This Cat Portrait is an Original Watercolor by Rachel on cold press paper.
Flurry has huge green eyes, a sharing heart, and a penchant for hunting stray cotton swabs. She also happens to be a polydactyl cat . But as lovely as her dainty shell-pink toes are, I didn't dare try to paint them all.
A friend of mine suggested that I make myself more familiar with the dust-encrusted Phthalo Blue on my watercolor palette. I was a bit trepidatious. Phthalo Blue has a high tinting strength reminiscent of ink: one unintentional drip of concentrated color and I wouldn't be able to scrub the stain off of Flurry's beautiful white fur. But Phthalo Blue is also wonderfully transparent, so I forged ahead.
Even though it ended up being covered in the final painting, Flurry did have a neat halo in the initial stages.
If you are interested in watercolor painting, the YouTube video shows some of the thought processes that went into Flurry's portrait. Many of my tubes of paint are from Daniel Smith, including the Cascade Green and Opera Pink that I used in this particular painting.
Youtube Video of Cat Painting
Transcript of Cat Painting Youtube Video Tutorial
This video tutorial starts with a pencil drawing on Arches 300lb cold press paper.
Much of Flurry's fur is white, so I wanted to define her shape with a light color until I decided on the final background. I painted a wash of Phthalo Blue and let it dry overnight. In the morning Flurry had a halo.
At first I though there might be a defect in the paper's sizing, which I've had happen before on my paintings. But, more likely, I flooded the paper with too much water, and the pigment was drawn to the puddle's edge.
I liked the halo and wanted more overlapping in the background. But when I recreated the conditions -- puddling a light wash and letting it dry -- the subsequent haloes didn't have the same crisp edge as the first, accidental halo.
After several tries, the haloes were competing too much with the subject. I painted in a deeper wash of Phthalo Blue to tone down the halo edges. But the background was still competing for attention.
I decided to experiment with a new tube of paint I'd bought from Daniel Smith. "Cascade Green" is a mixture of Phthalo Blue -- which was my painting's main blue -- and Raw Sienna. Raw Sienna is a granualting pigment, which would create interesting texture.
You can see how the Raw Sienna and Phthalo Blue separated on my palatte. The colors reminded me of peacock feathers. But I hadn't diluted the Cascade Green enough. The Raw Sienna made the background opaque and chalky.
I had planned to unify Flurry with the background by introducing Cascade Green into her shadow areas. She was painted with transparent pigments. Cascade Green would muddy her colors. I'll save Cascade Green for what it's usually used for, landscapes where the granulation will look like trees in the distance.
I set my watercolor board at an angle, and scrubbed off most of the cascade Green. I rolled up a towel along the bottom so that the liquid wouldn't cauliflower back up into the painting.
The background still looked a bit dead to me. With the paper still wet, and the Raw Sienna that remained on the paper still moveable, I dropped in Daniel Smith's "Green Gold". The paper surface was wet enough that the Raw Sienna granulated again, adding texture to the background without overpowering it.
To add dimension to Flurry, I lifted some color off along the edge of her back and floated in Phthalo Blue. With a few more touches to her fur's colored areas, Flurry's portrait was done.
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