Erik the Red

With time to spaErik 1 outlinere, and courage in my heart, today I decided to have a go at a watercolour painting. Normally I’d be more comfortable doing ‘watercolour sketches’, working quite small, as I’m usually outside and can’t carry larger paper sizes.

So, today I broke free of my norms, and attempted a picture of our cat, Erik the Red. She (yes, she was named before other necessary observations had been made) wasย  watching her brother in the garden. Her pose was silhouetted against a bright sunny background. I took a photo, as I knew she wouldn’t be still for long.

Working big, for me, means 16 x 12 ins paper (the biggest I have). I actually would have liked to have gone bigger if that had been an option. Anyway, the idea was to try to free myself from the pernicious detail which often invades my pictures. I am captivated by watercolourists who can express a wonderful scene or image with just a few beautifully-placed and well-timed wet brushstrokes…

I made a sketch, editing out a few details as I went along. I took a photo at this stage to remind myself that, if it all went pear shaped, I could have had a nice enough drawing instead! (It’s a terrible photo though).

As usual with wateErik 1 watercolourrcolour, the moment I put some paint on, starting with a pale yellow for the outside light, I realised that I was going to end up painting things in the wrong order. I’d intended to do all the background business first, then paint Erik. Fate decreed otherwise, as the yellow I was using was a good base for starting Erik, so I laid some down…and then panicked as the thought hit me that if I wanted to get some wet-in-wet effects going, I’d have to do it now, or it wouldn’t work properly. Eeek! From then on, it was a bit of a mad dash to get Erik’s fur sorted. The edges didn’t bleed the way I’d hoped to make them, but there are some parts which did unexpectedly interesting effects. That’s one of the bonuses of watercolour.

Cat done, I started work on her shadow and the floor tiles – this was fun. I love the way the water has crept into the shadow. However, I’m not very happy with the window frame, or the yellow background. I always find backgrounds difficult, both in terms of composition and colour. There’s such a lot to learn… Onwards and upwards!

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11 thoughts on “Erik the Red

  1. Thanks for dropping by my blog recently. I also find watercolour a tricky customer (incidentally, I love the Robert Wade quote from a day or two ago…so absolutely spot on!) and feel demoralised when my colleagues knock off their paintings in half an hour, while I’m still drawing outlines. Your cat is looking good…it’s certainly the kind of pose I would choose (mainly to avoid doing its face)….no, seriously…I’ll be back to read more when I have some free time, I relate to a lot of what you say here.

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    • Great to hear from you – it’s so good to know other people who are having similar experiences… it’s one of the reasons I’m loving blogging. And yes, avoiding Erik’s face was definitely a consideration – I’m rumbled! Looking forward to seeing more of your work.

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  2. I can’t resist a good cat painting ๐Ÿ™‚ The way you portrayed the floor and the fur turned out beautifully. Thanks for sharing your process. I learn so much from your experiences and definitely will be returning to your blog for watercolour tips and ideas. It’s the little surprises that each medium brings that makes art so interesting.

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  3. I love this, Rebecca! Love the colors in her fur and I actually really like the background too! I like the light contrast and love the texture in the floor. Beautiful form and shape also. What’s not to like? We could take a photo if we wanted one. This is art. Love it!

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    • Thanks Laura – you’re so right about the photo; each finished picture has its ‘flavour’. I confess I snapped a photo to work from for this painting, it was the only way I was going to get the cat shape right, especially the way she’s peering slightly to the right to look out of the window. Whatever works, eh? ๐Ÿ™‚

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