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Tag Archives: tiger


The above is a gouache resist. I have painted quite a few of these and left several in their black and white form. I like the suggestion of “block print” that they seem to carry with them. The full process for doing one of these can be found here.

This is the largest one I’ve painted and I was nervous about how it would take during the rinsing process. I didn’t need to worry. However, with another small one, I learned I must wait patiently for the ink to dry thoroughly and not rush it with a hair dryer. The hairdryer causes some ink to work through the gouache. A more clear image will appear if you allow the ink phase to air dry.



I have been working with different ink and watercolor techniques. I began the above painting with a line drawing of the tiger. The next thing I did was ink in about four of his stripes with a small watercolor brush and india ink (waterproof). Before each stripe dried, I spritzed it with water. The ink fans out in a fuzzy pattern to either side of the stripe. At first it looks like I am ruining my image, but as the ink dries, the color becomes lighter. I would dry that area with a hair dryer and move on to the next group of stripes and repeat the spritzing and the hair drying until I had the stripes done. I waited for this first step to dry and then repainted all the stripes so that the center of each one was as black as I could get it.  I worked black india ink into the shadows around the tiger, wet-in-wet, just like I use wet-in-wet with my watercolors.  After this stage dried, I painted with watercolor. If you click on the above image and click on it a second time, it will enlarge enough so you can move around it and actually see the textures the spritzed ink created on the surface of the watercolor paper.

I have done this type of ink and watercolor before.  You can view one I did with a nib here. I also have worked with an eye dropper here and here. This technique is defintiely not for the artist that wishes to control every element of  his/her painting. I find myself having to let go a little of my control and work with what we watercolorists call “Happy Accidents”. The reference image is just that, a reference image, because I usually have to stray from it in order to finish these.



Tiger Eyes

Horse Mouth

Recently I began a watercolor portrait class. When I have taught this class, in prior years, we have jumped right in and begun drawing and painting the whole portrait. About halfway through each class I begin to get questions about how to: paint an eye, paint a nose, paint a mouth. This year I decided to begin the class a little different and demonstrated how I paint an eye and a nose. How there is not much to either but that we rarely take time to study them, separately, in previous classes. This year we took an entire week to just paint pieces and parts of the face and it has made a huge difference. We discussed how much brighter our colors were if we mixed them on the paper as opposed to the palette. We worked with layering the colors on the paper, or mingling them wet-in-wet and came up with examples like the above. Note the various colors to make the grays in the horse’s mouth or the indications of red and gold in the tiger’s black stripes. Both those colors were created with layers of varying reds, yellows and blues. We discussed the varying shades of reds and yellows and blues we had available to create skin tones and how much more vibrant those tones were when we painted them wet-in-wet and reserved the darker tones for the shadows or the rosey colors for the cheeks.  We talked about shadows cast under the eyelid, on an eye, or under the upper lip on the teeth.

Next we put these pieces and parts together and just created faces. That seemed to get this class rolling and there have been fewer problems with face parts as a result. I created the following faces:

Child’s Face

Woman’s Face

Man’s Face

Wow! I tried Strathmore Aquarius II watercolor paper for just painting on! I like it a lot! It responds like a mix between hotpress and coldpress. It allows for more wet and wet applications like coldpress. Like hotpress, the pigment sinks into it rapidly and stays with little lifting qualities. The surface feels softer, to the touch, than hotpress paper does.  It is only 90 lbs worth of paper but I am finding that it does allow for layering. I had used this paper, exclusively, for my supports for gessoed watercolors because the paper did not buckle when the gesso was applied to it.  If you read up about this paper, you find it is made up of synthetic and natural cotton fiber. I guess the synthetic part is why it does not buckle so much when the gesso is applied. I did, however, get some waviness to the paper but not the buckling that I experience with other papers.

Those of you who have noticed that I am not visiting as often. It is NOT because I don’t want to. I will get there! My slow down is temporary but am involved with a lengthy obligation that takes me away from my normal schedule.  Thank you for your patience and your continued support, here, on this art blog.  I love to draw and paint so I will be back to my previous blogging when I can.

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.

I ran across a beautiful photo reference of a tiger, up close and personal, on the wet canvas site a while back.  I think I just wanted to see what his face would look like painted on masa paper. I also experimented with black and white watercolor and dribbled other colors into them. The inspiration for a tiger came from Francis’s painting of a tiger last summer found here.

This week my creative drawing class is working with distorting a grid to discover how they can create something different and unique. This is done, first by gridding a photograph with equally spaced lines, vertically and horizontally. When they begin on their support paper or canvas, they distort the same number of vertical and horizontal lines as they used on the reference. Their next task is to figure out how to place the image being transposed into their newly created grid spaces. I chose a tiger as my reference and changed my format size to long and narrow. My grid included curved as well as straight lines and my resulting distorted grid drawing looked like this:

The artist can choose to include the grid lines in their final piece or erase them and go with the image. This drawing became this:

And because I could not resist, how about a little “Tiger Rag”?:

Have a great weekend!