Another cheetah painting

I sold the cheetah watercolor a few weeks ago out of my etsy store so I decided it would be a good time to draw a replacement. Once again, I looked through my photo references and found something suitable.  I also felt it would help as cat portrait practice.

Cheetah

Cheetah

I started the inking with my nib pen and then adding the watercolor overlay.  It is relatively small at 5″ x 4″ but turned out fairly nicely.  Cheetahs are such elegant animals.  I think I took the photos many years ago at the Cincinnati zoo which has a breeding and research population.  Maybe this month or next I can get up to the Indianapolis zoo.  I have pretty well run through my reference photos and would like to get some new ones.  I look forward to using my digital camera this time around.  It will be so much easier to see if I have something appropriate instead of taking rolls and rolls and not knowing what i have until after they are developed and I am miles and miles away.

Big cat time

I have been a little slow finishing the architectural commission waiting on some more pictures to come in.  I have been itching to get the inks out, but I know that I shouldn’t until I am satisfied with the reference photos.  I decided to go ahead with some smaller watercolor animals in the meantime. It took about 2 days to complete these, mostly because I wanted to let the paper settle back down. Some years ago I bought a watercolor stretcher board set up and I wanted to try it with the animals.  It allows me to thoroughly wet the paper to stretch it and then clips it with screws and metal framing to hold it tightly.  It really worked well with these as there is no buckling after it totally dried.  I did these two on the bottom half and there is room for more if I flip the board around .  All I have to do is cut them apart.

CougarCheetahI swear my brain must be turning to jelly because, once again, I forgot the frisket.  Still, I rather like the way these big cats turned out.  I did spritz the paper as I lay down the ink to soften the edges a little bit.  I took the reference photos many years ago when my kids were small.  I think it might have been at the Cincinnati zoo because way back in the recesses of my memory I think I am remembering a cheetah breeding program.  I am planning to go and visit the Indianapolis zoo in May or June and take many more new photos.  It will be so different now using my digital camera.  Before, I had to take rolls upon rolls of film in hopes that I would get a few good shots.  Now I will be able to take a zillion, edit accordingly, and not be concerned with the cost of printing up so many photos.

It’s snowing AGAIN, so I’m finishing up my drawing in the studio

Another snowy day here. It is only mid December and I am already tired of cold and snow. They are forecasting another big snow storm for Indiana today, but hopefully the worst will be far north of us.  The old Farmer’s Almanac said a warmer than normal winter for us – I’m still waiting.

I’m almost finished with my latest piece. It is a pen and ink with mostly watercolor overlay and a little touch of colored pencil. It is in the let and sit phase now. I have found, over the years, that I need to take breaks during the creative process to let the art side of my brain clear.  After I draw something out I need to let it sit for a day and then go back to it for inking. What looked fine the day before will often look distorted the next day. If I am working on drawing out something very complicated I get so bound up in it that I can’t really “see” it any more. After a few hours of drawing in the basic sketch, I get attached to the way it looks and can no longer judge it. I really need to clear out the image from my mind. Often it means just minor adjustments, but sometimes something is glaringly wrong and I get the chance to fix it before I ink. Ink is VERY unforgiving.  I usually take a day or two for the inking on a small picture and maybe several more on something larger. I want to get into a flow, but not overdo it because once again I can get too attached to how it is proceeding. The same goes for the color overlay, whether I am using pastel, watercolor, colored pencil, or a combination of the above.

It can take 3-7 days for a project to be completed. Not as long as it seems for the actual work , but because I need to have time to evaluate each stage as I go along. It is hard for me to be a stream of consciousness artist. The work flows when my brain is in gear, but I tend to get too attached to it without the breaks. Finally, when I think the color is done, I again let it sit for a day or two to see if it needs adjustment. The real difficulty is deciding that enough is enough and not to overwork it.

I’ll post the work this week when I finish my last looks.  I hope to have it up in my shop on Etsy by the end of the week.  Today I’ll put up some of my animal art. I find alternating between the animal art and the architectural art is refreshing for me.

Florida Pelican

Lazy Tiger