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This painting caused no end of grief for me. I thank wet canvas for the photo I used as a reference for this. I was attracted to the strong light cast on the scene of the three tigers and that was my initial challenge.  The other challenge was choosing the colors I wanted to use to render the scene. The final challenge was my desire to get the feeling of the expression each of the three tigers emulated. I finally decided on a palette of greens, violet, earthy reds and orangey-yellows.

I don’t know how many times I had to go back into the stripes on each tiger, but it was quite a few. I mixed my reds and greens for the darks of them and added a little violet to darken them.

I used halloween orange, raw sienna and burnt sienna for their coats. I would shadow their forms with light washes of sage green and olive green. The white on them, with the exception of the whiskers, is the white of the paper. The whiskers were drybrushed using titanium white.

As I painted, I realised why I struggled so much. I have painted quite a few portraits of animals and people but rarely in a grouping.  I also realised that I rarely include the entire body of many of the animals I paint. This is something I think I can add to my list of imagery to work on.  I would like to learn to see groups of things a bit better than I do now.

Tigers are endangered. The major reasons are something humans have caused. More about that here.


  1. wow…this is a beautiful piece and you did nice rendering ! they are absolutely hungry and angry 😀

    • That one in the foreground looks angry, alright! 🙂 Thank you Zeinab.

  2. Very complicated composition, yet articulate handling and execution of this lovely project Leslie!

    • Thank you, Padmaja. I am hoping I can begin to look at groups of things as a whole composition rather than separate individual pieces. Your comment fuels me to want to do more like this.
      Hope you are settled in your new home, Padmaja.

  3. You did an outstanding job of these tigers, Leslie! The painting may have given you some grief, but it sure was worth it. It is gorgeous!!

  4. Powerful and interesting composition. Love the color, and topic.

  5. Your on-going courage to stretch yourself and step outside of your comfort zone amazes me, Leslie. These tigers look to be heading for the hunt. Look at the movement of the front paws – so real – especially the one on the left where the paw turns inward. I’ve watched that with lions! The painting gives me a sense of the silent communication that happens continually amongst animals – especially when preparing for dinner.

    • You make me smile. 🙂 You have discovered my bit of joy even in the struggle when I approach a blank sheet of paper, Amy. Both you and Zeinab see them heading for the hunt. I, actually do not know much about tigers nor did I know, until recently, how endangered they are. The big cats’ bodies intrigue me. They are huge and heavy but move as lightly and with as much stealth as our house cats. Their enormous paws and their heavy heads, their muscled legs and all that skin! No wonder the artist who drew Tigger included folds. I did notice something of the silent communication especially from the one in the center because of the snarl and the direction of his/her ears. Also how her snarl caused her whiskers to point straight out from side to side. Thank you, Amy.

  6. Gorgeous tigers. You’ve caught that stalking motion of theirs, and the pent up energy they have right before they attack. I know what you mean about painting the bodies but you succeeded so well with this painting. I always try to paint animals in long grass so I don’t have to do their feet. I’m a defeetist by nature. 🙂

  7. Oh my ! Leslie, this is so beautiful ! They do look real and energy-filled. What gorgeous colors !

    • Thank you, Isabelle. What a nice comment. I actually pushed myself on this one and thought of you when you were working on your botanical studies and pushing yourself to “see” better.

  8. Beautiful tigers, Leslie. Very expressive, too. Blessings to you…

  9. This is a mighty painting. How big is it? What makes you start a painting? I was so lost today, I just starting drawing lines lol…

    • This one is 13″ by 19″, Ronny. Good question! I paint because I want to. That is the driving force and I think the simple answer is because I like how I feel when I am painting. I did used to think I had to have vision or a purpose or something I wanted to share through my images like a “speak”. It is not so much that, anymore, for me. That said, there are a myriad of things that get me moving. I may want to try a new technique so that becomes my initial focus and I try to select a reference that might lend to what I want to try. I, lately, have been looking for references that have strong light. I like practicing that and the push and pull of values. I have also been attracted to working with different papers, also. My favorite subject material are animals and people. I have been concentrating on landscapes for about a year, now, and am looking for subjects that have interesting divisions of space. If I get in a funk, it is usually because I am trying to do a balancing act with things in my life that are interupting my painting time. If someone says “try this” it goes on my list of things to try. I read a lot about art and how other artists work. I always am inspired by their ideas. Those approaches, then, go on my list. If I run out of ideas? I paint or draw a self portrait. I had a teacher that said self portraits are our way out of a funk. After a few of those? 🙂 I’m running for something new! Lines? I love line! Must click over your way and see if you posted on line! Thanks for this excellent question!

  10. This is very beautiful, Leslie! I would never be brave enough to take on a painting of this scope! Their body language is exceptional!!!

  11. lovely show of flowing movement and such a large degree of menace portrayed there, between themselves and anyone unlucky enough to cross their path, Leslie. Better to view them like this, through your beautiful and lifelike art-form. I’m so, so glad I haven’t a Tiger (or three) by the tail 😀 xPenx

    • 🙂 Spoken so well. I want to hear the rest of the “tail” you could spin, dear Pen. 🙂 It has been fun to hear others’ interpretations of the expression on that center tiger’s face. I just thought she was a little ticked with the other two. Thank you for coming my way, today, and commenting, Pen.

  12. I love this, Leslie. You caught a certain menacing feel from these powerful animals. Yes, they’re endangered–so unfortunate.

    • I wonder when we humans are going to learn that we are so destructive to some very beautiful animals that walk this earth with us? Thank you for your lovely comment, Gayle.

  13. Yet another masterpiece Leslie… You selected the perfect palette of colours too…

    • Thank you, Brian! I wanted to keep that background looking hot, yet dark enough to push the light brighter.

  14. You did an amazing job of these tigers, Leslie!
    Simply beautiful!

    Take care

  15. Another brilliantly mastered effort Leslie…

    Androgoth Xx

  16. Lots of personality coming from your tigers Leslie! You really captured them stalking their prey (us the viewers!) Can almost hear them growl 😉 Well done again!

    • Clapping! I agree with you. That one tiger was staring down that photographer! Thank you so much! 🙂

  17. Leslie I need to learn more adjectives for when I visit your site because there are only so many times I can say ‘amazing’, ‘fantastic’ and ‘stunning’! Your work is just wonderful!

    • That is such a wonderful comment. How does one rate these images when yourare work is every bit as luscious? Artists truly are able to embrace each others work and find something new in all of it! ..Inspirations for the soul to play in all media. Thank you, Nicola.

  18. Leslie, the scope of this painting is tremendous. You handled the multiple figures well. Doing a grouping is so much harder than individuals I think we tend to end up liking one of the figures better than the rest and that skews the drawing for us in our minds. And then we start to nitpick the whole thing. I’m glad you persevered.

    If you are interested in doing more big cats, you might like to visit the wild feline rescue center here in IN and take some of your own reference photos.

    • Thank you for the link, Ruth. I have heard of this place but never visited. I did paint our lion, Bill, from the Fort Wayne Zoo but could not capture a picture of our forever pacing tiger.
      Yes.I need to work some more on this idea of multiples and it is as you say. We get attached to one. I was absolutely drawn to the form and shape of the tiger on the right but didn’t give what you said, here, a thought. I will the next time I set out to do a multiple. It is something to take into consideration. I have a photo of our pair of white pelicans and want to try them, also. They are so white, I thought rice paper or masa paper would really shake up the image I took of them. Thank you for your kind words! 🙂

  19. Beautiful tigers showing movement and flow, as well as composition. Excellent work1

  20. Like all true artists, you made this look easy. Thanks for sharing the process and also for linking to the info on their conservation status. Wonderful!

    • I love your first sentence, Jamie. 🙂 By the time I had the three tigers drawn and one half finished, I was exhausted with eye strain and saying, “there has to be an easier way”! So thank you so much for your upbeat read on this.

  21. I think you’ve captured the movement very well, but then you’re very good with animals. Your colour palette is what excites me most. It’s clean and simple (if I were stretching for a similarity) it hits all the right notes . Finding the right colours and mixing violet to darken is great to read. I copy what you say and do almost to the letter. Lovely.

    • I really stretched on the color this time as I was bound and determined to keep some warmth behind these tigers. I don’t think I could do half as much with color without the Arches, though. It allows me to layer upon layer and to go back in and have at it again. This painting caused me no end of grief, so I am pleased that it has received comments like yours. Thank you, Keith.

  22. Wow, this is so different from the lioness you did recently. (Sorry, I’m reading the posts backwards). The lioness looks sweet and cuddly (although I know she’s not) and these tigers really look like they are hungry. No messing with them. I like the grouping of three. You did a great job here.

    • I don’t know if they are really hungry or they are having their own hierarchy issues amongst themselves. That middle one sort of looks like she’s “Top Cat”. I started drawing up another multiple with two horses. I hope I can improve on this, as I want to do more of them in the future. Thank you, Carol.

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