After successfully completing a recent commission of a pet dog, I wanted I’d try my hand at painting another animal. This time a big cat. As I love painting against a black background, I thought the colours of this beautiful creature would stand out rather than lost in a background of jungle scenery. Slow steps over many days were needed to create the final painting, which I outline here. I hope you find the process interesting.
First, having drawn an outline of the pose I wanted on 33×24 cm heavyweight canvas linen texture paper (I use Canson brand), the background was painting in using black gesso and a 1 inch flat brush, painting in outward strokes from the outline to the edges. I then drew in outline of the eyes, nose and mouth. When drawing, I always use pastel pencils as these can be easy corrected and wiped away with a damp sponge and do not show through transparent paint.
The eyes were painting in using lemon yellow, paynes grey and titanium white, checking frequently I had them in the correct position, followed by the nose and mouth. Using a mixture of burnt sienna, lemon yellow, yellow oche, and titanium white I under-painted the complete animal. Already his character was starting to appear on the canvas.
Using the same colours the fur was slowly added along with the markings to include the shadows, hind quarters and the start of the face markings. A small amount of light green was added to the eyes. Both eyes were painted over with a clear glaze. A small amount of dark purple mixed with white was used to paint the nose.
The fur and patterns were slowly built up in layers until I was happy with the overall result.
Further depth and highlights were added as were the markings below his mouth.
Finally, and carefully, whiskers were added to complete the painting.