Cat Fight

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Wow! I just found out and I am so excited to tell you all that my new Painting “Cat Fight” has won in the Advanced Category on the Facebook CPAL Featured Artist Contest for the month of January. This is such a great honor, as it is an international group of Color Pencil Artists from beginners to experts. The contest is voted on by the members and there is nothing quite like being recognized by a group of your peers. This means that “Cat Fight” will be featured on the facebook banner for a month, plus It will be published in an upcoming issue of the magazine Color Pencil.

Story of creating Cat Fight

My friend Sheilah Forbes Swanson has an awesome job out at Wild Life Safari in Winston Oregon; where she gets to take photos of the animals up close and in person. She has given me the awesome privilege of being able to use her photos for reference for my art. As soon as I saw this photo I knew I needed to paint these girls.

tigers3-play-edit-crop

First I prepped my canvas with Art Spectrum fine tooth colourfix primer on the unstretched  canvas which I had taped to a board. Then left this to completely dry.

Then I started By by graphing out the photo so that I could increase the picture in size.Then I can trace that larger image onto any surface I want to paint or use my colored pencil using a large piece of carbon paper.

I had done a tiger face earlier in colored pencil in canvas I really liked how it had turned out.So I decided to try that again to make a series.Then I set forth to trace the Cat Fight onto a piece of canvas.

I love eyes! I always start with the eyes, kinda like eating desert before dinner. I just can’t help myself. My reasoning is that if the eyes are not right nothing else matters. This may not actually be true, but it is true to me!

1-d-face-with-ref

Here I basically blocked in the face in the color tones and values, then worked them down into the texture of the canvas using odorless mineral spirits on the colored pencil to melt it down into all the diets of the canvas so there wouldn’t be white spots anywhere. This I did through out the first layers of the tigers and background.

h-tiger2

Bit by bit I did the same process on the whole canvas surface, blocking in the underpainting. I then sprayed the entire piece with a textured fixative by Brush and Pencil. This is an awesome product and it made it possible for me to put lighter colors on top of the dark ones. You still have to be mindful to leave light spots light to retain the light in the painting, but it makes it easier to lighten things back up a bit.

Remember that when ever you are painting or using pencils to draw an animal with fur that you need to make you r pencil/brush stroke in the direction of the fur. You must constantly refer to your photo because underlying muscle and bone cause the hairs to shift position as they proceed down the body/ face…i-more-t2

Here I start refining the face and adding the detail. I just wanted to stay on the face and not finish the rest. Her eyes kept calling me back to them. I had to stop and step back from this piece for a while at this point because some of my values had gotten off kilter. Some things needed to be punched much deeper, others needed to be lightened up. at this point everything I do on the cats is done with hair strokes in the proper direction.

NOTE: don’t fence post your hairs. Hair can aim in a general direction without everything going in exactly the same direction.

z-finished

Once the values were corrected, and background filled in with shadows punched just a little darker I was done. I could have gone into more detail on the forelegs but I felt that I wanted the focus to be her eyes anyway so I left the rest less detailed.

To give the canvas I nice protective surface I sprayed it with 4 layers of Golden’s Archival varnish with UVLS protection. This you can get in a Gloss or satin finish. I prefer the Gloss, but us a satin until I get it scanned or photographed so there is no glare.

captivating_Miller_08g                                   See My online Portfolio at jackielittlemiller.com

Outside The Box ~ Outside The Box

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , ,

So I have enjoyed doing the outside the box portion of this blog for years, right? Anyway I recently fell in love with a selfie my son and his boss had taken while at work at Crowder Brothers Ace Hardware in Lakeland Florida.Leigh and Charles

I knew immediately that This was going to be my next painting. I love doing portraiture with intense expression, especially if that expression causes people to smile. I knew that the title would be “Out Side the Box” right away too. My original thought was to put them looking into a box and having the box flaps framing them in. I tried this but couldn’t get the perspective of the box to look right and everyone thought it was a sack. LOL! So I canned that idea. I will have the final piece matted with a cardboard brown mat to get the same look.

SO I set forth to making my preliminary drawing and getting it on canvas.I tried painting it in acrylics, during a heat wave. Very bad idea as acrylics dry so fast. It was so frustrating because I just couldn’t blend the skin tones like I wanted. So I thought “well I will just finish it in oils. But I hadn’t worked with oils in a very long time and didn’t have the size brushes I needed to do the job right.

So again I went back to my original sketch and this time I drew it on all Media board and worked with colored pencil. I have only been working with colored pencil for about 6 months, but I absolutely love them. Being a art teacher down at the local art shop, I used this piece as a technique and style lesson. Double bonus points right?

Anyway I worked for days to get the faces just right, but was never satisfied with them. I liked the face of my son’s friend, but then I didn’t really know him. But Knowing my son so well I just wasn’t satisfied with his look. In frustration I decide to work on the background and vowed to myself that I wouldn’t touch the subjects again till the back ground was finished.

Do now I had to decide if I was going to do the ceiling of the store, or if since the title is outside the box, if I should place them outside and let the sky be their ceiling. I thought the second idea might be too tongue in cheek, but since I had planned to do a sort of comic book, realism cross kind of style, I figured I could get away with it. So on came the clouds. I have always been one to kind of avoid background because to me they are the hard part, but as I laid in the clouds, the faces became alive to me. I actually at one point teared up as I saw my son in the painting looking back at me. I am now a true believer in doing my backgrounds first. I hope you enjoy the final painting. And I hope you continue to think outside the box!

outside the box