Cat artist Jacqueline A. Gaylard explains how she paints using the medium Acrylic, in a realism style. She describes some of her artistic techniques and how her intricate paintings of animals are created. Jacqueline loves painting all cats, whether wild big cats or domestic moggies. In this blog she describes how she created the cat art painting 'A Coat of Red', a cute ginger cat sitting on an old red telephone box.
by professional cat artist Jacqueline A. Gaylard S.O.F.A - Artist Biography
Before beginning any painting, I like to carefully observe the subject before progressing to sketching and photography. I try to sketch from life whenever possible, to gather as much information about the animal's form, colour and individual characteristics. Photography also plays its part in the research process, for animals never stay still for long!
I rarely paint on canvas, but prefer to use an acid-free watercolour board which consists of mould made watercolour paper which has been applied onto strong board, this is great as it eliminates the need for stretching and means I can apply multiple washes. I also prefer the NOT surface so that where I want the paint to remain thinly applied, I can still achieve smooth brushstrokes.
My main medium is Acrylic paint, but I also enjoy painting in Oils and the watercolour medium Gouache. I enjoy the fact that Acrylic provides me with the best of both worlds; a water-based medium that can be thinned for washes and a paint that can be applied as Oils, in thicker layers that when dry becomes permanent and completely stable. View more of Jacqueline's Wall Art
My main palette consists of the primary colours and two whites, usually Titanium and Zinc. I also love to use Yellow Ochre and Burnt Sienna. I occasionally use a Mars and Ivory Black, but I always mix with other colours in order to achieve the right tone for the situation. When painting a black animal's fur, for example, the colour is never just black. If you look closely you will see many tones of blues, browns, purples etc. Click link to view one of my black cat paintings Black Cat Painting.
I use my preliminary sketches and drawings, with photographs as reference to draw out the desired composition. Using a pencil I lightly draw the subject in the desired position, directly onto the painting surface.
I gradually begin to refine the drawing until I have enough general detail to work with.
Using light washes of Acrylic paint I quickly apply wet on dry washes of colour to define some areas of the composition. For me, the animal's eyes are the first thing I need to render, aiming to project the personality of the animal from the very outset of the painting.
Once the eyes are complete I feel that I am now getting to know the animal's character. I give the ears and nose my full attention before moving on to develop the cat's face. Applying thin layers of orange colour, I define the individual markings of the fur and begin to create the cat's facial structure.
At this stage I am able to use a smaller brush and begin to apply more accurate layers of thicker paint. I apply many brown/orange tones to portray the soft fur over the face and always work the brushstrokes in the direction of the fur.
I use many sizes and types of brushes depending on what I am painting. I always have plenty of Size 00000 which are small enough for me to accurately portray the texture of fur.
Leaving the face for a while, I now continue the layered wash process again, creating the body of the cat. Thin washes of orange colour followed by thicker layers of paint; I work my way down the body and build up the desired depth of colour.
Once I am happy with the form and colouration of the cat, I move on to the background.
I used a base wash of blue/green colour to define some of the roof slates and then applied much deeper blue/grey colours.
More washes were applied to the right hand side roof slates. Concentrating on texture and beginning to incorporate the colourful moss.
Gradually adding more detail to each row of slates and then incorporating the different shapes of moss as I go along.
Using small brushstrokes, I define the slates shaded areas and lighten the moss with a vibrant lime green colour.
The old phone box was very interesting to paint as it was full of character. I began working from the right hand side with some darker tones to begin to create the shadows of a hard structure.
I wanted to achieve the flaking paint on the phone box roof first, so I used smooth brushstrokes all over the arch of the roof before highlighting the surface of the flakes. For the side of the phone box, I used a rougher wash technique, quickly applying the paint in the same direction as the paint on the phone box. Eventually, I added deeper tones of red and highlights of light pink colour.
I now added in the branches of the tree using a deep brown/grey colour and blocking in the position of the leaves using a light yellow/green. Using a smaller brush I worked on the detail of each branch and each individual leaf.
Returning to the cat, I worked on any areas that I felt required some extra attention, helping to create a life-like portrayal. With a light flicking action, I go around the outer edge of the cat creating the effect of individual fine hairs.
I now accentuate any areas of the painting which require more light or shading, therefore drawing the attention of the viewer to certain areas and bringing all the elements together.
The final things to be painted are the cat's whiskers, followed by my signature.
The completed Acrylic painting has the title “A Coat of Red”.