Dilute Longhair Calico Cat in Windowsill
Watercolor on Arches cold press
Monkey is a longhair dilute calico cat. Her owner sent several reference photos for me to work from. Even though the cat's face is in shadow, I chose this pose because I liked how the sun shone through Monkey's ears. The bright light from behind catching her long mane also made the cat's pose interesting.
When I drew out the sketch of Monkey, I indicated where the sunlight would cast shadow on her face, ruff, and body. I didn't want the shadow to be as dark as it was in the reference photo, but it needed to contrast enough with Monkey's lit areas to give her dimension.
After showing the sketch to Monkey's owner, I transferred it onto my watercolor paper. The reference photo had construction materials in the background behind Monkey. I changed the background to leafy-colored variegated greens.
Because of Monkey's muted color, her dark markings were a soft grey, not black. Diluting the black mixture that I usually use looked too harsh. After playing around with some blues that I hadn't used for a while, I settled on a mixture of cobalt blue and burnt sienna for Monkey's soft gray.
Another challenge from having Monkey's face in shadow was that it was difficult to make out her markings. As a calico, her markings on one side of her face were not just different in color, but also different in design. I made a small study from one of the other reference photos so that I could more easily transfer the markings onto the actual painting.
The shadow of Monkey's left arm looked a bit flat. I floated pink and red pigment near her elbow to reflect the warm color of the wood windowsill.
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