July 24, 2016 ~ This Northern Forest cat painting is a commissioned portrait in oil. On these photo’s you see the painting develop in four steps. I’m often asked which brushes I use. As the third image shows: everything I get my hands on! Even without grip. Which materials I use isn’t the most important part of painting animals. Insight is. How to paint -in this case red & white- fur, is built on your ideas before hand: how dark or which color value you want to paint. Real ‘white’ doesn’t exist in fur, just like ‘pure orange’. The colors of any subject are influenced by the lighting: unnatural light, sunlight, reflections of the surface the pet is laying on, all give different effects in colorhugh, warmth and radience. I always start with painting from the ‘middle’ grey value. In this wet coat of paint I can then work two ways: lighter and darker. Building up many values and transparent layers after that. This is a great way to paint fur in paints which remain wet for some time, like oils. If you compare the first and the last picture of the cat above, you see that I’ve started with a tonal underlayer. Without highlights or dark shadows.
Painting red and white fur
A white fur is always built up with ‘cool grey-blue’ and ‘warm grey’ colours. The portraits below this article show the many values and colours in white fur. If you master this way of ‘looking’ at your subjects, you can use this in any painting and any topic. Seeying many colours, even more than you first initiated. This counts too for black, braun or other one-coloured subjects. The red fur of the cat above has some darker parts too. I started out with a basic colour mixture of burnt sienna, yellow ochre and white. Using quinacridone red to make the ‘orange’ more warm. Adding some cerulleum blue will cool the colour temperature down. For the darker lines, I added some burnt omber to the pre-made mixture. For radient orange colours I mix quinacridone red and cadmium yellow light. That will jump of your canvas!
For oils: Use a medium that doesn’t dry too quickly. P.e. linseed oil. Soften edges with a dry and clean ‘fan brush’. Make various mixtures of ‘whites’ you want to use. So you have enough stock to work with without having to stop and spill time in mixing the same colours over again.
For pastel: use pastelpaper which blends easily, without too much structure (though with texture for grip!). Try to avoid mixing ‘whites’ on paper, but buy enough colours before hand. This keeps your pastel paintings fresh and ‘light’. Work in thin layers, so the paper has still grip when adding the final highlights or dark shadows.
Oil and pastel techniques are magnificent for painting fur. More close-ups of other dog- and cat paintings can be seen in my two books on painting and drawing animals. PS: both are at this moment in dutch…BUT the 1st book will be released in ENGLISH SOON! Add your email to my mailinglist, and you’ll recieve a personal message when it’s available. Expected autumn 2016.
YES! Keep me posted of coming techniques, publications, new artwork and more!