Friday, 27 November 2015

Lesson No.3 - The Eyes Have It!

The eyes of an animal portrait are usually the most important part of the painting - that's why I paint them first.  I had fun with these eyes, using whatever colours I wanted.  Cats have such beautifully varied eyes - some are pastel, whilst some can be incredibly intense.

Paint in the colour first with the highlight, then use the darker hue to go under the lid and around the pupil.  I firstly do the pupil in my dark shadow colour - Ultramarine Blue and Cadmium Red - then go over the darkest darks in black when I am happy with the result (otherwise black can muddy up your colours if you introduce it too early). 

Dots of highlights are added gently (usually reflecting the background colours) then just pure white on top of these.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

How to Paint a Quick and Easy Background in Oils - Lesson No.2

There isn't a lot of background in this painting, so we need to keep it simple and soft so that all our attention will be on the cats.

I decided on a blue/aqua theme, but it could be any colour as one cat is grey and the other white.  On my palette I mixed a very dark blue-green, a mid blue, a very light blue and a very light lemon.  I used Prussian Blue and Lemon which I thought was rather pretty.  I dabbed in the darks first, then mid-tones, light blues and lastly filled in all the gaps with the lemon mix.  Then it's just a matter of feathering it all off gently so that it is very soft and out-of-focus. 

A bit more feathering off with a soft, dry brush and I'm done.

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Learn How to Oil Paint Cats

Well, here is our newest challenge!  A lovely photo of Grace's two cats having a cuddle in the laundry basket.  I find animals the easiest to paint as they don't have to look exactly like the subject (unlike a portrait of someone), they can vary in colour a great deal, and hair can be very forgiving. 

So here's the drawing.  The faces are the most important part of the painting, so just make sure the eyes, nose and mouth are in the right spot and are the right size and distance from each other. 

Monday, 9 November 2015

Final Lesson - How to Oil Paint Chickens "Ricca and Donna"

I fiddled around with the grass and dirt a bit more, adding extra highlights in the sunny areas and darker darks in the shadows.  Another oil painting lesson completed - I hope you were as happy with your chickens as we are with ours!

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Creating Depth in Your Grass is Lesson No.15

Our painting is set late in the afternoon as the shadows of the chickens indicate.  This also applies to the grass.  As it nears the forefront of our painting, it will be darker where the grass meets the dirt.  So I darkened all the blades of grass that are visible to the viewer with a dark green and feathered this off into a very dark brown to meet the dirt.  I added a few tufts of grass over the chicken's feet in dark green where they are in the chicken's shadow. 

I also flicked more light yellow-green highlights here and there to the grass in the sun to emphasise the light.  Nearly there.  Just a bit more detail to the dirt and we're done.

Monday, 26 October 2015

Lesson No.14 - How to Make Shadows Realistic

We need to anchor these chickens to the ground, so the shadows are quite important.  The grass in the shadow area is darker directly under the chicken and lightens up as it moves away from the object.  You still need darks and highlights within the shadow but the colours will be muted, darker overall and soft with no hard edges.

Friday, 23 October 2015

"Rooster" - Another Beautiful Painting by Kathy

Kathy has chosen her colours well in this beautiful painting.  The rooster's golden feathers complement the red-orange dirt and the lovely soft pastel green background brings him to life.