting, if I’m continuing the painting in oils I tend to want to work from light to dark, adding the lighter, whiter colors first and working my way to dark, whereas when I use acrylics I do just the opposite. I’m not sure why, I’ll have to ruminate on that some.
And now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for ... the work-in-progress photos!
First the sketch in acrylic: purple and burnt sienna:
I then put a yellow glaze over Bailey and all the lightest areas of the painting, then an overall glaze of my favorite red: Old Holland New Masters Naphthol Red Medium. ( I must have skipped this photo!) Next, after the underpainting is dry, I start adding the oil colors. My preference is lightest areas first.
In the final photo, below, you can see I purposely kept the brushstrokes on the wall super loose because I wanted more of that intense red underpainting to show through.
When I think the painting is almost finished, I study it to see where I want to put finishing touches. Just a few, being careful not to overdo it. In this case I added just a touch of pure yellow at the bottom of the window frame, some lighter green toward the bottom of the chair slats, and a few touches of intense white along Bailey’s front, and on the very tips of her ears.
“OK,” I tell myself, “stop! Zee painting, she is finished.” (This last must be said out loud, with an overdone French accent.)