Shadow and Spirit
At last, I managed to get some quality time this week with the Bengal 6! This weekend I was at a cat show in Peterborough and this little family caused quite a stir…
So, you’ll remember that we got as far as the outline last week…now was time to start some proper work.
This is a portrait on light grey velour in pastel. Mostly the blocking in is done with stick pastels which are great for larger areas, then for the fine detail I used Derwent and Pitt Pastel pencils.
With such a large piece I like to make sure that I start on the left most side (as you look at it). Since I’m right-handed, working from left to right ensures that I’m not smudging work I’ve already done.
I started with Shadow (I love their names) and as ever I started with the eyes…and suddenly there he is.
Next is to block in the main under-colours. Bengals have exquisite markings and their coats are almost luminous, so a vibrant undercoat helps to develop the depth of colour that you see in their coats.
Here’s a closer look. You can see where I’ve started to go over the undercoat on the nose the brightness of the yellow ochre is still coming through.
These photographs give a good idea about the colour, but they were shot in a hall with flourescent lights. And no matter how much you compensate in the camera, the images don’t really compare to seeing the thing in real life.
At this point I leave the face for a little while to add some body colour. This helps me with the overall blending of colour and I can flip back and forth between the face detail and the body colour.
I find that graphite pencil is ideal for adding very fine detail into the face. Again when you sudy the lighter bengals they have a layer of fine, but darker, hairs that add depth to the colour.
Adding a little background colour here helps Shadow to stand out and suddenly creates a much more 3D image. The background will be refined as I gradually work on each of the cats in turn.
You can see in the images on the right and below that I’ve started to build up the layers in the body and the face.
I think it’s always interesting to look back at the outline to see how the piece is gradually starting to come alive. The outline of Spirit looks almost bizarre against the work on Shadow.
Finally, I get to a stage with Shadow where I am happy enough to move on to work on Spirit. This desn’t mean that Shadow is finished. He will be tweaked (in the nicest possible way!) as I work on the other cats.
Starting work on Spirit
OK, so now I’m ready to start on Spirit’s eyes.
In this image you can also see that I’ve started to block in some colour around the nose and eyes. As I mentioned earlier, at this stage it looks a little too vibrant, but remember that this is under-colour and there is a layer of detail to go on top.
I got so engrossed in Spirits face here that I nearly forgot that I was photographing the progress ;0). So there’s a bit of a jump here.
There were lots of Bengals at the cat show that I was at, so you can imagine the interest in this piece. My order book is once again stuffed with reference photos…
So here are my final two shots for this installment. Spirit is still looking like a little tiger on the image in the left as there is a layer of dark to go on top of this colour.
the final shot on the left shows progress so far with Spirit against his brother…
Come back for part four to see Spirit completed and work on Inca and the kitten…
Hope you enjoyed this episode.