Cat Painting in Acrylics.

This Cat Painting is based on a sketch of a friends cat, Millie. I was visiting my friend when I caught sight of Millie through the window. She was posed staring at something, holding herself still in that familiar feline way we all know. Not quite in hunting mode, perhaps "interested mode" is more accurate.

I didn't have anything to sketch on (very bad I know) so I hired a page from my friend's daughter's drawing pad and a pencil for the price of an ice cream and drew this tiny pencil drawing.

cat sketch

I was after the attitude of the cat and also wanted to record the markings on her coat. The drawing is 4x4 inches. I wasn't worried about colours because I thought I could wing it.

Earlier in the year I did some watercolour and pencil studies of a meadow close to my house and thought I would be able to slot Millie in nicely.

Materials: Reeves canvas board 12x9 Acrylic paints - payne's grey, hookers green, olive green, ultramarine blue, sap green, cadmium yellow, potters pink, ivory black. Galeria flatbrush 2 and rounds 00 and 3. Winsor and Newton Art Masking Fluid with a separate brush for applying it. The masking fluid isn't ideal for acrylics in my experience but I only need to mask a small area so it should work well enough.

I allowed each layer to dry thoroughly between stages except where indicated.

Cat Painting Stage 1

1, I coated the board in thin cadmium yellow thinned with water.

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2, Rough layer of olive green with a little less water in it.

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3, I used tracing paper to transfer the drawing and then went over it with a 4B pencil.

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4, I used masking fluid to draw in thin stems and flowerheads against Millie's coat.

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Cat Painting Stage 2

5, I fixed the drawing with thin Ivory black and my 00 round. I simply go over the pencil lines here and once dry I can add layers that won't smear the lines until I am ready to paint over them. This is a good idea if you aren't 100% confident of your colour scheme. As I said earlier I had no colour reference and intended to make it up as I went along.

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6, Now I want to work out the tones. I used greys made from ivory black and titanium white to block in the patterns of Millie's coat using the original sketch as a guide. This is built up in four layers.

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7, This is the fourth layer of paint. I build up tones carefully with paint that is about half thinned. AT this point I flaked the masking fluid off leaving me the space to add colour to the stems and flowerheads.

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8, I blocked colours made from paynes grey, graphite grey, titanium white, cerulean blue and potters pink. The darker areas are mixtures of ultramarine violet and ivory black. This was done wet in wet to prevent any hard edges on the cat's fur.

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Cat Painting Stage 3

9, The grass is painstakingly built up from all the greens, cerulean blue plus the two greys mentioned above. The dandelions are lemon yellow straight from the tube. I worked it into the surface over and over until the paint was stiff. I wasn't particularly concerned with accuracy just the feel of a densely packed, overgrown meadow. I used little water here, just enough to let the paint flow a little.

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10, I continue with the grass but pause to add detail to the eye.

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11, I added more details to the meadow until happy with the overall look.

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