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A photograph of the right eye of an Amur Tiger...

Image via Wikipedia

Today I was fortunate enough to have 7 mostly uninterrupted hours to paint. I say “mostly” because I was also helping my younger sister with her school art projects. (She is also an emerging artist.) In between helping her with brush strokes and color mixing, I worked on my tiger rock painting. (See my other posts for more on this project).

Late this morning I began with where I left off after my last post, since I hadn’t had time to work much on it since then. I had kind of started painting on some fur, but I decided I didn’t like starting there. I needed to add in some background, so I could work my way into the foreground of the tiger’s body.

Colors that are darker and less colorful tend to recede into the background of a painting, and by accentuating that effect, you can help parts of the painting recede into pseudo-3D space. I made a dull, dark orange by mixing a little blue into orange paint. Yeah, I know–blue? Crazy, right? I used to think that was crazy. How could adding blue be good for orange? But it is. It dulls and darkens orange. If you keep adding blue, the orange it will turn brown, then a dull, dark blue. Using that dulled orange, I brushed in the shadows of the tiger, around the edges of the shapes of the body.

Photo of tiger rock with dark, dull orange shadows

Blue added to orange creates the dull, dark orange in the shadows of the tiger here.

Likewise, colors that are lighter and more colorful stand out. I wanted to add more color to the body to create a sense of volume, but also some deeper color for the vibrant parts of a tiger’s coat. I used some orange with less blue to paint the high points of the tiger’s volume and areas of deeper color, especially down the spine where a tiger’s coat is often darker.

Photo of tiger rock back

I painted a deeper orange down the spine and other deeper parts of a tiger's coat.

I added some white to the slightly dulled orange seen above, and added some more fur across the body, continuing the texture I had started a few weeks ago.

Photo of tiger with fur texture added

I continued the fur texture that I started a few weeks ago.

I added the white markings, and anywhere that needed highlights. It looked a little bright.

Tiger rock photo showing the white markings

I added white markings and fur highlights.

But the white was just a starting place for an orange wash. By adding water to acrylic paint, you can make a transluscent paint, like a watercolor. When I painted it over the white, it colored the white and blended it in with the rest of the tiger.

Photo of tiger with orange wash

By mixing water with acrylic paint, you can make a watercolor-like wash, which I painted over the white highlights to blend them into the tiger.

Then I added fur texture to the stripes, which made them a little thicker and finished the fur texture.

Photo of tiger with fur texture added to the black stripes

I added fur texture the the black stripes to finish the fur texture.

Finally, I painted the end details. Eyes, whiskers, extra highlights and shadows where I saw it needed some, more transluscent washes to add shadow or highlight, and the shadow beneath the tiger on the natural rock below. I fixed blips in the paint and accentuated highlights and shadows.

Photo of tiger with finishing touches

Finally I added the finishing touches. (Minus thenose--it was dinner time, and also time to get this post started...)

That all took me about 7 hours. Painting is time consuming! Now I need to finish the nose (it was dinner time, and then I realized what time it was and needed to get this post started), sign the bottom, and paint it with a matte varnish. Then it will be finished! I’m always excited to finish a project. I will post up the finished photos once it’s done.

Until then, God bless.