Untamed Land

Untamed Land
Untamed Land

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Spotted Cats

A few days ago I took stock of my inventory of artwork. I sorted the 30+ paintings into three categories. The worst paintings went into the recycle bin. They will be sanded off, and I'll paint something else on top of them.
The best group of paintings will be left as is, and will be shipped to galleries or art shows as needed. The middle group of paintings will be put in line for a face lift. Two of those paintings have already gotten their new faces. They were both old paintings of exotic cats.
Several years ago I painted this Jaguar called, La Reina, 9x12". I liked the cat itself and the leaf litter beneath it's feet, but the rest of the composition did'nt quite work. Nobody liked this painting, but I did'nt know what to do about it.
Painting green leaves has always been a challenge for me. I have tried numerous shades of green but none of them look natural to me. The closest I can come is to lay down a base of green, then cover all or some of the leaf with a very thin glaze of red. Then highlight parts of the leaf with blue, white, or yellow.
This new vertical arrangement of branches and vines helps draw the viewer's eye to the Jaguar, and it looks much better to me.
I did'nt make any changes to the cat itself.
Although I like the cat in this Ocelot, 8x10", painting, the setting looks contrived to me.

First I added a series of glazes to various parts of the painting, and then reworked, or added leaves. The improvement is dramatic to me, although I dont know how well that shows up in the photo. The differences in color saturation between the photos has more to do with differing light conditions between the original photos, and new photos.
This painting really makes me want to do another Ocelot painting. I have a good idea in my head.
Since this post is about spotted cats, I'll include two paintings that I did not alter. This 11x14" painting called Two Leopards is hanging in Gary's gallery in Homer. If it has'nt already sold, I expect it to sell by the end of summer.

This 12x16" Cheetah painting called, Cat in the Grass, sold last summer. I can only hope that the Jaguar and Ocelot paintings will sell soon.


Mainly Mongoose (Lynda) said...

Great cats! I cannot believe what a big difference the background can make to one's perception of the cat. I guess this explains why I'm such a dreadful wildlife photographer (well, one of the reasons!).

john said...

Talk about dreadful wildlife photographers, I leave my camera set on program mode, and auto focus. Then I place the subject into the middle of the frame.
Any creativity comes when I crop the photo, and adjust brightness/contrast.
All the photos I've seen on your blog look great to me.