I’ll be posting a few recent art projects while I become accustomed to this blog format. So far so good, but there are things like “posting pictures” that I have not tried so far. So here goes.

Earlier this year I decided to paint another rock for my own collection, as I have painted literally hundreds of rocks that have all gone to other people, whether as gifts or sold. And, fond of wild cats, I chose to paint one of my favorites: a clouded leopard.

This is actually the only rock that I have photos of before completion, and I found it interesting enough to decide to do it more on future rocks.

Unfinished Clouded Leopard Painted Rock

Just a few black markings, mostly base-color.

Usually when I begin to paint a rock I will paint the entire rock the base color of the animal to be painted, which is generally a mid-color between the darks and lights of the animal’s color scheme. Here I did something different; I drew the cat onto the rock first, then painted in with different base colors between the lines. Then I outline with a darker color (usually sketched in pencil), and add in chunks of other base colors, such as the gray seen in the picture, which I always use as a base color for whites.

The spots of a wild cat are also done during this time, and you can see some of it in the above picture, but a lot more here in the next picture.

Unfinished Clouded Leopard Painted Rock

Clouded Leopard with base spotting.

As seen on the leopard’s tail, I will paint on the block colors in an almost zig-zag motion along the direction of the fur, which will help when I paint in the actual fur. At this point the animal really starts to take on shape and character.

You can also see some of my painting habits here; I always test a color before I begin to paint, and that leads to a very messy paper towel. I use acrylic paints, which are easy to use and dry quickly. The paint brush seen here is my fine detail brush, a size 0 liner brush. I use a collection of photographs as a reference, melding together the multitude in my mind to paint the creature I have planned. What, on average, do the markings do? What does their tail look like? Do the spots slowly widen into stripes down the tail? What markings do they have on their toes, if any at all? How much white is typical? Etc, etc. I find these photos in books, magazines, Google, Bing, and other various places amidst the internet.

After that I painted on the fur with the fine brush. This was a painstaking undertaking, one that generally takes hours

but is well rewarded at the end. I generally start with the darker colors, then do white last. Various washes with watered down paint before and after help add shadows and dimension, and at the end smooth out some of the rougher brush strokes. Finally I add more defining detail with black, and a few finishing touches with white.


Clouded Leopard painted rock, underneath view

Finished, bottom view. Signed and dated. I left the bottom of the rock unpainted.

Clouded Leopard painted rock, side view

Side view. Parts of the rock underneath are shaded in watered down black to give the illusion of a shadow.

Clouded Leopard painted rock, side view

Clouded Leopard painted rock, side view

Side view.

Clouded Leopard painted rock, back view

Back view.

Clouded Leopard painted rock, side view

Side view.

Clouded Leopard painted rock, top view

Top view, to show more of the shape of the rock.

Clouded Leopard Painted Rock, front view

And here is the final project, in large.

Once the painting is completed to my satisfaction, I paint on a finishing varnish. In this case, three coats of non-toxic, indoor/outdoor matte varnish. This turned out to be one of my favorite painted rocks so far.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask in the comments.


P.S. Picture positions were a pain to format in here.