Thursday, August 18, 2016

"Rainy Day" orange tabby cat painting COMPLETE!

I’ve learned that you can tell a lot about a person 
by the way he handles these three things: a rainy day, 
lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights.


Rainy Day  ©2016 Karen Mathison Schmidt
6 x 6 • oil on ⅛" Museum Series (archival) GessobordTM
gloss varnish (UV protective)


Here are the step by step photos:

Here I’ve started layering the oils on top of the dry acrylic underpainting. My palette for the underpainting was: burnt sienna, ultramarine blue, quinacridone magenta, and brilliant blue, using Liquitex matte medium mixed in for transparency of the layers. 

You can see that in the underpainting I had blocked in the bold floral design on the rug, but later on I decided the composition would be better with the rug simplified, with just a suggestion of a botanical design in the bottom left of the painting.

I started with Mustachio’s eyes ...

... and then his face and ears, then moving out to the lightest areas of his legs and body. My oil palette was: titanium white; ultramarine rose; French ultramarine blue; phthalo blue; cinnabar green deep, medium and light; cadmium yellow light; cadmium orange; Sheveningen red medium (similar to cadmium red light); quinacridone rose; and quinacridone magenta.

At this point I added the darkest areas, the shadow behind him and alongside his legs, using ultramarine blue, dark green with a touch of red. I started with it nice and dark, knowing that later I would lighten the shadow areas and add some variations with just a touch of white and some reds.

In this photo you can see also that I developed some lost edges along the outline of his cheeks and chin, where the white fur on his face blends right into the white on his shoulders and chest. Just a little lavender and blue suggestion of a shadow helps define his face shape without actually outlining it.

You can see also in this photo that in the darker, orange tabby parts of his coat, I left quite a bit of that vivid transparent blue and purple underpainting showing, which lends a liveliness and energy to his oranges and pinks.

It was at this point that I knew that the design on the rug was going to compete too much with Moustachio and make the composition too busy, so I scraped it off with my palette knife and made almost the whole rug turquoise-y green, with very loose brushstrokes, and just a touch of that botanical design.

Also note here that just a suggestion of the wood grain on the floor is enough. With impressionism, never underestimate the ability of the viewer's brain to fill in the details!

You can see here how I lightened the shadows and added some reds. Not really any blending going on, just laying the colors on top in short strokes, very loosely. A rule of thumb for these top layers is a fully loaded brush and a very light touch.

I added just the suggestion of his whiskers and eye whiskers, with the edge of my knife. I thought I was finished, but then I decided to put a bit more sunny yellowish white on the outside of his left paw.

NOW he’s done!

1 comment:

Pattie Wall said...

That blue underpainting is so great on this one - such a sweet kitty - love it!