How to paint a cat portrait: lesson 3

Today I added more detail to the fur and face. There is still more work to do, but its’ starting to look a lot like this beautiful cat. I added highlights with cadmium yellow, yellow ochre; and dark tones into the fur with burnt umber and ultramarine blue mixed, with spots of burnt sienna. I enlarged the ears, since they were larger than I first realized.

Lesson 2: color study

I have decided to put myself through a course of painting in the basics, as a refresher. In this part, I first did a value painting by:

1.Using burnt umber for the darks

2. Rubbing out my light areas;

3. I then went over it all again to darken the darkest areas, and added a touch of white for the lightest areas.

I then painted the local color over it once the under-painting dried. I call it “pumpkin soup” because it is a small pumpkin, a box of bone broth, and garlic salt. I can’t wait until next week, when I get to paint a portrait of an animal!

I did this on a canvas pad, the final is 16″X12″. The underpainting took two hours; the color study took 3 hours to complete.

Back to Basics: Value Study

I have been reading some books on painting, and have decided to put myself through a full course of lessons. On this blog, I will share what I am doing, and learning, because I want to improve (and this type of “back to the beginning” will hopefully have that effect).

The first lesson involves working with a very limited palette (black, white, yellow ochre), and focusing on capturing values in a still life, based on common objects around the house. I took a kitchen cooking pot, a bowl, a brown egg and a spoon. Below is the result:

How to Paint a Barn with Oils: Part 1

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! If I had thought about it, I would have painted a wild turkey for today…a few weeks ago, there were tons running around everywhere. Now, they are all gone, in hiding. Smart birds.

I’ve decided to paint a barn; I plan to keep it fairly “loose”. In painting a landscape, I like to start with the background, or sky, first. After all, the trees will have their branches against it. So…here’s the start:

How to paint a barn, lesson 1, sky blocked in

Michigan Barn, sky getting blocked in

I like ultramarine blue, so I created the sky areas with a mix of this and titanium white, deepening the sky further up in the painting. I then created the clouds, painting wet into wet, with a mix of yellow ochre, dioxide purple, brown and titanium white. I added bits of blue as well, and brushed the clouds in to make them soft and give depth.

In the next lesson, I will be working on the barn and foreground. Hope you had a wonderful holiday!

How to Paint a Bird: Learning to make a video

A friend of mine has a videorecorder, and so the other day, I decided to try and make my first video. Here’s what I have to say about it: the adage “you learn from your mistakes” is certainly true!

I DID learn a lot about what NOT to do, and so the next time I record, I’ll know things such as how to set up the recorder, how far away, lighting, and how to edit better. But it was kind of fun doing it, and making a “speed painting” effect.

Here’s a link to the video. I am painting a titmouse, because I have sold several of these (I will be making canvas prints from now on!).

Below is the finished painting. Oh, and Happy Labor Day!

oil painting of titmouse by Yeshua's Child Art

Birds of Michigan: Titmouse #2 8 X 10 canvas wrap

North Michigan River Painting: part 1

I love to paint landscapes. My only regret is that my photos of the finished painting tend to have a lot of glare, so it washed out the color in areas. But, it shows an idea of how they look. This painting is based on a picture my roomate took up in Northern Michigan last fall.

I also love to learn from others, and to share what I have learned. So, I’m sharing my process here. First, I block in the main color areas. I like to use alizarin crimson for my underpainting for large areas of foliage, then when it dries, I paint greens and yellows (yellow ochre, cad yellow medium) on top:

North Michigan river painting roughout (art lesson)


I generally work back to front. In the next, I have added more foliage and colors in the front, Using mixtures of sap green, yellow ochre, ultramarine blue. I added in cobalt and ultramarine shadows, and pulled greens and burnt sienna into the river:

part two of lesson on painting a river landscape

In my next post, I will share the finished painting.