Jo © 2016 Karen Mathison Schmidt
6 x 6 inches • acrylic on museum quality GessobordTM
private collection • Poway, California
Getting back into the swing of painting every day, working on finishing up a commission, some large landscapes for a show coming up at the end of the year, and challenging myself to finish at least three or four of these smaller paintings a week.
Here’s a fun one of our Jo lounging on a comfy teal blanket on this stormy day. And it’s been a while since I posted step by step progress photos, so here we go!
Starting out with a pencil sketch, loosely blocking in with washes of black mixed with ultramarine, bright blue and naphthol crimson. Her eyes look mean here, but not to worry, it’s early yet!
Blocking in more areas, and starting with a dark green (a glaze of phthalo green mixed with orange) as a base color for her eyes, knowing that as the painting progresses I will add lighter colors and highlights.
As I continue adding layers, I keep sort of painting around her whiskers, and her “antennae.”
Notice how her expression is softening up now, even though the shape of her eyes are basically the same as when I started. The different is in the position of the pupils and the highlights. This never fails to fascinate me. Remember, the eyes are never just one color. In addition to the color of the iris, there will be reflections of color from nearby objects.
I love the looseness of the turquoise blanket, so while I continue lightening up the background, I make sure to keep my strokes quick and loose.
Lastly, I do the really fun part of adding a little loose definition to her whiskers, and adding the bright white to her nose blaze and her fluffy chest. And speaking of blazes, see how her forehead markings look like a flame? That’s our Jo!