Tiger Tabby © 2016 Karen Mathison Schmidt
6 x 6 inches • oil on ⅛" Museum Series (archival) GessobordTM
private collection • Highland, Michigan
I realized it’s been way too long since I posted a step-by-step, so here are the progress photos:
I started with my pencil drawing on the Gessobord, then started adding my acrylic glazes (for this painting I used Liquitex acrylic glazing medium mixed with my paints for transparency). I started with cadmium yellow light, ultramarine blue, cerulean blue. The eyes are a glaze of cerulean with a very transparent yellow glaze over that.
Next, I added glazes of quinacridone fuchsia and pyrrole red. The transparent fuchsia over the ultramarine makes a beautiful purply blue, and the red over the yellow is a wonderful vivid orange. I added another layer of the red glaze over the grasses on the right, making them more red than orange.
More layers of fuchsia and ultramarine glazes, and a bit of yellow glaze with a very transparent cerulean, making a nice light green for the sunnier part of his chest. I also darkened his eyes a bit, and added the dark outline of his eyes with indigo.
After the acrylic underpainting is dry (about 20 minutes or so), I started with the oils. I used a pretty full palette for this one: Prussian blue, French ultramarine, king’s blue, cerulean blue, Caribbean blue, cinnabar green deep, medium and light, cadmium yellow light, cadmium yellow deep, cadmium orange, cadmium red light, and one of my very favorite colors: (get ready for this) Old Holland Rose Dore Madder Lake Antique Extra, quinacridone rose, quinacridone magenta, ultramarine rose, burnt sienna, yellow ochre and titanium white. Whew!
And remember, the eyes always have way more colors than you would expect. In addition to the colors in the iris, they’re also glassy, so they will reflect the colors in nearby objects as well.
As I went along, I frequently stepped back to see how much of the vivid underpainting I wanted to leave showing.