Pet Portrait Oil Painting Master Class | Rachael Broadwell | Skillshare

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Pet Portrait Oil Painting Master Class

teacher avatar Rachael Broadwell, Fine Arts Teacher

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

27 Lessons (3h 36m)
    • 1. Welcome!

      3:33
    • 2. Materials & Limited Color Palette

      3:46
    • 3. Selecting a Portrait Composition from Photos

      5:36
    • 4. Notan Sketching for Painting

      5:52
    • 5. Process Overview

      9:40
    • 6. Imprimatura & Value Block-In

      6:55
    • 7. Color Block-In (Darks)

      7:15
    • 8. Color Block-in (Mid-Values & Lights)

      13:09
    • 9. Muted / Natural Colors - Pt. 1

      11:07
    • 10. Muted / Natural Colors - Pt. 2

      13:40
    • 11. Softening & Form Refinements - Pt. 1

      11:16
    • 12. Softening & Form Refinements - Pt. 2

      12:31
    • 13. Softening & Form Refinements - Pt. 3

      9:46
    • 14. Eyes

      19:10
    • 15. Whiskers & Final Touches

      10:41
    • 16. A Closer Look at Spanky

      2:33
    • 17. Painting Markings & Color Variations

      19:02
    • 18. Calico Cat Process Overview

      9:03
    • 19. A Closer Look at Milla

      1:59
    • 20. Changing the Background

      8:23
    • 21. Golden Retriever Process Overview

      7:37
    • 22. A Closer Look at Cooper

      2:02
    • 23. An Easy Way to Transfer a Portrait from a Printed Photo to Your Canvas

      2:54
    • 24. Wrinkles & Skin Folds

      8:30
    • 25. Pug Process Overview

      7:05
    • 26. A Closer Look at Watson

      2:07
    • 27. Final Thoughts

      0:36
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About This Class

Welcome!

In this course, I will show you how to paint your favorite fur friend in the Impressionist style. Pet Portrait paintings are very popular and also make a great gifts! I will be using oil paint for this demonstration, but you may use any medium you'd like. I hope that you'll join this course and I am excited to see your pet portraits in the project section!

We will be using Alla Prima techniques in this course. If you need an introduction to Alla Prima techniques, check out my Skillshare course Oil Painting for Beginners - Alla Prima Techniques

We will be approaching color in a subjective way throughout this course. In simplest terms, I will show you how to think about color in terms of value and temperature. You do not need to use the same colors of paint that I use, and I encourage you to use a very limited color palette. When I paint pet portraits, I like to have a lot of fun with color! Typically, I'll choose a color scheme to block in the base layer of color, and then I'll build the more natural colors in the subsequent layers so we get small, subtle glimpses of interesting color that peak through from the base layer. 

This course begins with a full, in-depth lesson on painting a pet portrait from beginning to end. I will emphasize how to think about color subjectively so you don't feel like you have to copy color from your photo reference. Another important factor is light and shadow, also known as value. A common saying in the art world is "Value does all the work, and color gets all the credit" -- and it's so true! So I'll show you how to get into the mindset of thinking about light and shadow primarily and color secondarily. The full lesson also discusses how to create a soft texture to fur, how to create vibrant eye colors, and how to lay in features like whiskers that can be very challenging. 

After the full lesson, I will have shorter lessons that focus on certain challenges that are particular to pet portraits -- such as how to paint markings and color variations, how to change the background, how to paint wrinkles / skin folds and more! 

I hope you enjoy this course! If you have any questions or if there is anything you're struggling with, please post in the discussion section and I will answer and I may even add new video lessons to the course!  I hope that you'll join this course and I am excited to see your pet portraits in the project section!

Happy Painting!

** Links below to more of my Skillshare courses to help you with the fundamentals of oil painting **

Oil Painting for Beginners - Materials (Non-Toxic) & Basic Techniques

Oil Painting for Beginners - Poster Studies

Oil Painting for Beginners - Value & Form

Oil Painting for Beginners - Color Temperature (Part 1)

Oil Painting for Beginners - Color Temperature (Part 2)

Oil Painting for Beginners - "Fat Over Lean" Principle

Oil Painting for Beginners - Master Color with a Limited Palette

Oil Painting for Beginners - Alla Prima Techniques

Meet Your Teacher

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Rachael Broadwell

Fine Arts Teacher

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Transcripts

1. Welcome!: Hello and welcome to my studio. My name is Rachel Bradwell and I'm an art teacher here on skill share. In this course, I will show you how to paint your favorite for friend in the impressionist style. Pet portrait paintings are very popular as gifts as well as commissions. I will be using oil paint for these demonstrations, but you may use any medium you'd like. You may just have to adapt the techniques to your medium, such as acrylic, wash, digital, or watercolor. I hope that you'll join this course and I'm excited to see your pet portraits in the project section. We will be using alla prima techniques in this course. If you need an introduction to alla prima techniques, checkout my skill share course called oil painting for beginners, alla prima techniques. We will be approaching color in a subjective way throughout this course. In simplest terms, I will show you how to think about color in terms of value and temperature. You do not need to use the same colors of paint that I use. And I encourage you to use a very limited color palette using colors that you have on hand. When I paint PET portraits, I like to have a lot of fun with color. Typically, I'll choose color schemes to block in the base layer of colour, and then I'll build the more natural colors in the subsequent layers so that we get small, subtle glimpses of interesting color that peak through from the base layer. This course begins with a full in-depth lesson on painting, a pet portrait. From beginning to end, I will emphasize how to think about color subjectively. So you don't feel like you have to copy color from your photo reference. Another important factor is light and shadow, also known as value. A common saying in the art world is value does all the work and color gets all the credit. And it's so true. So I'll show you how to get into the mindset of thinking about light and shadow primarily and color secondarily. The full lesson also discusses how to create a soft texture tougher, how to create vibrant eye colors, and how to lay in features like whiskers that can be very challenging. After the full lesson, I will have shorter lessons that focus on certain challenges that are particular to pet portraits, such as how to paint markings and color variations, how to change the background, how to paint wrinkles and skin folds and more. I really hope that you'll join me in this course. And I want to let you know right off hand that if you have any questions or need further clarification on anything that you can post your questions in the discussion section of this course. I also want to encourage you to post your projects in paintings in the project section of this course. And I can give you feedback and you can also let me know there if you're struggling with anything in particular, and I'm happy to help. I also want to let you know that I have several skill share courses that go all the way from the fundamentals of painting up into more intermediate and advanced techniques. So I encourage you to follow me here on skill sharing to get notifications about new courses that come out and check out my catalog of all the courses that I have in place here on sql share. Alright, let's get Painting. 2. Materials & Limited Color Palette: Before we get started, let's talk just a little bit about the materials that I'll be using for this demonstration. But I want you to know that you by no means need to use the exact same materials that I'm demonstrating with. I'm going to be painting on canvas panels. And I'll have my palette over here to the right so that you can see my mixes as I go. So let's look at some of the other materials that we have here. I am going to be painting using a little bit of solvent, especially in the initial stages of the painting. Solve it is also what you use to clean your brushes off. Now as I paints, I don't clean my brushes off very often. There's just a few circumstances where I do. Otherwise, I mostly just wiped my brushes off into a paper towel. I'll be using the citrus essence brush cleaner as my solvent. This is made by Chelsea classical Studios and it's nice because it isn't quite as toxic as other solvents. I'll be using just a little bit of medium. This is a walnut medium made by m gram, but you can use linseed oil or whatever medium that you happen to have. And I have it just off to the side here. And honestly, I really won't be using very much of that. Here are just a few of the brushes that I have by my side. And the brush that I'll be using the most is this one in the middle here, this flat bristles brush. It's a little bit coarser. It's kind of a workhorse brush. I'll also be using a long film Burt, and then a few of these softer bristle brushes in the final stages of the painting to get a nice soft touch. And that's also very important for Alabama techniques. I'll be using my palette knife just to mostly do some mixing. Maybe I'll use a little bit for some impasto techniques. And then here I have titanium white and then as o yellow. And for my red here I have naphtha, red. These are all buy em Graham, By the way, these are really great paints. This is ultramarine blue. These are going to be the main colors that I used for the painting. I'll be using a little bit of this failover Green mostly to do the eyes, but maybe to mix some dark colors as well. And then my raw numbers when I'll primarily is for my imprimatur a layer and my initial block in. And please don't feel like you have to use the exact same colors that I'm using. I do encourage you to use a very limited palette, but you should use colors that you have on hand. And it's best if you do have just a basic primary set of colors. At some point, I'll use a little bit of this impasto medium to get some nice impasto effects. So I will just set that off to the side though for now because I'll be using that just for a special effects. Part of what I will be demonstrating with is how to transfer your image onto your canvas. And so you might want to get some transfer paper, otherwise known as carbon paper. This will be very useful for you, especially if you don't feel comfortable drawing free hand. And I really encourage you to take advantage of doing sketches before you get into painting, I'll show you how to do a no ten sketch to help simplify the process of painting a portrait. And of course, you might want to pencil nearby. Alright, so I think that's it. Let's go ahead and get started painting. 3. Selecting a Portrait Composition from Photos: Before we start painting, I just want to quickly give you an idea of how I think about the composition of portraits. And I think that this applies both to pet portraits as well as it would to portraits of humans. However, I think with pets we can get away with a lot more creative license. And I'm basically just going to be using a simple app. This is called Pixlr. And this is just an app on my phone that I use to make really quick and simple edits to photos. So the most important thing that we want to consider here is going to be the ratio. I know that I'm going to be doing some of these portraits in an eight by ten format and some of them will be in a square format. So I want to make sure that the ratio of my crop is going to match up with the ratio of my canvas size. So for an eight by ten Canvas, we would probably want to crop to a ratio of four to five. And the ratio four a square of course, is one to one. And this will just make it much easier for me to accurately draw the proportions of the PET portraits and to get the placement of all the features. Correct. So here I am with this little calico Kitty just trying to play around a little bit to see what will be a good composition. I'm trying the eight by ten format first. But ultimately what I am going to do is probably go with the square format just to frame this cat's face in a way that is balanced and pleasing. And so sometimes with PET portraits, when we're taking photos of our pets, we are capturing them in a moment and of course our pets typically aren't going to pose for us. And so we have to just be quick and snap that photo as soon as we see something that we like. And so we may have to do a little bit of creative work afterwards just to add a little bit of interest for this little dog, I really had a hard time finding a good way to get him into the frame. I didn't want to crop out his legs because there are actually a really important part of this composition and to make sense of the position of the dog. So I'm going to opt instead to maybe just crop out the ears a little bit because I don't want so much background in this composition. And also because he's so straight up and down, I'm just going to give him a little bit of a tilt here. It's nothing crazy, but I feel like it adds just a little bit of movement by making him a little bit more diagonal. And I also play around a little bit with the auto fix, just a very simple feature on this app that will do a little bit of color correction and sometimes it actually makes the color worse. And so I always test it out just to see if it enhances the photo, then I'll use that quick fix. Otherwise, I'll typically just tend to leave it as it is because as you'll see as I go through these paintings, I take a lot of creative liberty with color. And so I'm not too concerned about the actual color that I'm seeing in the photo. So here I am with another photo of another dog where we have his whole body in the picture and you really like it. Yeah, I want to frame it in a way that makes the dog really fill up the composition. And I don't really want to have a lot of background. And again, I'm just going to give him a little bit of a twist, just a little bit more of an angle. Here's an example of where the color correction actually made him look really washed out. And so I'm just going to leave the color as it is. Maybe play with the contrast just a tiny bit. It's important though, not to make any huge changes to your photograph. And ideally not to use any filters. All right, so of course I've got to paint this little guy, this little pug with the donuts. He, I know is going to be a square format, so it's just a matter of how I'm going to frame him up, how much background I'm going to include. I won't be able to include his feet unless I go with more of an eight by ten formats, some kind of playing with that. But ultimately, I really like the square format. I think it just fits well with the features of this dog and this Donuts. So we'll just go with the square format for this guy, crop it in a little bit. Again, one thing I really like about animal portraits is that we can really do close-ups And I think that it's actually flattering and fun. Whereas with people we may not want those close-ups quite so much, and we'll just leave the color correction off. So let me introduce our pets of this series, Florio. First we have spiky and now we have Michela, Xander when acuity. And then big Cooper right here. And last but not least, we have Watson though wonder pug. 4. Notan Sketching for Painting: Typically Before I begin painting, especially when it's going to be something complex like a portraits. I definitely want to take the time to do a sketch. And the whole point of the sketch is to begin to get my mind in the right place. So I went to start thinking about how this composition is going to come together. Especially how the lights and the darks within the composition are going to work with each other and compliment each other. And so this really is going to be a very simple and loose sketch. I like to call these scribble sketches. But with the intent in mind that I'm really focused on that balance between light and dark and really identifying the composition in terms of lights and darks. And so this is actually called a no Tan sketch. And it's definitely not meant to be any kind of detailed sketch. I'm really just doing some basic drawing of the form and the placement of the features. But after I get the main features in place, I'm basically just going to begin scribbling in my darkest values. And I want to start mapping those out because of course, that is how we're going to create a sense of form and realism in this portrait. And I really like the old saying where we acknowledged that value, does all of the work while color gets all of the credit. And one thing that I love about painting and especially using the alla prima technique, is that I can really focus on my value and allow the color to be a little bit more free flowing, a little bit more creative, a little bit more interpretive. So I don't have to worry so much about mixing precisely the right colors as long as I have the correct values in place. And so I really encourage you to approach portraits with that mindset because portraits can be very complex and overwhelming. And so if we're constantly trying to think about both value and also mixing the exact right colors. Then this becomes a very overwhelming process very quickly. And you're going to be really surprised at how far we get into realism by just focusing on value first and foremost. And then I'm going to focus more on temperature rather than specific color. In fact, I'm going to show you with this first portrait, a really fun way to address color, especially when you're painting a subject but is all white like this cat is. But as for the sketch, I'm really again, just trying to map out all of the dark and the light areas of the composition. I'm not even really thinking about drying or rendering a cat. And you can see that my scribbles here are literally just that, they're just scribbles. I'm not doing any kind of fancy hatching. This isn't any kind of finished drawing. It's not even really a sketch that I would ever really show off or anything like that. This is really just to get my mind in the right place. And so I kind of think of it almost as a warm-up exercise. It's helping me to really analyze how I'm placing light and shadow in order to create a sense of form. And it's helping me also just to get a sense of how the portrait is going to fit onto my canvas. And that's why I made shirts, use my ruler when I measured this out. When I do sketches for landscape paintings, I really don't worry too much about having the exact right aspect ratio for my sketch that matches up with my canvas size. But for a portrait that's really important because I do a lot of my drawing and my placements by kind of looking at the negative space around the portrait. So in this case, all of the dark background area, I'm thinking of those as shapes. And when I actually go to begin painting this portrait, that's what I'm going to be thinking about, those negative shapes. And so if I have my ratios a little bit off, then I'm not going to be able to judge that negative space accurately. I'm going to get a little bit of a warped perspective. So it's really important for portraits to do. You're sketching with the same aspect ratio as your painting is going to be because that's going to help you begin to really be able to study and analyze how the portrait is going to fit within the canvas. And for this first pet portrait, I am going to show you my own personal preferred way for placing a portrait on a composition on a canvas. But then it was some of the other portraits. I'm going to show you some other ideas for how to place the portrait just in case you are not as comfortable or confident with your drawing skills. And I just want you to be able to get to the point of painting. So I don't want you to have to worry about drawing skills if that's not quite your thing at this points. So there are definitely some other ways to go about that. But the sketching is really just to get me warmed up and to start analyzing the composition. 5. Process Overview: In this course, I'm going to be going into great detail about every step in the process of painting a PET portraits. But before we get started into that detailed lesson, I want to give you a quick overview of this entire process. So what I've done here is I've actually just sped up the entire painting process. And I'm going to give you a general bird's-eye view overview of how this painting comes together. And I think that this is a really important learning tool, especially if you're new to oil painting or if you just feel a little bit intimidated by the subject matter. Because when you're watching a painting in real time, it starts out looking a little bit chaotic. And then in my opinion, personally, when I watch others paints, it feels almost like the painting quickly goes from being in that chaotic, strange stage to suddenly making sense. And it's difficult to pinpoint exactly how the whole process comes together. So my goal in this little section is just to give you a nice quick sense of how the painting comes together and talk a little bit about the process in very general terms. So I want you to notice that the first thing that I did in this painting was a toned my surface and I laid in a very general blocking where all I did was use a little bit of raw number to indicate where the darkest areas of the painting are going to be. And so this is very similar to the nodes hand sketch where I'm just focusing on shadow and light and the basic form. Next, what I did was I pre-mixed a few colors. I decided for this portrait that I was going to use a color scheme, a complementary color schemes. So I chose to use violence for all of my shadow areas, and oranges and yellows for all of the areas that were in light. I took some of those violets and they range from a blue violet to a true violet to a red Violet. And I use those to lay in the shadows. Next, I started to add a little bit of white into those shadow colors just because this is a white cat. And so we do actually have some lighter value shades in this composition. Next, I'm laying in all of the lights. And this is where I think that the portrait really starts to look a little bit strange. And I think that when you're in the process of painting, it can feel a little bit bewildering and daunting. And you might feel unsure that this is really going to come together. And I just want to reassure you that when I paint, I never feel very confident that my painting is going to come together. But at this point, I've had enough experience to know that if I just trust in this process and I work from my dark values to my light values and I refine things as I go, it is going to come together and the beauty of painting and an Alabama technique where we're painting wet into wet. Is that all of these layers are so important and it may not seem at first very clear why. But these layers are so important because these are going to interact and interplay with one another to create a really interesting, vibrant, yet subtle color scheme. I, in addition to exaggerating some of the colors that I see in the lights and the shadows. I also tend to exaggerate some of the reds around the features such as the eyes, the nose, the ears in the mouth. And you'll see that as this paint seed builds that I'm actually using those rides and allowing them to peek through the more neutralized colors to give a really nice sense of vibrancy and life to this portrait. Now I'm beginning to overlay some of the more natural colors. So I'm using the same color scheme, but I'm neutralizing my colors a lot more so that they are less vibrance, but I'm laying them on top of the more vibrant colors that I used in that first stage of painting and allowing those just to peek through in a few areas. I find that this creates a painting that has a lot of really interesting color variation and nuance to it without looking too busy or overwhelmed. And I'm really treating color as very secondary to value. Value is going to be the most important aspects of a portrait painting. And as long as you have your value relationships correct, then you really can play around with your colors and have a lot of fun. So you're going to see now that I begin working more on placing in my lightest values in oil painting, it's really important to paint from your darkest values and work up to your lightest values. And that's because the pigments that goes into white, whether you're using a titanium whites or a flake white or a zinc whites, any of those, they're going to contaminate your other colors. And so you want to make sure that you have your darkest values in place and that your reserve, your lightest values only to where you really need them in order to avoid having a painting that looks flat or washed out. And you'll see too that as I progress through the lightest values of this painting, that the surface area that I'm covering gradually gets smaller and smaller. And this is really important to create a really nice sense of form. So areas that are protruding the most and receiving the most light are going to be the lightest in value. And we went to gradually build up our values in this painting process because having a subtle gradation is going to give a sense of softness to the for, if we have too much contrast or too much difference between the values that are placed next to one another, then our painting isn't going to feel soft. It's going to feel a little bit harsh. And so you should build up your values very gradually. And especially in the dark areas when you place values next to each other, you shouldn't see a big difference between those values. And I'm really just focusing on the for to begin with. One thing that I personally like to do is I like to leave the eyes and some of the other more detailed features. For last, I really like to focus on the big picture before I dive into those little details. But I know that some people really like to go the opposite way just because it makes the painting feel a little bit more inviting and welcoming to have those eyes and place. It feels just a little bit more lifelike. And it feels a little bit creepy to leave those eyes blink while I work on the rest of the painting. But let me tell you why I worked that way. I find that if I start my painting and an area that has a lot of detail in life, I'll spend a lot of time on that and I'll end up with something that I really like. But then if some other part of the painting doesn't work, or I find that perhaps the proportion of the size of the eyes isn't correct or they're just something a little bit off. I find it more difficult to make those corrections if I already have a part of the painting that is highly finished. And so I really am a proponent of saving detail for last and working on the big picture first. So in terms of a pet portrait, I see the for as being what I want to work on first and I want to get that right. And then there's a lot of leeway, a lot of area for improvement that I can actually do with those more important details. So here you can see that as I work on the eyes, I am not only playing with the coloration of the eyes, but I'm also really now looking at the shape of the eyes. And I've made a few very subtle corrections to make the eyes feel more lifelike in terms of their shape and size. And so now I can really just focus on this little area. And I definitely love to paint eyes because they're so interesting and the color variations are so subtle. So I really like to save this for last. It's almost like dessert for me. And it also really helps me to feel like the painting is coming to a completion when I get it to the stage. So the last thing that I'm going to do is place in the whiskers and some of the wispy hair coming off of the form of the cat kind of merging over the background. And in this particular portrait, I didn't use any medium with my paint until this point. And basically what I'm doing is I'm just very loosely adding in these whiskers. They don't have to be perfect. You don't need to worry about making perfect lines that are even all the way from the beginning to the end. Really be carefree with those because with oil paint you can actually go back in and refine some of those, make some of them that you don't like a little bit less noticeable. And I think that will help you to achieve a really natural results. So this was really the overview of this process. And I encourage you to refer back to it anytime that you're feeling bewildered during this course. 6. Imprimatura & Value Block-In: All right, so now that I have my sketch, Stein, I am ready to begin at painting and I'm going to begin with toning my surface. This is also called imprimatur Laura. And then I'm going to do a very loose under painting to place the main shapes of the cat in the features within this composition. And a lot of times when I told my surfaces, if you've seen some of my other videos, you may have noticed that I sometimes use permanent rose, which is kind of a nice bright red, almost fuchsia. But I'm going to use raw number for this. That's a little bit more traditional to use a color that's more neutral. So some artists like to use Ra umbrella, that's what I tend to use if I do the more neutral tone. But you could also use burnt umber, raw sienna, burnt sienna, anything like that, even like a yellow ochre. What you do not want to do is do an imprimatur, a layer where you're mixing white into it, especially if you're doing an alla prima painting. We want to have our surface toned with just a pure color and no white in there because y is going to contaminate everything else that you place on top of it. So even for the first layers of the painting, I'm going to completely leave white out of the picture. And that might feel a little bit unnatural considering that we are painting a white cat. But it is very important to hold off from using any white within any of your mixes until you absolutely must end with a subject like this. We will use y a little bit earlier in the process than I might with some other subjects. But you will be surprised at actually how little white will go into this composition. So all I'm doing here after I rubbed some of this raw umber onto my surface with my palette knife. I dipped my brush into my solvent, which for me is just a citrus solvents. And then I use that solvent to scrub the pigment into the fibers of my canvas. And this is just a canvas panel here. And then to remove any excess solvent from the surface, I used my paper towel just to wipe it down. And that also gives more of an even coverage. And it lightens as well because a color like raw numbers actually very dark. So now I'm going to go ahead and begin to block in the under painting of the cat just placing the major forms. And again, I'm really just looking at the negative space around the cat. So all of that nice dark background that provides such a nice contrast. I'm really just looking at that shape and trying to figure out how that is going to fit on to my canvas. Because we tend to make more mistakes if we try to judge the shapes and sizes and angles by looking at the positive. Rather than the negative shapes. So if I was trying to judge everything in accordance to how I'm judging the cat. I'm going to exaggerate some features and under exaggerate others. And things are going to become skewed. It's just the way that our minds work. And so it's a really good habit to start looking at negative shapes when you are trying to judge proportion and shape and you're trying to be very objective. So I know that it's hard to really illustrate that through a video. But basically that's what I'm looking at. I'm looking at all of that dark negative space around the cat. And that is what I'm painting at this point because that helps me just too get the proportions in more accurately. Because I'm able to think more objectively about those negative spaces than I am about the subjective features of the cat's face. We tend to make judgments that are not always entirely accurate when we're looking at faces. And again, I am going to show you some other techniques for placing a portrait onto your canvas accurately that don't involve so many of these judgments because I know that not everybody feels completely accurate with the drawing aspects of this. And I think it's really important that you are able to just be able to focus on the painting process rather than worrying about your drawing skills. And with portraits, it is really important to have very accurate proportions and placement of the features. Because even if you do amazing painting techniques and you have really great values and your firm is really realistic. If the features are a little bit off, it's going to throw off your composition. So I think it's a really good idea to get the practice in. You don't have to practice your drawing through painting. You can just do quick little scribble sketches, little know, ten sketches. And that's really going to help you over time to develop those skills. And so I really encourage you to do that. And for the time being, I want you just to do whatever you're most comfortable with. So if you're comfortable kind of painting like this in sort of just being very loose and letting things come together. Then I think that that's great. And to be honest with you, in painting, what I love so much about it is that even if I make some small mistakes, as far as the proportions are, ratios are angles or features. It is so easy to make corrections as I go. And so I honestly just don't worry too much about having everything perfectly accurate at this stage of the painting. I just really want to get everything blocked in. But I also want you just to feel confident and be able to really dive into the painting techniques. And so I'm going to show you some other ways that you can place a portrait onto your canvas as well. So you can see here that I'm really staying in line with my notes hand sketch. I'm really just using two values, the area of the canvas that I toned and then rubbed off with my paper towel that is representing all of the areas getting the most light. And then I'm really reducing the shadow areas to one single value. And that's really all that we need to do for this stage. We have it kind of just blocked in very loosely. And I'm actually not going to use any more raw number, so I'm just going to clean that right off my palette. And we'll move on. 7. Color Block-In (Darks): And now we are ready to start building our first layer of color. And I'm using a very limited palette for this portrait. And you might be surprised to see that I'm painting a white cat using basically just the three primary colors. But I'm going to walk you through how I think about color, especially when I'm painting something that is white in its local color. So this, of course we look at it and it's a white cat rights. But I am not going to paint it white. I am going to basically find a way to add a lot of chroma and color interests into this portrait. Because one of the hardest things about painting, Something that is why it is that it can very easily tend to look kinda washed out, kind of dull, maybe just shades of gray. And so it's really important to me to add a lot of chroma color interests into a subject like this. And I have to work a little bit harder at it. For a white subjects, like a white cat or maybe a white tea pot or really anything that's just white. I like to think about the fact that something that is white and its local value is going to be reflecting off a lot of other colors from the environment. And so I am looking at this cat and just trying to assess some of the colors that I can imagine reflecting off of its fur from the surrounding sites in. And I'm thinking about the fact that it's inside and so it's probably under some kind of artificial light. And artificial lights tend to be a little bit warmer. And then the shadow, of course, is going to be a little bit cooler. So I'm going to go with a split complementary color scheme to paint the initial layers of this portrait. The first thing that you saw me do was just add a little bit of red into my blue pile of paints. I basically, I'm not going to have any pure blue on my palette anymore. I then divided that into another pile and added more red to it to make more of a true violet. And then the pile right above that is a little bit more of a red violet. And then to make this a split complementary color scheme, I'm going to have an orange and yellow. But both of these colors, the orange and the yellow, are not going to just be straight orange and yellow. I'm actually grabbing some of the violent and adding it to both of these piles just to neutralize them a little bit so that they're not too bright. I really want some nice neutral colors. Although compared to what we might see in the photograph, these are going to look very vibrance at this point. And this is just to start building the initial layers of this portrait. This isn't going to represent the final portraits. And basically my thinking behind this tactic that I really like to do. Especially like I said, for subject matter that is white and its local value is that it's going to add in a very subtle way, a lot of color vibrancy to a subject that otherwise it can be a little bit difficult to discern some of that vibrancy. So this is just a little trick that I like to use to make portraits like this, more interesting to look at. So now you can see I've got my blue violet At the bottom, my violet above that, then my red violet, and then a red orange that has some of that violet mixed into it to mute it a little bit. And then above that is my muted yellow. And so what I'm going to do for this very first layer, I'm using my coolest color, so my blue violet I'm using in the areas that are in the dark. So not getting really any lights. And this is going to look a little bit too dark right now. But again, this is just the base layer. And having a really strong base layer is going to be so important, especially because we are using alla prima techniques in this painting. And Alec prima just basically means that we are painting what into wet. And so every layer of paint that we add to this painting is going to have some impact on the subsequent layers. And so what I like to do is I like to make this base layer a little bit darker so that some of these darks can show through and add depth to the final portraits. And I also like to either make my colors more vibrant if the subjects, like, for example, with this cat, if it's a little bit more of a monochrome portrait at first glance, I like to add more vibrancy to this base layer. Or if my final subjects is going to have a lot of really vibrant color in it that I'll actually do this base layer using more muted colors. And so basically I like to do the opposite. If I want my final portrait to be really vibrant and have a lot of highly chromatic colors, then I'm going to have a base layer that's a little bit more muted because that creates a little bit more of a vibration between these colors in the way that they interact with each other as I layer the paints on. Likewise, if my subject is going to be a little bit more subtle and muted in the end. Then I want a nice layer of highly chromatic color. Because again, it's going to help to create a nice vibration between those colors as they come together in the alla prima techniques. And if you're not familiar with alla prima techniques or you've tried it and it feels really frustrating to you. I actually have a class here on skill share that really goes into depth on ala prima techniques. And I think that if you're struggling with these techniques, it's really important to get the techniques mastered and to understand how an ala prima painting is built so that you feel less frustrating when doing a more complex subjects like a portraits. So here you can see I've moved on to my true violet and I'm using the true violet in areas that are still in shadow, still dark, but maybe not the darkest parts of the portraits. And I know that right now you don't even really see much of a difference, especially between the blue violet and the true violet. But the differences are subtle. And I think that it does help in the long run. And with such a dark color like violet or blue, violet and a Violet, we won't see those colors until we add whites. 8. Color Block-in (Mid-Values & Lights): And now I'm continuing on with this initial layer. And I decided to divide this first layer into two video segments, because right now I'm actually going to be adding whites. And typically with most subject matter, I would not be adding any white to my mixes this early in the process. However, with this subject being a white cat and having a lot of reflected light, even in the shadow areas, we are going to have just a little bit of white in the shadows. So what I'm going to do here is just start adding a little bit of white to these mixes that I already have. Now you can really see that this blue violet is very much blue. So I add to actually add a little bit more violet to it just to tone down the blues. And I'm just going to give myself a few values here. I don't need to have a full value scale from a dark blue violet all the way up to a light blue violet because I'm primarily going to be using this color within the shadow areas and not in the light areas. The light areas are where my warm colors are going to be. So my orange and my yellow. So I really only need to get these violet mixtures up to maybe a medium value or a medium dark value, because these are all going to remain in the shadows. And even at this stage when I'm adding white to these, the painting overall is still going to look quite dark. And again, with alla prima, one of the things that we need to make sure that we are doing is painting from our darkest values and working up to our lightest values. Because once we have a light value, especially if it has white in it. And we find that we need to make it darker, it's going to be very difficult. Whereas if we have a value that looks too dark, it's very easy to lighten it. Now I want you to also notice that with these violence as I add white into them, I'm also adding a little bit of yellow into them. This is one way that I prevent my colors from becoming to pastel or chalky or washed out looking. Especially because in the lighter areas of the portrait, I am going to have more of my warm colors. It's really important that as these get lighter in value, they also begin to get a little bit warmer. And so I achieved that just by adding in a little bit of my, either my orange or my yellow. So here I am taking a little bit of the orange. And really these colors are going to have quite a bit of light in them, are white in them. I'm sorry. They're going to have a little bit more white in them just because these do represent the areas of the portrait that are in direct lights. And these areas at first are going to look way too chromatic. But again, I like to use really chromatic color in my alla prima paintings when I want the end result to be a little bit more subtle, nuanced and even monochromatic. So I'd just like to have that as a way to create some subtle color vibrations. And again, I'm adding a little bit of yellow into this mixture as I add more white just to keep in line with warming it up as we get closer to the light areas. And then same with this yellow, even though the yellow all by itself has a pretty light. Local value. I am still going to have a little bit of this with more white in it just so I have a really nice range of values within these mixtures. Alright, so now that I have mixed up a few piles, at least to get me started, I'm going to start building more value into the painting. So I already have all of my darks in place. And now I can really focus on gradually building up my values from those dark values up to the lighter values. But again, I'm not going all the way up to the lightest value that I see in the photograph. I'm just giving myself a nice base layer that's a little bit darker in value than what I want my final painting to be. And especially when painting a PET portraits where we have for one of the most important things that you can do to help create a nice soft effect to the for is to have a very subtle and gradual gradation of values. One thing that I notice that a lot of beginners struggle with when painting something like fur is that they tend to over-exaggerate the value shifts within the for. And so they'll have light for like this, but they'll see the areas that are more in shadow and they'll over-exaggerate the darkness of those shadows. It's really important to keep our values very subtle and to let those shift very gradually. So I think one of the most difficult things about that is when we begin building up the shadows where we have a lot of dark paint and then we are adding values that are still very dark. We may not even see the difference between those colors right away, but they're going to be really important in giving us a nice gradual shift between the values. So as long as you are doing something to lighten your values within the shadow colors, you are going to get a nice soft effect, especially with fur. And to some extent that also applies to skin, especially in certain lighting conditions where the lighting is a little bit softer. So here I have a lot of different piles of paint that I've mixed up. And it doesn't necessarily mean that I'm going to be using all of these. This is just to kind of get me started. So I'm actually going back to the brush that I used for the blocking of that raw number, I haven't even clean the brush at all. I wiped it off on a paper towel. And one thing too that I like to do in order to build up a lot of nuance and color is I don't really clean my brush off all that often. The most that I'll do is wipe it off onto a paper towel when there's just too much paint remaining in the bristles of the brush. But I really don't mind having some unintended interactions between the pigments because all of these pigments are coming together anyway. And because I'm painting on top of that impermanence rural layer which is still wet. We're going to get some raw number into our painting anyway, especially in this first layer. So here I am putting in some of that blue violet that I added just a little bit of white to, to start building up my values. And this is where the painting is really going to start looking maybe a little bit funny. And I think that this can be a very uncomfortable stage of the painting process for a lot of people. And there are other painters who paints more directly aware their first applications of paints are more true to the final result. But again, my way of just adding a nuanced color that's a little bit interesting, but difficult to achieve by being too literal, is that I really like to over-exaggerate the chroma of these colors, especially if in the end I want my portrait to look very subtle and muted. And this is almost, I guess I think of it as painting in the style of fog ASM, where the colors are just really exaggerated, but the values are fairly accurate. Again, my values here are going to be just a little bit skewing to the dark side. But basically the value relationships are going to make sense. And so the color is secondary to the value. And that's really true of painting any subject matter. And there's an adage, of course, that I really like where we say value does all the work, color, gets all the credit. And that is so true. As long as your values are accurate, you can really be very creative and loose with the way that you think about color. And also right now I'm really, you can see not leaving a lot of space for the light areas, but again, is much easier for me to add light on top of the dark and kind of shift the darks back. So I do tend to over exaggerate the dark areas. And those light pigments that I apply on top of the darks will create a nice interaction as well. Another thing that I'm going to exaggerate is the reds that I see in this portrait. So obviously this cat has kind of a nice pink knows the era's, there's not a lot of red or pink showing in this particular portrait. And so when I blocked in the ears. I left that read a little bit more muted, but I'm also adding some red around the eyes. And this is not going to be something that is going to be really obvious are jumping out at you in the final stages of this portrait. But what I like to do is over-exaggerate Some of the reds that I see because we have a lot of course of the whites and the for. So we can imagine very easily some violets and some yellows and oranges in the undertones of the firm. But it's going to add a lot of interests, especially around the main features of the cat and the features like the eyes, the nose, the mouth. Those are going to be calm, our focal points. And so I like to really play with the contrast there. And especially because this cat has green eyes and red is a complimentary color to green. Having that really subtle little bit of red showing through in a way that's almost unnoticeable, is going to really help the eyes feel very vibrant and alive. And I also added a little bit more red around the mouth area. So any area that has those kind of facial features. And this is true of doing portraits of humans to, in the early stages of the painting, a few over-exaggerate the reds that you see there and just build off of that. You're going to create a very vibrant composition where it's not going to look scary. I think that that would be my initial response to the stage of the painting, having all that red all over the features that it looks a little bit scary, but it's going to become very subtle and just bring a lot of life to the portraits. And again, that's also true for doing portraits of humans. So just a little color trick there that I like to employ it as well. So here you can see I'm finally getting to the light areas where I'm using more of my oranges and yellows to build up the value. It's still much darker in value than the final painting is going to be. But again, this is going to be really important as I start to build my alla prima layers to allow those subsequent layers to interact in subtle ways with these really colorful and exaggerated layers. And as I add more of my lightest values throughout this painting, you're going to see that even though I never use pure whites, the lightest values that I place are going to really add a sense of form and depth to this Portraits. And also for these initial stages of the painting. Don't worry too much about your brushstrokes. I'm really just placing paint on the canvas. I'm not thinking about brushstrokes, but one thing that I do have to think about is keeping this paint thin enough that I can easily apply more alla prima layers on top. So that is the main consideration. 9. Muted / Natural Colors - Pt. 1: Now that I have my base layer in place, and you can see that the value relationships are beginning to work. Now one thing I do want to mention is that I'm really not going to touch the eyes at all until I have the for in place. This is more of a personal choice than anything that has to do with technique. For a lot of people, they really want those eyes in place to begin with because it helps the painting start to feel a little bit more put together. But it doesn't bother me personally to have the eyes out of place. And also I think that some people like to do the eyes first because they're afraid that they're going to mess up the eyes. If they have a lot of what paint all over their canvas like they're afraid that they're going to put their hands into the wet paint that's all over the canvas as they try to focus on the eyes and put in small details. So I think that you could go either way, quite honestly, I think that you could work on the eyes first and then build off the rest of the portrait around the eyes. If you're worried about having a large surface that is wet and then going in and doing the smaller details of the eyes. But for me, I really wanted to have all of that for into place. And I like to do the eyes last because I can really refine the shape of the eyes a lot better and much more accurately if I have everything else in place. And I definitely will be doing that for this portrait because right now, what I have for the eyes on my painting are a little bit too small and not quite the right shape. They're very rough. And so once I get the foreign place than I feel more comfortable really shifting the shape of the eyes to make them more accurate. Whereas if I worked on them at first and got them really nice and then realize later that they're a little bit off. It would be a little bit more difficult and more frustrating to go back in and fix the eyes later. So right now I'm starting to build up some of the more subtle and nuanced colors that I'm going to layer on top of my base layer. As I said before, I really like to use the base layer to create color vibrations that are going to interact very subtly throughout the painting process. And this is something that I think is really unique to alla prima techniques. And it's a big advantage of painting alla prima because we're going to always have the initial layers of paint interacting with the subsequent layers. And so you can really play with that and have some fun with it, create some optical illusions that could be difficult to achieve otherwise. So here I am just adding more white to some of these mixtures. I had to add more blue and more read to my palette. I also added my fellow green, even though I probably won't quite get around to mixing up the colors for my eyes just yet. I am going to start building some of these more grade down or muted colors that are going to layer on top of the more vibrant Base Layer. And what I want to do is I want to keep in line with the value structure here. But start to layer these more grade down colors on top of the vibrant colours. So here I have another blue violet, but I've added a little bit more yellow into that blue violet. And so you can see that then as I added white to those mixtures, I'm getting more of a nice gray effects, but the value is very similar. And so when I place that color on top of my initial layer, the values are consistent, but I am creating a more subtle color. And in general, that's going to be the main theme of this phase of the painting. I'm keeping in line with the values that I already have placed in. So things are going to look maybe just a little bit darker than they will in the final stages of the painting. But I'm using more muted colors and adding those on top of the more vibrant colors in order to start creating some of those nice alla prima wet into wet interactions between these layers. So I can have just a little bit of that vibrancy just peeking through some of these more muted colors. And that just brings so much life and interests into a portrait like this that otherwise might look a little bit washed out or a little bit gray. And right now, all of these muted graze that I have on my palette, which are toward the bottom of the palette. I created these just by mixing up a nice blue violet. And then as I added more white to these mixtures to create more values, I also started to add more yellow and oranges to warm up those grades. So the darker greys are cooler, meaning they have more blue, violet in the mix. And then the lighter grays are warmer, meaning that they have more yellow or orange mixed in with them. And that's another way to just make sure that you're not creating a painting that looks washed out or chalky just by adding a little bit more warmth to your lighter mixes, by adding a yellow or maybe a red. Or when you are mixing darker values, you can have more of your blues and violets. And with this, I probably will have to continue to add more paints because it can be a little bit difficult to judge how much you're going to need for each area. But you can start to see here in the shadow areas of the portrait, I have layered a lot of these muted graze on top of the violets. The color is different, but I'm allowing some of the vibrancy to peek through as I start to build these more realistic colors. But I'm staying consistent with the values. So I'm not really shifting or changing the value in the shadows very much. And as I start to move into the areas on the portrait that have more light, this is where I want to start using. The muted grey that has more white in it. And also a little bit more of my warmer tones, may yellows and oranges. And I'm just brushing this on again at this stage of the painting, I'm really not super concerned with my brushstrokes, although I am starting to think about the direction of the fur. And so that's really the only thing that's guiding the way that I laid out my brush strokes is just thinking about what direction is the for laying. And so I'm trying to just stay consistent with that. And again, because I know that I have more layers to add onto the fur, I just want to make sure that I'm not applying this paint to thickly. I'm still adding it on top of another layer of wet paint that's very thin. So I can go just a little bit thicker with this layer, but it really does not take much because adding these other colors, again, very similar in value, but a little bit different in terms of the chroma or the saturation. I can really get a lot done with very little paints in this stage. And as I said before, I over-exaggerate it. Some of the reds that I see around the features in the face of this cats. And I really can't just leave that as it is and be done with that. I have to continue to develop those areas as well. And so that's what I'm going to do now, mixing up more of a red, violet, adding some white to it. And right now what I want to get is a red tone that is also just a little bit more muted. So I'm going to add some yellow. I'll probably have to shift this around a little bit before I get to the color that's really going to work for this. And the way that I think about color when I'm mixing for a painting. Again, I'm really not trying to look at my photo reference and match every color that I see. I'm really trying to think about how I want color to vibrate and how I want all the colors within the portrait to relate to one another. So I like to think about color in terms of relationships rather than absolutes. You know, this is the right color that matches the photo and this is the wrong color. So as long as I have the relative value pretty accurate, I can really not worry about my color too much. And again, I'm following a very general color scheme here where especially within the for, i use that split complementary color scheme between the violent in the yellow and the oranges. And then in the areas that have a little bit more red, I can really exaggerate these As long as I'm staying pretty consistent with the value ranges. And then as I add more of the accurate colors for those areas, just a little bit of that red is going to show through and it's just going to add a really nice sense of vibrance and livelihood to the portraits. So you can see that this is just a very subtle, subdued, muted red. There's a little bit of red in there. The mix tilts a little bit toward read, but I have a lot of white in there. I also added some yellow and when I initially started that mixture, it was more of a red violet. So there's also just a little bit of blue in there as well. And this is where I'm going to start looking at the portrait and seeing some of the areas that I can interpret as being a little bit red. So anything close to other red areas will work. And then I'm looking for opportunities just to kind of push that color in there. Again in the end, that's just going to show through in a really nice, subtle way. So I added some pink up here into the ear and it's just way too much. So what I'm gonna do is just wipe off my brush into my paper towel and then it just kind of pick some of that backup because it was just a little bit much for that area. There we go. Alright. 10. Muted / Natural Colors - Pt. 2: And now I want to continue working to develop the coloration around the facial features of this portrait. And so what I'm going to do is I'm just going to sort of recycle some of these piles. So I took those red mixes, push them all into one pile, and then I can work from this. So it's a nice starting point. I really don't like to let any paint go to waste. And so if I'm moving on to another stage in the painting and I still have a lot of paint on my palette, some previous mix, mixtures. I will basically just try to find a way to reuse those. And again, that's just kind of how I personally think about color in terms of just its temperature and its value. And I don't really try to worry too much about having accurate color as long as the value is correct and it's leaning in the right direction color wise, then that's a really fun and relaxing way to paint. And I really encourage you to give it a try because I do think that we tend to be a little bit literal when it comes to mixing color. And so I really encourage you to approach color with a mindset of experimentation. And if you do feel like you're struggling with color, I would definitely encourage you to take a color theory course here on skill share. And I actually have several courses on color that focus on things like temperature, using a limited palette and just being a little bit more subjective in the way that you think about color so that you don't have to worry about it so much. So here I'm mixing up some nice almost pastel pinks. And again, as I add white into these mixtures and bring the value up, I'm adding a little bit of yellow each time, just so it doesn't end up looking washed out. And now I get to really start thinking about building up the nuance and the lighter areas of the cat. Where again, I'm thinking about the shadows as being kind of a cool Violet's. And I'm thinking about the light areas as being a nice, warm yellow or orange. And so we not only have contrast in terms of the absolute value our mixtures, but we also have a nice contrast in our split complementary color scheme. And up to this point, I was really to using the same paintbrush that I used even for my initial block in and what I use to tone my canvas, which was a nice bristle, a flat brush. But now I'm going to switch over to a brush that still has fairly coarse Brussels, but it's a nice long Filburn brush. This is going to help me to start building up more softness and the for, and it will allow me to layer, might paint much more easily. I find that if I am painting. The alla prima technique where I'm layering wet paint on top of what paints. The brush that I use is really going to be decided by the phase of the painting that I'm in. So as I move through the painting process, I want my brushes to become gradually softer as I go. So even though the bristles on this brush are still course, they're actually the same kind of bristles as with that initial bristle flat brush. The bristles themselves are longer and then the shape of the brush is more round. And so this helps to create a little bit more softness in the application of the paints. Then I was able to get with that flat bristle brush. And so here you can see that I can start to very gently add some of these lighter values, these nice light, warm values on top of the already what paints. And keeping in line with what I said before, I really do not do a lot of cleaning of my brush during the painting process. Now the exception to that, and you'll see this a little bit later in this demonstration, is if I do have to go back into an area that is very dark and value, but I already have been using the brush to apply mixtures with white. That's the only time during the painting process that I will actually thoroughly clean out the bristles of my brush in order to continue painting. Because again, in alla prima painting, white is something that we want to keep completely out of our darkest areas because it is very contaminating and it's very difficult to get rid of it once it's there. So if I am painting and I'm working on a really dark area, and so I have a lot of dark paints in my bristles, but I need to move into a lighter area. All I really need to do is wipe off that brush if it has a lot of excess paints. And then I can easily just transition into my lighter values that have some white Mixin to them. But it's just not true going the other way. So again, if I am working on a light area like I am right now, but then suddenly I realize that there's something I neglected in one of the darker areas of the painting. I really do have to actually wash off that brush or use a completely different brush. Because even if there's just the tiniest amount of white on your Brussels is going to contaminate your darkest values. And here you can see I'm doing a little bit of mixing on the fly. I have started to incorporate a little bit of remixing into my painting process. But by no means do I feel like I have to stick with those pre-mixed piles? If I need to shift them one way or another, I will just freely do that as I go. And I'm starting to think a lot more about the direction that the for is laying on the Katz. And I am moving my brush in coordination with the way that I perceive the for to be Leng because this adds a little bit more of a realistic texture and it also gives a little bit more sense of form. Along with having your values accurate. And I'm going to speed up this portion of the painting process just a little bit. I want you to be able to see what I'm doing overall. And I think that when you watch this in real time, it's not very apparent some of the changes that I'm making, but really the overall essence of what I'm doing here is I'm softening things up. A lot of times when I have my brush against the canvas, against the painting, I'm really not applying a lot more paints as much as I am just softening up a few areas, especially around the edges of the cat's face. So the cat's face meets the negative space or the background. I am trying to use the bristles of my brush just to soften up those areas so that I don't have such a hard edge between the cats and the background. And I think that that's really important when you're painting something like for keep everything quite soft. We don't need to have a contour line separating our background from the for our cats here. So again, you don't see a lot of huge sweeping changes right here. It's mostly just about softening things up and making sure that these are starting to work. Again, I'm not going to though over blend. I don't want everything to be perfectly smooth and transition. I do want to maintain some sense of texture where it really counts. And the areas that I really want to maintain a nice sense of texture is going to mostly be in the areas receiving more lights. Now I've slowed this back down because this part I think is pretty important to understand. This at this point is the lightest value that I have applied to this portrait. And this is going to help this portrait really feel like it's starting to come together and starting to feel like there's a nice sense of form created by that contrast of this lightest value between all of the other values that we're building on top of. So I'm still using that same brush that has long bristles. And it is the Hilbert shaped brush. Using this just to start applying this lightest value, which again is not going to be even close to straight whites. It's more of a muted yellow, I would say. Although it's a bit hard to describe this color because it is quite light in value. I can see notes of red and yellow in there. So I suppose ultimately this is just a nice muted orange. And again, I'm not worried about the fact that the shape of the eye isn't quite there. Because for me that is something that I can easily remedy when I actually get to the point of this portrait when I'm looking at the eye. And again, I would rather have all of my fir in place and then be able to take that extra time in. Carrots are really focus on the eye. The shape and the colors of the eye than to spend a lot of time working on the eyes only to realize later that maybe my fir is kind of encroaching into that area. And so the eyes need to change shape or they need to be bigger or smaller or really anything. I think that those features are a little bit easier to not only judge, but also correct later in the painting stage. And I need to be really careful in this area because a, of course I do have some white paints on my Brussels. So I need to be careful not to go into the darkest shadow areas. But one thing that I need to do is create a more natural transition in value in this area where the light and the shadow form is meeting. Because again, this is an animal and is covered in for the for is very soft. So I don't want any big shifts between the values except where it really counts, which is just in the eyes, the nose, and the mouth. And then I'm layering the slightest value right here to the shoulder area of the cat also to bring out the light. And I think that at this point you can really see a very important transition taking place where we're really creating that nice sense of form here. And it no longer looks quite so scary. It still may be a little bit unnerving to look at just because the eyes are not finished. But I think that you really can start to see this cat beginning to peek through these base layers that we're building upon. And at this point, I think that you can really begin to appreciate the importance of those base layers and creating a very nice sense of color vibration within a portrait like this where we have a subject that maybe at first glance seems a little bit monochromatic and not very interesting in terms of color, but by adding those really vibrant layers of color and then building the more subtle nuanced color on top, we are getting these really nice subtle interactions that just give a really nice sense of nuanced color to the portrait. And I also think it's just a more fun way to think about color. So here I'm just continuing to add some of these lighter values. And again, my brushstrokes really have more to do with the direction of the firm than anything else. So I'm definitely not going to at any point be painting individual hairs on this cats. But we're still going to get a really nice illusion of actual For just by moving our brush in the direction that we can see that the for is lying. And so this is where you want to really start to maybe analyze your photo reference a little bit more so that you can stay true to that directionality of the fur because that really helps the overall texture without ever at any point going into too much detail or using a little teeny tiny brush to try to paint individual hairs. And we're really going to use the same technique to add the whiskers in the end. So I think it's good just to start thinking about the direction. And not so much every little detail that you can pick out from your phone or reference. 11. Softening & Form Refinements - Pt. 1: All right, so this portrait is really coming along and I hope that you can start to see that there is a method behind the madness of those initial layers that are too bright to dark, too weird. But now you can start to see everything working together and interacting in a really nice subtle way. Now I've switched brushes again. This is also a Philbrick brush. And in this stage, I would say that the shape of the brush is less important than the texture of the bristles. So this is a nice synthetic brush with very soft, flexible bristles. So whether this was a Hilbert shape or a flat shape, it really doesn't matter. What I am primarily doing here is just kind of going in and being a little bit analytical about texture, at least initially right here. And again, I want to soften this edge between the background and the contour of the cat, because I really don't want a sharp contour here. But at the same time, there really isn't going to be the same gradual gradation between values that we see elsewhere on the cat within the soft for there is more of a stark contrast there. I just don't want it to feel too hard or too rough. So at first I used a brush with no paint on it whatsoever just to try to soften up that edge. And then I added some of the dark mixture of that blue violet Just to add a little bit more thick paint to the background so that it's not quite as transparent as it was before. And then I can also go back into the shadow area. And one tricky thing about this is going to be the fact that there is some white in the shadows now. So I'm not going to be able to achieve as dark a value as I was able to get in the background. It was really important for me to do the background first because I didn't want any white in the background whatsoever. So now I can feel free to move into the shadow areas and add a little bit more dark paints. And they don't have to worry about the fact that it's just not going to be able to be nearly as dark as the background, because this is actually on the white cats. And I'm going to spend quite a bit of time really refining the mouth area. This is an area where I really want a nice strong sense of form. And so in experimenting with value in this area, I do tend to go a little bit back and forth. So this is an area that I we'll be a little bit more finicky about as I just tried to experiment with that right balance between the darks and the lights. And then I also want to really soften the fur around the face so that I have a nice soft, subtle shift between the form of the face which is more in the lights, and then the neck area that's more in the shadow. And here again, you can see that I am not very often reloading my brush with more paints as much as I am moving around the paint that's already on the canvas. This is another benefit of painting, alla prima. Is that a lot of times you'll have enough paint on your canvas already. And while it's wet, you can just use your brush to manipulate it and move it around a little bit. Again, I'm not really doing much in the way of very refined blending. That's just not really my personal style. I really like to have a lot of visible brushstrokes in the end of the painting, I like to add quite a bit of impasto, which basically just means that I'm adding a lot of nice thick paint to give some texture. And I especially like to do that in the areas that are receiving more lights. But I know that some people really just enjoy the process of blending paints together and creating really nice soothing, soft, smooth transitions. The one thing that I would say about that is that because it is so enjoyable and almost mesmerizing that it's really easy to overdo it and to take away some of the texture that you actually might need to create a more realistic sense in your paintings. So just be aware. You might be a person who really loves blending, especially with oil paints. I know that I've heard from some students that they primarily chose to focus on oil paints because they love blending so much. And it's so easy to blend with oil paint because it stays malleable for so long. So if you are one of those people and you know, if you are or not, I would just say just to be cautious of how much you're blending and to not let yourself kinda give into the pleasure of actually doing the blending to the point that it sacrifices a sense of texture within your painting. And don't be afraid to leave really nice, bold, crazy brushstrokes that when you look at them up close, they look a little bit weird. But as I say in most of my classes, it's really important to actually take a step back or ten feet back from your painting and look at it from a distance and look at how it comes together. Because when we have our noses up against the painting and we're in the throes of the process. It can be easy to see everything as an imperfection or a mistake or something that didn't go the way that you planned. And so it's really important to take a step back and see the big picture or even take a complete break from painting if you start feeling frustrated because the process should be enjoyable for you the whole way through. And when I say enjoyable, ie, basically mean that you are at a point where you have put in the practice and you know that the process is going to come together and you can sort of trust in that process and not worry about every little stroke that you make during the process. Because in painting, it really is about building something. And I often like to compare it to building a house. Where when we start building a house and we're putting down the foundation, it doesn't look like the final House, and yet it's extremely important to the structure of the house to have a nice solid foundation. So I do think of those initial base layers, the block in and then that initial. Layer of color, whether it's, you know, exaggerating toward being to vibrance or exaggerated toward being too muted. That is really the bones of your painting that you're building off of. And so trust in that process and don't worry about the fact that it doesn't look quite right at first. Because as you start to build the layers of your painting, you're going to see that it does come together. It's kind of like a puzzle or a recipe, or like I said before, a house where the beginning stages aren't necessarily readily obvious indication of what the final result is going to be. So now I'm starting to add a little bit more of these light values. And with the softer brush, I can create a little bit more of a soft texture, especially in the areas on the body. I might want to maintain more texture in the face because first of all, there's more form in the face. We have the nose, we have the eyes, we have the mouth. There's just a lot more form that we want to create a nice three-dimensional sense. And so we can maybe played down the rest that is a little bit less important, less of the focal point and make it a little bit more smooth just so it doesn't accidentally become too much of a focal point by having too much texture. So we can even over-exaggerate some of the textures that we see in the face and then really tone down some of the textures elsewhere so that it doesn't become too distracting. And that's just really important in terms of developing a nice focal points and not having your whole painting BIA focal points. One thing that took me a long time to really understand, and some of the criticism that I got about my paintings when I first started out was that people were saying that there was nowhere for their eyes to rest and I really couldn't wrap my head around what that meant. And I think that maybe sometimes one of the more difficult things about learning to paint is the artists tend to speak in terms like that, where it's a little bit poetic, a place for the eyes to rest. What does that mean? Well, basically what that means is that in addition to having a really nice focal point where maybe we have some more hard edges. Maybe it feels a little bit more CRISPR, a little bit more vibrant. We need to have a balance between that and then other areas of the painting that are much softer, more mutated, a little bit more subdued and subtle. So that is basically what that term means to have areas in the painting where the eyes can rest so that the viewers eyes aren't just darting all around the painting because there's so much information in there, there's so much texture, there's so much vibrant color. And so I think that one way to achieve that is to be able to understand what your focal point is. And then in other areas of the painting, make an intentional effort to make those areas a little softer, more subdued, and not so busy. And so one way to achieve that is by having a softer texture. Another way would be to have less contrast between your values or less chroma in your color. Basically, you just want to make some areas of your painting a little bit less visually interesting so that more of the viewers attention can be directed to your focal points. Another thing that I want to point out here is that as I build my values from dark to light, I am covering less and less surface area as I move into my lighter values. That helps me to achieve a really nice gradation between the values as I build up from the dark to the light. So you can see that the areas that I apply, the lightest values two, are becoming increasingly smaller if those light values just covered up all of the other values in place during the previous layers, then we would have a painting that looked flats. And this helps with that three-dimensional effects. 12. Softening & Form Refinements - Pt. 2: I'm now going to switch brushes once again, I'm still going to use a brush that has very soft bristles, but this one is just a little bit smaller, is a flat shape. And again, the shape is less important than the texture of the bristles and the size of the brush. And I'm starting out here just doing a little bit more softening up of a few areas. So I actually don't have any paints at all on this brush right now. I'm just looking around for areas that maybe are a little bit too harsh at this time, that needs to be softened up just a little bit. And now I'm grabbing just a little bit of paints. I'm going to spend some time working right here around the mouth of this cat because this is an area that I want to really bring about a lot of form. And this can be a little bit tricky. And one thing that I know the I am struggling with in this painting is just the texture of this area where the whiskers are coming out. And if you look closely at the photo, which by the way, the photo references for this course are all going to be in the project section of the course so you can access those. And then you won't be limited to just that tiny picture that I have down in the corner here. But if you look close, you can see that there's a nice pattern of markings where the whiskers come out of the cats. And I'm struggling a little bit with how detailed I want to be with those. Ultimately, I'm going to decide not to place much emphasis on that at all. And when I place the whiskers in, which is going to be the last thing that I do in this painting. Then that area will kind of come together all on its own. Right now I think that I am just thinking a little bit too much about those little markings. And now I'm also trying to add a little bit of that light value, again to this area of the face that's getting just a little bit more lights, but trying to keep it very soft. I don't want any big shifts in value in this area because this portion of the face is fairly rounded. I think it really helps when working on any portrait, whether it's an animal portrait or a human portrait, to try to mentally separate yourself from the subject matter. And what I mean by that is that it can be very helpful to stop thinking about what you're painting as a literal face and just think of it as patterns of value. And that is what is going to help you create a nice sense of form in a face without making it look too harsh. A big challenge that most of us have is that we have a tendency to interpret value I'm faces as lines. So we see a dark value on a phase that maybe is a cast shadow. For example, that shaped, that forms the ridge of the nose. When a head is facing three-quarters view, you get a little bit of a shadow. And we tend to interpret that as a line because a lot of us grew up drawing and thinking very much in terms of linear markings. But in painting it's important to see things as shape and value. So a big thing that we need to be wary of is that we're not overdoing it with our values where those form shapes come into play. Those values tend to be actually much lighter and much more subtle than what we would interpret them as in terms of being a line or a contour. Another good example of what I mean by that is the area around the eyes that creates that contour of the eye. We tend to interpret the eye as almost having an outline to it. But if you really look close up at an eye, you can see that the eyelids overhang the I am, there's just a really nice form. And so what we interpret as a line is actually a form shadow between the lid of the eye and the eyeball. And also when it comes to eyes, and you'll actually see this if you look at the eyes right now, even though I have not done much to them, since I did the under painting or the impermanence rural layer, I've already put in a nice shadow and light pattern in both of the eyes. So where are the upper eyelid hangs over the eye, it casts a shadow on the eyeball. And so almost always in most lighting circumstances that we encounter, there's going to be a subtle casts a shadow on the top portion of the eyeball. And then the whole eyelid area around the eye creates a lot of contrast that can be easily mistaken as a line. But we really need to start thinking about these areas as value shapes instead of lines. And that will help us to create a nicer, more realistic sense of form as way paints. That's another big reason why you won't see me very often using any kind of pencil to draw in my painting. Even when I'm getting started because I like to just start thinking about painting. And I think of painting as being something quite different from drawing. Whereas drawing we use a lot of lines and we interpret contours. When we're painting, we should really think more about shape. And the great benefit of using paint brushes and especially using larger paint brushes, is that we're not going to be painting lines. We are always painting a shape because the brushes are more abroad than a pencil would be. And I start thinking about painting even when I am sketching. So even if I'm sketching with a pencil or a pen, the reason that I sketch by scribbling in values is because that helps me get into the mindset of thinking about value shapes rather than lines. And so I think it's really good if you want to really start thinking like a painter, start thinking about shapes instead of lines, and start noticing those subtle value shifts. A lot of the practice that goes into painting, of course, is putting in your brush mileage. But you actually can do a lot of mental work even when you're not physically painting, just by taking the time to notice how form in the real world is created. It's always a pattern of light and shadow. And so the more you start to notice that in your everyday surroundings, the easier it's going to be to interpret that when you're painting. So you can see here I'm back working at the form of this mouth. It's a little bit tricky right here because the corner of the mouth that curls up over on the left side is much darker in value, then the portion underneath. So what I need to do is have a very subtle value shift their right now it's just a little bit too much contrast. And so I really need to soften that up. And yeah, I remember when I was painting this, I was really struggling with that because again, it's really easy to think about these forms in terms of being Lanier. So I think that that's something that you just constantly have to remind yourself of and be aware of. Because we do tend to put more contrast into areas like that then actually exist. So right now I'm counterbalancing that by adding more dark value to the corner of the mouth. But what I really need to do is just soften up the value underneath. And I'll figure that out in just a couple of minutes here. When you're in the process of painting, you don't always know exactly the right next step. And so a lot of times you will find yourself going back and forth a little bit, of course, we don't want to do that too much, especially when we're painting with an alla prima technique because we can tend to muddy up our colors. But a little bit of back and forth is something that's going to happen in. So that's why it's really good to be mindful of how much paint your applying. Because if I had a really thick application of paints at this stage in the painting process, then that would make it very difficult to adjust these areas back and forth. So now I'm adding just a little bit more value here in order to help create that form. And this is a portion of the painting where I'm not paying attention to color at all. Once again, of course, it helps that the mixtures that I have on my palette right now are already quite muted. And so I'm not putting anything too crazy in terms of color into the portrait at this point. But if I need to have a darker value, I'm just going to grab from that blue violet pile that I have there at the bottom. And if I need to lighten it, then I'm just going to add white or yellow. So right now, I'm not thinking much at all about color. It's all about value in this area. And so now I'm finally starting to figure out that some of this just needs to be softened up a little bit. I need just a little bit less contrast than what I have right now so that this form can come together. And now I'm going to spend some time just softening up some of the lighter areas on the face. And I'm also going to notice right here that there was just a little bit too much of a value contrast. And so I'm going to add a little bit more of a light value on top of that. And you can see that even though I'm using a very light value off of my palette because I'm placing it on top of wet paint that was a little bit darker in value. I still have a little bit of a value, different differentiation between those areas, so it's not completely flat. And again, that's just another huge advantage of an ala prima technique because I could apply the same color for my palette to two different areas. But depending on what is beneath those two areas in terms of what paints, they could turn out looking quite different from each other. Because those layers are always going to intermingle and impact one another. And now I'm just softening up a few other areas. Again, I'm looking at the direction of the fur and manipulating the wet paint that's already on the painting to reflect that directionality of the firm. And also starting to think too about the bone structure, especially in the face of the cat because that's really going to impact where my lightest values fall. So no huge changes right here, just kinda softening things up and doing a few small refinements. 13. Softening & Form Refinements - Pt. 3: And now I need to make just a few final shifts and refinements within the for. And then we will be finished with the for and we'll be able to move on to the eyes and then the whiskers. So one thing that I realized when I compared my painting in this stage to my photo reference, I realized that I had flattened to some areas behind the cat's face in the neck area. So I need to bring back some of those shadows. And this of course, is not ideal, but you know, not every situation is ideal. And try as we might sometimes we do end up going a little bit overboard with our lights and we have to bring back some of our darks. So fortunately, I don't have a lot of thick paint in this area and I do try to keep my shadow areas a little bit thinner in terms of the paint application. And then I add more buildup in the lightest areas of my painting. So even though there is a little bit of white here in the shadow area, it's pretty easy to go in with some dark and add a little bit of definition back into these forms shadows, we definitely won't be able to achieve a really dark value, but fortunately, we really don't need to. We just need to bring back some of these form shadows to give a little bit more definition to this portion of the cats. And because we already have some white in these shadow areas, I don't really need to worry about mixing this up to be particular values because I can just mix up a dark value and when I place it on top of some of that wet paint that has white in it. It's automatically going to shift the value a little bit darker, but it's not going to go all the way dark. It's going to combine with those lighter values to get something in the middle. And now I'm working a little bit more on this muzzle. And I'll be able to get this nice and softened up here. So I'm finding that I need just a little bit of darker value down toward the bottom of the muzzle, closer to the opening of the mouth. And then I can also add a little bit more definition to the center part of the mouth and not to the lower part of the muzzle. And that's going to help soften that area up just by contrast with those darker areas. So here I'm coming in with just a little bit more of a shadow value that isn't too dark. It is a nice value shift between the lighter portions of the muzzle And then the parts of the mouth that are folding under and getting a little bit more of that form shadow. And now I'm going in pretty boldly with this dark value just in a few select areas. So inside the nostril there where we have a deeper recess, I added just a little bit and then just one little swatch at the corner of the mouth that is curling upwards. And now I'm just adding a little bit of darker value into the background. And part of this is to add a little bit more depth to the background. And then part of it is also just to help shift the form of the cat. And you can see gradually over the course of this painting, I've made some corrections to the initial under painting that I did where some of my block in wasn't completely accurate. But again, one thing that I really love about painting is that you really can shift things forward and backward and make little adjustments. So even if your initial under painting isn't completely perfect, as you start to analyze that in your painting is coming along. You can make those shifts pretty easily. So here I'm just experimenting a little bit more with those darker markings where the whiskers are protruding from the muzzle. And just trying to see what I like. And if I decide that these markings are a little bit too much, I can just soften those up with my brush. I don't even need to add any more paints to that area. But really, what I'm going to find is that I don't need to worry too much about those little markings because when I add those whiskers and the final portion of this painting, it's really going to bring that part to life without me having to work too hard at it. I think sometimes when we're working on the painting and we're leaving some details out because we need to reserve them for last, we can tend to overthink those areas just a little bit. So here I'm going in with an even lighter value of basically just taken some whites and added it to that mixture, which was already my lightest value. And you can see here too that where I'm applying the slightest value is a much smaller surface area. Then where it initially was applied, where the previous lightest layer was. Because I need to have that gradual buildup of those values. So I don't want to completely cover up the lighter values that I applied before. And so I'm only applying the lightest values to the areas that are getting the absolute most lights. And so as we progress through the painting, those areas are just going to naturally become smaller and smaller. And right now I want to zoom in just a little bit because I want you to notice one area here at the top of the cat's head where I just recently applied this very light value. But you can see that I let some of that previous lighter value to remain at the very top portion of the head. And I did this because I again want to soften up that perceived contour that separates the cat's head from that dark background. I don't want just the lightest value that I apply to be in stark contrast with that dark value. And so adding a little bit of lighter value, but allowing some of the previous value, even though it's not very dark. Allowing that to show gives a really nice sense of a soft, rounded form that is receding into the background. And it's a nice balance between having way too much contrast. There. Look too harsh and having too much of a value gradation there, which would make it look artificially rounded. And you can also see that same effect on the side of the face. So now I'm just working a little bit on the nodes. And this is another area, especially in PET portraits, that a lot of times we're used to drawing a little triangle to represent a cat's nose. But what we really want to notice is that it's a much more gradual shift between that pink nose and where the first starts. So we don't want anything that resembles a line there, so we don't want too much contrast. And so what I'm trying to do here is to create a value that leans a little bit toward read, but it still is quite neutral. It has a lot of yellow and also blue mixed in there. And I want that value to roughly be the same between the top portion of that pink nose and then right where that firm meets the nose and it's just a little bit darker than most of the white fur. So we get a much more gradual and more natural shift in that area. And that's really important when it comes to noses. I think that when it comes to animals, we, we have a tendency to revert back to the symbolic versions that we have in our heads. And so we tend to think of a cat is having that triangular knows and then that cute little happy curled up face. And while that is roughly true and it's a good representation of a cat, we really need to try to free ourselves from that mental image in order to paint realistically. Because in order to paint realistically, we can't really referred to the symbolic images that are ingrained in our minds. We really need to employee the power of observation and noticing the value shifts and noticing the color shifts. And just working with that and not thinking too subjectively about the subject matter at hand. Alright, so I think that the for is now in a good place. The next thing that I'm going to work on is going to be the eyes and we will get those done. And it's a very interesting process. Iss, of course, are going to be really the focal feature of this portrait as typically is the case, whether it's an animal or a human. And I just loved painting eyes because there's so many interesting color shifts in there and it really is going to bring this portrait to live. So I'm going to clear off a space here. So I have lots of mixing room for the eyes. And let's go ahead and get started on that. 14. Eyes: All right, so we have the for in a good place and we are ready to start working on the eyes. And these eyes are just so beautiful. The green is such a nice contrast to the rest of the painting, which in the photograph looks a little bit monochromatic. It really looks quite black and white with just a few splashes of pink in there. And the eyes are really going to bring this to life. It can be really difficult to judge your painting accurately when there are very important segments of the painting that are left undone. And again, I think that this is why a lot of people will choose to do the eyes first and foremost. And again, that is a choice that you have the freedom to make. And I just like to do the eyes a little bit later in the process because I want to be able to make any refinements to this area and not have to come back to it later. So it's easier for me to judge whether the shape and the size of the eyes are accurate if I have everything else in place. And I can judge my painting more accurately and more objectively overall if I stand back from it right now and a squint my eyes so that it blurs a little bit. And then the eyes being unfinished becomes just a little bit less distracting. Alright, so you can see here that I am mixing up some greens for the eyes. And I do want to talk about this because when I start painting the eyes, I'm going to want to zoom in so that you can see what my brushes doing a little bit better. So here I am mixing up some greens. And what I did was I took my fellow green and right off the bat, I added a little bit of red in there to neutralize it just a little bit. But honestly a lot of these greens that I'm mixing right here, they are just to green. I might use some of them, especially in the upper part of the eye where it's a little bit darker in value. And so the actual color that I mixed isn't going to matter so much. But actually most of these I's are going to have a lot of oranges in them. And so that's what I'm mixing down here and I really hope that you guys have had a chance to look at the attachment that I put in the project section of this course so that you can really get a good sense of how much color variation is in these eyes. We would typically describe these eyes as being green. But if you look closely, you can see that that's not entirely accurate. To get that nice jeweled look in the eyes, we really need to pay attention to the nuances of color we can observe in the eyes because almost never are a set of, i's going to be all one color. Even blue eyes are going to have speckles of orange and gold in them. And that really makes eyes very intriguing and fun to paint. So you can see I have an orange that leans a little bit more red. Then I have kind of a muted yellow, so it has a little bit of red in it and even a little bit of blue. And then I have more of a neutral color here that I would describe as being a warm, neutral. But really it's kind of just a muted orange, I would say. And I'm just shifting these around. Adding a little bit of value shift to them. And again, as I add more white, I'm typically adding more yellow. And then what I'm going to do is add just a little bit more red into this one. And then I'm actually going to use some of this mixture to combine with the lightest value of the green in that top row that I mix. So that I'll have a nice neutralized green and that green will actually become very important in the process. Some of those other greens, especially in the middle, between the darkest and then the lightest. Those are just going to have way too much chroma in them and I won't really end up using them much owl, but this green that I just mixed kind of in the middle between those two rows is going to be very important. Alright, so now I want to zoom into these eyes a little bit so that you can see some of the nuances of what I'm doing with my brush here. So right now what I'm going to do is start refining the overall shape of the ISO. I'm going back into a mix that's a little bit darker in value and it leans a little bit more toward the red so that I can start shifting some of this form around. And some of this too is just going to be moving in, manipulating the paint that's already on my painting, just to soften those edges because I had a pretty hard edge between the red that I had placed around the eye and then where the white fur began. So I softened that up just a little bit. And now I'm going in with a little bit more of a dark value that leans kind of reddish violet. And just like with the rest of the painting, when I get into the actual eyes, I'm going to start out with the darkest values and then work up to the lighter values. So where that form shadow is falling over the actual eye, I'm going to start with that darkest value of green that I mix. So it's just they load green and a little bit of red. So now you can see that the red that I placed around the AI really is going to help give a nice natural look. I'm adding just a little bit more dark value as much as I can to create more illusion of the fact that this top portion of the island is hanging over the eye and casting a little bit of a shadow. I don't need to make it too obvious because there's so much contrast between the white fur and then the top portion of the eyeball where it has a little bit of a cast shadow on it. So I can keep the for area quite soft. I just want to allow some of that red to peek through because it adds a lot of life to the portraits. So now I'm going into that very, very dark green and you can see I already have a very dark value there from the raw number that I applied during the imprimatur on and under painting phases. So I'm just going over that just to add a little bit of chroma, it's going to be very subtle. It's not going to be super obvious. And that's why I say that in that top portion of the eye where we have a little bit of a cast shadow, the value is much more important than the actual color because really not color is probably way to chromatic, but because it's so darken value, we don't really read it as being very chromatic. And then here I'm going to start to really refine this other I. And because the cat's head is turned and we're looking at the cat in a three-quarter portrait view. This i appears just a little bit smaller due to perspective and it's also going to be just a little bit darker. So I'm gonna go ahead and not be too careful at this stage with the eye itself. But I'm really more focused on refining the shape. And you can see that these little brushstrokes have already really helped to make that shape feel a little bit more natural. But we will add some lighter values in there so that this doesn't look black like this. And again, it's much easier to add lighter values on top of darker values than to go the other way around. And so I'm always going to kind of err on the side of being a little bit too dark with my values, because I can very easily shift it in the other direction value wise. And just the same as I built up the color in the for, I'm going to begin the base of these ai's using the less obvious colors. So I'm not going to go in right away with the greens. I'm actually going to start going in with the colors that are a little bit more orange or like a warm at Brown. And put those in and then I can layer my greens on top. And that will help the greens to stand out. But also let some of these orange and gold that speckles show through the green. One thing that I have not done in the eye area yet is to add the pupils. And I had to really think about this process because typically, I always say that we need to place our darkest values in and then place are lighter values around those darker values. And so we could definitely address the pupils that way. I could place the pupils and then just place these other colors around that area. However, what I think would tend to happen because this is such a small area, is that I would end up running the bristles of my brush into the pupils and moving that dark color around the eyes too much. So what I'm going to do is kind of get at least a base layer of the color of the eyes in. And then I can go in with some really dark coloration for the pupils. And to be quite honest, I'm going to just use that dark green again to do the pupils so I don't need to mix a true black or anything like that. I really just need a very dark value. And that green that has red in it is very dark. And so that's going to suffice for the pupils here. And so that's just going to be a very light touch that I add. And then because I have Much of the color already in place, then I have much less to worry about in terms of running my brush into that darker value and then accidentally moving it around the eyes a little bit too much. So now you can see that I'm adding some of these more muted greens. And again, these greens that I'm actually using for the eye are really a little bit closer to being a yellow, green. And the greens that I initially mixed in that top row, they were just way too chromatic for these. I's, this cat has eyes that are very much a light green, kind of a yellowish green. And so we get a really nice color vibration between those yellow greens and then these oranges that we can add in here. And I just want to make sure that I keep the value a little bit darker toward that top portion of the eyeball where we have that casts shadow. That's very important in order to give this a nice natural sense and to not make these eyes appear flat or cartoonish. And I really hope that you find yourself having a lot of fun with the coloration of eyes because it's not something that you're going to get wrong. I want to say as long as you again have the values in place and then you kind of roughly have a nice color balance between the color variations that you observe. You can really play around with. For example, how much orange or gold you add into the eyes versus how much of that true color as in a nice vivid green that you add in. And you can really do a lot of experimenting and seeing what kind of balance you like. And that's what I'm doing here. I've kind of shifted it a little more gold. And then I'm going to add a little bit more of a green and just kind of look and see how those colors vibrate off one another to create a really interesting effect. So here I've added the most vibrant greens so far in it. Maybe it looks like a bit much. But when I step back and really look at this as a whole, I feel like there is a really nice color vibration between that little speck of a more vivid green and the gold and orange in the other parts of the eye. So have fun with it and don't tie yourself too closely to your photo reference. And remember that you can create a really strong sense of vibrance and color interests, not by using the most vibrant, highly chromatic colors possible, but by creating a balance between contrasts of more muted colors. So you can see here that even though these colors are all very muted, they vibrate off one another and enhance one another. Now I'm going to go back into this really dark green, grabbing just a little bit more of that blue violet as well, and mixing it with that green and red. And now I'm going to place in the pupil, I'm going to use a very light touch here because I am placing this darker color on top of some lighter colors and that can be problematic. So I need to use a very light touch and a need to not be very finicky with this area. And if you place your pupils the way that I am after you've placed other colors and you don't like. The pupil shape that you've placed. I would encourage you maybe to not worry too much about that. Especially, for example, in this photo where we have a little bit of highlight on the eyes that happens to fall just right over the pupil. So that's really going to few skates that area just a little bit. So if it's not perfect, it's not going to be terribly noticeable. And now I'm just going to continue playing around a little bit with the color variations and the color shifts in these eyes until I get something that I find pleasing. But really these eyes aren't going to come completely to life until we start to add the highlights here. Just adding that little stroke of a lighter, yellowish-green really did a lot to help create the sense of form in the eyes. So the parts of this rounded eye, which of course and I, is a spherical shape. The parts that recede back into the head, of course, needs to be a little bit darker. And so as we move toward the center of the eyeball that's protruding the most, that's where we want to have some of our lighter values. Of course, we don't need to go overboard because just by nature of these colors, they have a lot of yellow in them, so they're already a little bit lighter in value. And I just added a little bit more red to my palette here because one thing that I realized is that in the upper left-hand corner of this i on the left, I need a little bit more of a dark value up there. So I use that read and mix that in with some green to create more of a warm gray. So I wouldn't necessarily described that color as being green. I actually have a leaning a little bit closer to the red side. And so I added just a little touch of that dark value. And you can really see a difference just with that one little change to the overall form that we've created in the eye. And now I'm adding just a little bit more red. And I also added a little bit more whites and there. And then I'm going to add that this is really kind of a nice warm gray or a muted brown. I would say that I am adding to that form shadow in this eye. And you can see that adding this is really helping to accentuate some of those muted greens that we already have in place. So little adjustments like that. And again, these colors are all very muted. None of these are bold, vibrant, pure colors. They're all a combination of either complementary colors like green and red. Or they are combinations of all the primary colors. So yellow and blue make green and then a little bit of red to neutralize that green. And this helps to create a really nice, subtle sense of vibrancy and these eyes, as those colors shifted around. And again, the value is really the most important aspect that we need to pay attention to. So now that we have all of the color and value in place on the, I, can begin to add the highlights. Now you'll notice that the highlight that a initially applied was extremely whites. And to create a nice glossy, transparent look for these eyes, we can't just go in with a really stark white, especially on this I where we have a more pronounced highlights. So I had laid down that really bright highlight and then I actually picked up some of that white with my brush and moved some of it into those darker values so that it was a little bit lighter. I did the same thing over on that right eye and I'm going to leave the right eye alone because we have again a more pronounced highlight in this left eye. And so on top of the initial value that I placed them, the highlight where I picked some of it backup, I added an even smaller little dab of it's not a pure white. There's definitely just a little bit of blue mixed into it just so that it has a little bit of chroma. But I placed just the smallest amount of that right on top of that underlying light value. And that really helps to create a really nice sense that this i is formed, that this I is catching a little bit more light than the other eye. And it makes it feel very three-dimensional. And I think that adding these highlights is just a great example of how just one very small touch, one small detail can make all the difference. Alright, so now I'm just softening up a little bit of the fur on the nose. Some of these values that don't need to be. So contrast the m just using my brush, I've wiped off all the paints and just going to soften up a couple of areas. So now we are really seeing that this cat is coming to life. And there's just a very few small details that we want to add. Of course, the whiskers we want to add. And then I'll probably make just a few small little adjustments that are going to be more in line with just shifting paints around like what I'm doing right here. But really for the most part, this portrait is just about finished. 15. Whiskers & Final Touches: All right, so we are nearing the end of this demonstration. There's just a few crucial details that this cat needs to really come to life. You can see that the eyes really did a lot. And the whiskers are going to do just as much. Now this is the first time throughout this process that I am adding a medium to any of my paints. I'm using just a little bit of my walnut oil here to help the paint move a little bit better. And especially when I do the whiskers. Because to do whiskers effectively, we really need are Paint to move freely and we don't want our paint to be too thick, so we don't really want it to be straight out of the tube. Although if you don't have any medium, what I would recommend is to add just a little bit of white to the bristles of your brush, but then actually wipe gently the brush onto a paper towel to remove some of the paint so you have just a little bit of white remaining in your bristles. Almost not enough to be perceptible. But remember, white is very powerful when it comes to oil painting. It's very contaminating. So even if you just have a little bit on your brush, it's going to make a mark. Right now. I am just softening up a few areas of the firm because once I add in the whiskers, I'm not going to want to make any more changes to the fore because many of the whiskers are going to be overlapping the fir. So I'm just trying to analyze portions of the fur that might need to be softened up a little bit or maybe there's some areas that need just a little bit more highlights then what is already there, but overall, it's actually looking pretty good. We all just have a tendency to over analyze our own work and be a little bit finicky. And that's okay. It's kind of in our nature. Just be mindful of our inherent nature to kind of overwork things and remember to take a step back and really look at your painting as a whole from a distance to see if there's any areas that maybe have a little bit too much contrast or maybe up close, you thought there was an issue, but then when you stand back, you might actually realize that there isn't and that you can just leave it alone. So for the most part, we have the first done and I'm going to show you a very effective way to create whiskers that are very natural-looking. I think that whiskers can create a lot of anxiety for people because we perceive those, again as being a line and we perceive it as being a very thin line and one that is perfectly formed. And that can be something that feels very difficult when working with paints. And you can see that I am using a very small brush to do this. This is actually a much smaller brush than I typically paint with. I actually had to go hunting down for it. And one thing I want to tell you about this brush is that it's not a perfectly formed a brush. This is kind of a cheapo brush I've had around for a long time. The bristles are a little bit splayed. And that is actually, I think. An advantage to this brush when doing whiskers. And that might seem a little bit counter-intuitive because again, we like to think of whiskers as being these perfect, very thin, very even forms. But that's just not the case. So what I've done is I've added a lot of well, I wouldn't say a lot, but I've added a good amount of my medium to the white paints to thin it down and help it to be a little bit easier to move. And I also want it to be thin enough that it's going to transfer from this little brush, which the bristles are very soft. And I want it to transfer very easily from the brush to the painting without me having to apply much pressure. And you can see that the way that I'm holding this brush toward the back end of the handle. And with an open palm is allowing me to apply the paint without much pressure because I don't want to have pressure when I'm doing this because that's going to make my lines thicker. So you can see that I'm using kind of a wispy motion. I'm moving my arm from my shoulder, not from my wrist. If you try to create lines like this, by flicking your wrist, you are going to end up with very uneven lines. And typically what I'm going to be doing for most of these whiskers is starting toward the base. So where the whisker attaches to the cat's head and then moving outward. And as I move outward, I'm going to lift up on the brush so that there's just a little bit less pressure and then we're going to get a better tapered end. But I want to say that even if you apply some paints for a few whiskers and you don't like them or maybe they're uneven. Don't worry about it because I'm going to show you how to adjust that and make your whiskers really natural. Because we actually don't want these lines to be perfectly even. We want a little bit of variation in them because the light is going to be hitting the whiskers in different spots, making them seem a little bit more obvious in some areas and then obfuscating some areas. So don't worry about that at all, right. Now we're just going to gently put in the general placement of some of these whiskers. This is also where an adding some of the further it goes over the IRS. I don't want to completely cover up the air sign being pretty reserved in my application. And I'm also trying to be fairly reserved in the application of the whiskers because they don't want to go overboard. So you can see here that what I'm doing is I'm actually going back into these whiskers that I've applied and I'm softening them up just a little bit so that they merge a little bit more with the, for the cat. And we have a few areas where we're going to have lost edges. And then some areas again where the light is hitting the whiskers, especially the whiskers that are up a little bit higher, we're going to leave those ones just a little bit more obvious while letting the other ones toward the bottom get lost in the value that we have behind them. And so I hope that you can see that even if your initial application of these whiskers was not satisfactory to you, or maybe you went in a little bit too bold in some areas or you got a lot of unevenness that you didn't intend. That's okay because with oil paint, we can go back in and we can shift paints around and we can help that to merge and feel just a little bit more natural. And now that I have these whiskers in place, and not just the whiskers coming out of the muzzle, but also there's whiskers coming out from above the eyes and going off to the side. And it's really important again, just like when I talked about having a soft edge between the head of the cats in that dark background where I don't want it to be too stark. I also don't want my whiskers to appear too stark against that background. And so having just a minimal amount of that lighter paints on your brush and dragging it out into the background, letting that light paints somewhat merge in with the wet paint in the background is going to help that to feel a little bit more natural and a little bit softer. And at this point the painting really is done. I'm looking around just to see if there's any adjustments that I want to make. And I do want to do a little bit of work here on the nose. So I just went into my read and added a little bit of blue. But this is definitely a dark value that leans a little bit more red. And I'm just going to work a little bit more on the form of the nose just to help that feel a little bit more natural. And then once I have that done, I'm going to just go around with this small brush and just move around some of the paint's within the fur and around the whiskers, just to get a little bit more of a soft, natural feel to a few areas, but from the point of view of the camera, it may not be too obvious. And I will just speed up this portion of the painting because I think a greater speed, you can actually see that even though it looks like my hand is doing a lot of work, there aren't any big drastic changes that are going to take place at this stage of the painting. Some of the things that I'm doing here with this small brush is just shifting around some of the paint that's already there to add a little bit of texture. Because I don't want to apply more pay. I risk adding way too much contrast by going in with a lot more paint. But there's just a few areas where I want to emphasize the directionality of the fur and the way that it forms around the head of the ads. Very, very subtle. And I'll show you a close-up of the final result. And so you'll kinda see that especially around the eyes where I just used the small brush to shift some values and to add an impression of some linear lines in there without actually adding more pains. And I'm just softening things up and being a little bit finicky again, adding a little bit more red around the eyes. It's very subtle that adding a little bit of red around the eyes again, is going to create a really nice compliment too, those muted greens and to help those greens feel even more vibrant and lively. So I hope you really enjoyed this full length pet tutorial. And in the subsequent videos in this course, what I'm going to be doing is showing you some specific challenges that we encounter when painting PET portraits. But in general, this overall process is going to be very consistent throughout every painting. And you can apply these consistently in order to get reliable results with your pet portraits. 16. A Closer Look at Spanky: So let's take a look at our final painting here of spank. I've brought her outside. And just an FYI. If you bring your painting outside after working in the studio, you are going to see colors that you didn't even notice in your studio. That's just one of the amazing effects of natural sunlight. Because if you think about it, the sun is our main source of light. And so every color that we perceive is going to be in the light waves of natural light. So let me bring this in just a little bit closer so you can see some of the nuances, especially in the eyes. But I also want you just to notice some of those bright vivid colors that we first laid down and how they're just peeking through the fir so that the firm feels very chromatic and not grey. And then also noticed too like a lot of Bayes textures Here in the whiskers and the little flyaway hairs. Those were created with my small brush. Not by applying paint, but actually just by moving paint that was already on the canvas. Let's get that in focus here. So I hope that you can see that all of those alla prima layers, they really add up to a lot and it's really worth being very patient and committing yourself to seeing your painting all the way through. And you can see too, that this isn't really a refined, realistic painting in the sense that I have a lot of brush strokes that are still visible. And that's a quality of painting that I really like. It's very impressionistic and that's kind of my style. So with oil paint, you can really go either way. You can be even looser than this and have a lot of really bold, vivid brushstrokes. Or you can refine your brushstrokes even more. And it's really just a matter of finding your own personal preference and deciding how you like to paint, because the process is just as important as the final result. Alright, and now that we have Spain Qi Dian, I think that we're ready to move on to our next portrait. 17. Painting Markings & Color Variations: In the full length tutorial included in this course, we went into all of the details of painting, a PET portraits. And I emphasized painting based on value and being kind of expressive and having fun with your choice of color and just staying true to value. And that gets you a really long ways. Of course that folding tutorial was a cat that happened did not really have any markings, but we know that many domestic pets and animals do have a lot of markings. And that presents a challenge when we're painting according to value. So in this video, I want to go over some of the most crucial steps of making markings on your pet portrait while staying true to value and building up a nice, beautiful color. So as I painted this calico cat, which by the way, if you want to watch the full process of how I painted this cat, there is an overview video that will follow this video in the course. Now, because a calico cat, of course, has three distinct colorations within its markings, I chose to start out with a triadic color scheme. Now remember for the full length tutorial, I started out with a split complementary color scheme where I used Violet's, yellows and oranges. So in a triadic color scheme, we are using three colors that are evenly spaced around the color wheel. So I chose a dark, muted blue for all of my shadows and the dark markings. And orangeish red for the markings of course, that are a little bit more orange. And then for the white markings, I chose yellow. So this is just the under layer that will form the basis of all the coloration for this painting. Basically, when I'm painting alla prima, I really liked to play with the color of the base layers. And then as I apply more natural looking color on top of these base layers, they show through in really subtle ways and bring a lot of really interesting colour nuance to the painting. So I stayed true to that triadic color scheme to begin with. And now I am beginning to add some of the more natural colors. So what I really want to emphasize when painting markings is that we really still have to pay attention to color in this can be challenging. I'm going to be showing you in a little bit how this impacts certain colors, for example, white markings. Now, the highlights of this painting are going to all be in the face. And that means that our lightest values are going to be in the face. But you can see that this cat has some white fur on its body that we can see in the photo. And what we really want to do is we need to make sure that the value of that for on the body is not as light as the highlights on the face. So now you can see that I'm starting to add a little bit of a lighter value into the body of the firms, still staying with kind of a nice chromatic yellow color as I build my values in this painting. But I'm already starting to think about the fact that the white in this for, in the body will need to be a little bit darker in value. Then. Most of the white markings on the face. Another important thing to keep in mind when painting any kind of markings is that they're often not exactly some particular shape, meaning they sort of blend together and morph into one another. And so we went to stay true to those soft edges. And as we go, we will occasionally just allow our brush to merge colors together where they meet and intersect. Right now this painting still looks quite blocky and the markings are still pretty distinguished from one another. But you'll see in a second here that I begin to blend some of these markings together to create a softer edge between, for example, the oranges and the whites. And this creates a really nice soft effects, especially when we're painting for and here again, I'm going into that white fur on the body of the cat. And this value looks really light right now. But what I'll do after I place it in sort of a blocky fashion as I will go back in with a brush that has very little paints on it just to soften this up and pull some of these darks as you can see into the light areas. And this is going to help bring that value down while still giving us the impression that yes, this is white for it's just not receiving quite as much lights. And I wouldn't say keep that area very soft and not have a lot of contrast in it because of course, my focal point is in the face of the cat. And now you can see I'm going in with my long Filburn brush and beginning to soften up some of these markings. It can be a bit of a challenge when you're softening up markings between two areas that are pretty different in value from one another. So the black fur on the cat is a much darker value obviously than most of that orange fur. And so what I want to do is have very little paint on my brush when I worked on those areas. And just pulled those colors together without creating a hard line or pulling too much of one value area into the other value area and therefore changing the shape of the markings. And if you look closely at the photo reference, which by the way, all of the photo references used for this course are available for you to look at in the project section of this course. But you should be able to see in the photo that within the orange fur on the cat, you can see just some very subtle stripes. This is something that's really interesting and unique about Calico cats because they have these three different distinct colorations and markings on them. But almost always if you look in those orange markings on a calico cat, you'll see a little bit of stripes like they have a little bit of tabby cat in there somewhere. So what I did to address those stripes was I just used a darker orange in those areas, a little bit more of a red orange where the lighter areas in that orange marketing, I have more yellow mixed in and that creates a really nice, subtle stripe without making it look like lines or having too much contrast. Now i'm going around some of the dark markings that are in more of the light. And I'm going in with this kind of muted, I would say violet color. And just adding a little bit of this light value into the dark markings that are receiving more lights. And now I'm going to add some of the highlights to the face. And this is where you're really going to see a big difference between the white markings on the face and those white markings that are on the body because I've really pushed those white markings on the body back, maybe even more so than in the photo. Because I think that that area being so close to the edge of the composition that can feel a little bit distracting even if we had the values as light as they are in the photo reference. So feel free to make artistic choices like that based on how you want to attract the eye of your viewer. I really want the eye of the viewer to be focused on the face of the cat. And the body almost serves as a backdrop. So I'm really working to deemphasize that area. So now I'm just going to try to get the for finished up so I can move onto the eyes. So just try to keep everything very soft. There's not a lot of coloration in the ears, so I left those areas pretty soft and muted. And now I'm going to go in with my smallest brush and begin whispering in some of the flyaway hairs. There's not a lot of whiskers on this camera can see a few coming out on the rights, but I really don't see any over on the left. They think that they might just be pressed up against whatever this cat is laying on. So for the most part, I am using this small brush just to manipulate the paint that's already on the canvas. Every once in a while I'll load up some darker colors in areas that need to be defined just a little bit more. But a lot of the work that I'm going to do with this small brush will not include adding any additional paints to the bristles or to the painting at all. And it's just going to be about shifting around some of the paint that's already on the canvas, just to create a really nice soft effects between the different markings on the cat's face, especially. So just to kind of soften up those areas and add a little bit of nuance. Alright, so now we are going to get into the eyes. And this is an important part of this portrait because if you look at the photo, you can clearly see that the i on the left is not receiving nearly as much light as the I on the right. So there's more of a cast shadow over the entire i over on the left. And it's really important that we stay true to the values that we see and not get caught up in. Trying to make both eyes identical to one another. So I'm using the darkest green that I mixed to cover the iris of that left I entirely. And then over on the right I am going to add a little bit more nuance. I'm still going to use this kind of as a base color, but I'll be adding more shades of green that are lighter in value on top of this so that this I clearly looks like it is receiving more lights and the other eye is going to be in the shadows. And I'm not going to worry too much at this point about having the pupils exactly the right shape and size. I'll have to come in and adjust that because I think that that's really something that I don't want to be too precious about. I don't want to be too careful about it right now while I'm just trying to focus on color and value in the eyes because that's going to be really important. And the eyes for this cat are just not going to be quiet as nuanced as the eyes in the white cats. And that's mostly just because in reality they're really not as nuanced. The pupils are much larger and so there's less space for a lot of nuance of color within the Irises. So I am going to keep these eyes fairly simple and straightforward. And I also think that there's just so much interest within the face of the cat itself with its beautiful markings and the position that it's in that I think that that adds enough interest without me having to really do a lot of work within the eyes. I do realize that he looks a little bit angry right now, which honestly I think that when I paint cats, they always look angry at first. And it's really just going to be a matter of readjusting the shape of the eyes to get the eyes accurate. I can definitely see that the I over on the right is not at all an accurate shape. And that's something that I am in the habit of not letting that bother me at all until I get to the point of wanting to make those corrections by know that that is something that can really trip people up and they want that to be right, right off the bat. But as I've said before, one of my favorite aspects of painting and oils is that really, with some exceptions, you can make a lot of adjustments and corrections as you go. And I really like that because I feel like I can be freed up to just work on one thing and leave something else alone. That isn't quite right. And I can feel pretty confident that I'm going to be able to come back later and make the adjustments I need to help the painting come together. And I think that one of my biggest points of advice that I want to give students is that in oil painting, I think it's really important to commit to seeing your painting all the way through. Because at so many points during the painting process, it's very easy to feel discouraged or like you're spinning your wheels and you're not going to end up where you want to be. And I've mentioned before that I even still struggle with that when I'm painting because the way that I paint is something that's not just copying a photo, I really want to explore color and light and expression. And so the way that I paint really doesn't lend itself to looking perfect the whole way through. I'm not just applying the accurate colors from the get-go. And as I've explained before, that's really just because I like the interesting color nuances that I get, especially when doing alla prima techniques in oil painting by layering colors that don't quite seem like they would be mixed on a pallet in place if I was just copying the colors directly from a photo, I think that it makes it a little bit more interesting to have some interplay between the layers of the painting. But I know that that means that at the beginning my paintings look very strange and almost scary. And I know that depending on the day and my mood that can be more or less difficult to deal with. So I think that what I would really encourage you to do if you're trying these techniques is to commit yourself to seeing it the whole way through. Because my paintings don't quite look right until really the very end. And at this point, on a good day, I'm having a lot of fun with that and I enjoy the process. But I know that there are days where I wonder what the heck am I doing? And I kind of lose sight of the bigger picture. And I think too, that if you commit yourself to seeing your paintings all the way through, no matter how you feel about them during the process, you are really going to be amazed at how far you've come. And I know that before I started making videos, I would look at it, finished painting and not quite remember how I got there. So I also would encourage you, if you can, to set up a camera, even if it's just the camera on your phone. And watch yourself pains. You can create time-lapse videos where you see it all come together. I really like watching those of other people painting. It helps me to learn a lot about the big picture and how their mind works while they're painting. And also hearing someone talk about their process and why they do what they do really has helped me to learn and that's what I hope to pass on to my students just to give you some insight. Because with painting, yes, there are some general principles and techniques that we need to stay true to. That there's also a lot of room for interpretation and finding different ways to find a method of painting, a style of painting that really speaks to you and that you enjoy the process of doing. And I do hope that you'll give this a try because I think that it's really fun. And it's more of a relaxed way, especially in the approach to color if we can just focus on value. So now the final touches of this painting, of course, I'm adding the whiskers in with my small brush, just moving some of the paint around allowing some of the longer hairs and the firms who kinda fly away. And that's also going to help soften things up. And one thing that's really fun about painting cats is that their whiskers almost helped to frame their face even more. And I really enjoy that. I enjoy finding those lines and how they lead back to the most important features of the cats. So have fun with that. Don't worry too much about it. Just move your paints around and remember that if you put something down on an oil painting and you really don't like it. You can go back in with a brush that has no paint on it and just soften those areas up. So you can either make them completely disappear and then you can try again, or you can at least diminish their appearance enough where they shouldn't bother you anymore. And when you're painting an animal that has a lot of markings, just remember that value is essential. So dark markings that are in the light are going to be lighter in value than the dark markings that are in shadow. And likewise, light markings that are in the light are going to be much lighter in value, then the white markings that are not in the Light, so they're more in shadow. And so you might actually find that you need to mix almost a muted violet for those whites that are not getting as much light. And that's just a really good way to bring your pet portrait to lie of help it to feel a little bit more three-dimensional and true to form. And remember, if you want to watch the entire process of me painting this cat, there is a process overview in the next video. 18. Calico Cat Process Overview: So first things first. Okay. Hello. Ok. Hello. Yeah. Okay. Okay. D two this $0.666. Tell me more. I don't know. 19. A Closer Look at Milla: Let's take a close-up look at MLA. Here. I've brought me le outside into the natural sunlight so that we can really see all of the nuances. Hopefully I don't get my hand into the wet paint. But I hope that you can see especially down here where it stark. I have a lot of lost edges. I don't have a clear defining border between the dark side of the cat's face and then that dark background. And I think that that just adds a lot of nice mystery and depth and interests into a painting to allow some of those edges to become lost. And a lot of times Y I will do is I will lose the dark edges. But you could go the other way as well. It really depends on where the detail in your painting is going to be. So if you're going to have the detail of your painting and the lighter areas, then you might want to consider looking for dark areas where you can lose some edges. But if you are actually putting all your detail into the shadow and letting your lights be a little bit blown out. Then I think that you can achieve some really interesting lost edges in the lights as well. And so here, if I bring her just a little closer, you can see how we handle these markings and had them appear very natural even though we started out with those really bright vivid triadic primary colors for this painting. And it really came together nicely with just some of those peeking through in subtle ways to bring a lot of life in depth into this portrait. And you can see that as I spoke about in the video, some of the stripes in the orange fur here. Those are very subtle, so I didn't want to go overboard on those and bring those out too much. But you can see some variation in the oranges right there. Alright, so I have a visitor. Here's Hazel. Sorry, Hazel, I didn't pay you this time, maybe next time. Okay. 20. Changing the Background: When I do pet portrait commissions for people, it's not uncommon for them to ask me to make changes. And one of the most common changes that people requests for their pet is that they have a photo of their pets indoors, but that's not really how they see and remember their pets. They really remember the times outdoors when their pet was the happiest. And so one of the most common things that I do for my customers when I'm doing pet portrait commissions is giving them a nice outdoor background even if the photo was taken indoors. And if you think about this too much, it might seem a little bit difficult because the lighting is so different inside than it is outside. The biggest difference in the lighting situation is that inside we typically have an artificial light, which tends to be warmer in temperature. And outdoors. We have, of course, natural light from the sky and we also have more ambient light and reflected light in all of the shadows. And so we have to handle those things just a little bit differently. Now one thing that you'll notice right away, as I'm painting in a nice backdrop of green for this dog, is that I painted parts of the dog green. So the reason why I did that was because a lot of times, and especially with an animal or an object that is lighter in value, we will actually notice that there's some reflected light on the planes facing downwards. So the parts of the dog typically that are getting more shadow, they're going to get some reflected light from the grass and it's going to be a little bit green. And I really like playing with this because I think that it adds just a little bit more visual interest to the painting. And I encourage you to, if you have the chance, if you have any kind of white animal around you, whether it's, you know, a cat or a dog, or a duck or a chicken. Just pay attention to them when they're walking in the grass, you're going to see a little bit of a green ness to their underside that's facing the grass. And so I really like to add that into my portraits, even though just as with all of my other color schemes that I put into my pet portraits, it's going to be as subtle effects, but very effective. And you've noticed too that with my other pet portraits, I've used split complementary color scheme. I've used a triadic color scheme. This time, I'm really using an analogous color scheme because what I'm going to be doing is laying in all of my shadows with that green. And then because we're getting light from the sky, some skylight, I'm actually going to have a lot of cool blue in the highlights of this dog. And I realized that this, out of all of my pet portraits, This one might look just the most absurd at this point, but trust me, it's going to come together and it's going to look very beautiful. So basically. I'm going to treat the highlights of this dog as though they have just a little bit of blue in them. And as I worked through the painting and you'll see in the overview, I actually mix a little bit of blue, even into the more natural colors that I'm going to be laying on top of this initial block in just to give a nice cool effect to the highlights and the shadows are going to be a little bit warmer in temperature. So this is kind of the opposite of what we typically do. And especially with indoor portraits, were going to have more warmth in the highlights and the shadows are going to be cooler. But sometimes you'll notice outside that it's the reverse of that where we have cool light in the highlights and the shadows are a little bit warmer in temperature. So as soon as I get this dog blocked in with my greens and my blues. And of course, I'm really just paying attention to the value that I'm applying. And once I start applying them or natural colors on top of this, you're going to see how it all works together. Another note that I want to make about this portrait in particular, is that because this isn't quite as cropped in or zoomed in on the face as some of the other ones that we've done so far have been. I don't really have to give a lot of attention or detailed to these eyes on this dog because first of all, they're very small. We're not really up close to them. They're really not the focal point. The focal point really is just the entire face of the dog and his posture and just the liveliness of the color. So the eyes are going to be much simpler. And I really encourage you if you're doing a pet portrait in, it's not a close up of the face. Don't put too much effort into the eyes because they're just too small and we don't want them actually to appear out of place by adding too much detail into them. So let those be simple and dark and maybe just a little bit of highlights in them, very small amount of highlight. And that is going to get you a long ways in terms of realism. So I'm just going to speed through the rest of this process for this dog. You can see here that I'm starting out with some really, really vibrant oranges to start building up the more natural colors. And I have a lot of a value gradation in that light yellowish orange because those are going to be some of the more natural colors that we see in the dog. And I know it went really, really fast. But I did add just a little bit of glue into those two lightest values up in the top right-hand corner. So it's barely perceptible. But just to take that temperature down a little bit, I added just a touch of blue into those mixtures. And so mixture up top starts with a really vibrant orange. And then as they move to the lighter values, I started to gradually add just a little bit of blue to start to neutralize them and cool them down. And I'm going to allow some of those greens and blues that were initially in that first block in for this dog, I'm going to let those peak threw in a few areas, especially where the dog has the most cast shadow on his underside, that's really going to remain quite green. And then a few other areas around the mouth and on some of the firm that is flying away. I'm allowing a little bit more of that blue to show through. And with this painting in particular, I really wanted it to be very brushy and have a lot of really nice broad brushstrokes and bold brushstrokes. So I use the bristle brush pretty much the entire time that I worked on the fur on this dog, I didn't go into any of my software brushes. And when I show you a close-up of that, you'll see that it is much more brushy than some of the other portraits where I used the softer brush to kind of refine the Ferrara lots. I did use a soft brush, but mostly in the eyes and nose and those features just to really lay those in. And another note on changing the background. It is of course, very important to think about the differences between the lighting situations. But another thing that I really encourage you to do is to just keep your backgrounds very, very simple. So the angle that this photograph was taken made it very easy just to have basically a nice green background. Of course, there are some color variations in the green, but I didn't need anything too overly complex to make this a realistic portrait, even though I've changed the lighting and the background of this portrait. 21. Golden Retriever Process Overview: It's easy. Okay. The system is hi. So here, this is so. Okay. Right. Right. That's right. I'm tired. That's right. Yes. 22. A Closer Look at Cooper: Now let's take a look at Cooper. And here Hazel is visiting us again, high Hazel. Alright, so cooper, We brought outside for a nice day maybe at the PAR k. I can't say that word without making somebody very excited. Here's Cooper. And you can see that he looks very natural out as though he's in the sunlight with those nice cool highlights. Let me bring that in just a little closer. Hopefully you can see just a hint of blue peeking through just to represent those nice skylights. And then down here, let's make sure we have this in focus. We have a lot of greens on all of the downward facing planes, especially here on the chest area. And I think that that just helps it look very nice and natural. And another thing I didn't mention as I was painting this, but a lot of times my brushstrokes will be somewhat determined by the feeling that I want to achieve in the painting. So for the cats where they were just kind of sitting and I feel like they were very leisurely and luxury, luxurious. I kind of refined my Strokes a little bit more. Of course, I like to have my stroke's showing, but anytime I paint a pet who is outside or being more active, I really like to use even bolder brushstrokes. And I didn't mention in this painting that I really didn't use my soft brushes to go back in and soften any of the first. So you can see a lot of really nice brush strokes because I used my coarser paintbrush to make all of these strokes. So these strokes are just a little bit more bold. And I feel like that adds a sense of action even though he is sitting and he's not running around, he's outside. And so I really want to give that sense of activity. 23. An Easy Way to Transfer a Portrait from a Printed Photo to Your Canvas: So I promised that I would show you an alternate way to get your portrait onto your canvas. If you don't feel quite confident enough to just go in with your paintbrush and lay in or block in the portraits. So what I'm going to show you here is how to use transfer paper to transfer your image from a piece of paper like this onto your canvas. Now you want to make sure of course, that your printed photo is roughly the same size and dimension as the canvas or surface that you want to transfer it onto. And then basically, what I have on that canvas is a dry layer of paints. So instead of doing an imprimatur Tara layer on this particular painting, what I did was I got some of my read, my naphtha all red and I even mixed in some white with it. But it's OK because I allowed it to dry completely. So the canvas is completely dry. And now I'm going to lay my transfer paper with the dark side facing my canvas. And I'm just going to secure it in place here because I am doing this vertically for you so that you can see a little bit more easily. And basically, all I have to do once I have this all secured into place is just take a pencil or a pen or really anything. You can even use the back end of your paint brush handle, of course, then you wouldn't see any marks on your paper where you've already gone over. But I'm just using pressure so that the line transfers from the transfer paper on to the canvas panel. This might be a little bit trickier if you are painting on a stretched canvas because you might not be able to apply quite as much pressure without risking poking a hole into it or through your paper. So that's just something to be aware of. But honestly with most transfer paper, it does not take a lot of pressure to get your lines to transfer. Now another thing that I want to mention and I want you to be aware of is that just like pencil marks, the transfer paper which is just carbon, just like any other pencil. Those lines are going to be diminished if you apply a lot of solvent to them. So you'll see in the next video that I do my underpinning a little bit differently for this. And I also don't want to go overboard on detail. It can be really easy to get caught up in detail. We're actually going to paint and block in our values first and foremost. And we're really going to treat the dark areas all as one and the light areas all as one. So don't get too caught up transferring over every line in detail that you see in the photo. This is just to get things placed and get your proportions. 24. Wrinkles & Skin Folds: In this overview, I'm going to be painting the PAG in a donuts. And what I want to talk about here is painting wrinkles and skin folds in pets. This is something that we often see in, especially dogs that have those pug nose faces. But sometimes we also see this in cats. And this is something that carries over to portraiture of any kind and even painting folded fabric. This is something that can be a little bit tricky. As I mentioned before, we tend to interpret dark areas in an image as being lines. And this is because we mostly grew up drawing with pencils and creating lions. So we've come to think about things vary linearly. And it can be very easy to think about every wrinkle and fold as being a dark line. But it doesn't look natural and it can look distracting and it can look messy. And especially if you're painting a person who does have a few wrinkles and it's part of their character. You really want to be able to capture that in a very tasteful and elegant way. So that's what I want to talk about as we watch this overview of the PAG painting. Basically what we need to do is think about wrinkles and skin folds as form, three-dimensional form just like anything else, just like the nose that protrudes from the face or the ear is where they catch a little bit more light, or where the light is completely occluded. We need to think about wrinkles and skin folds as being patterns of light and dark. And in oil painting, it's really important to build those from our darks to our lights. So you can see already here in the painting of the peg, I started out very, very dark. And I don't have any lights in here yet. So I'm going to be saving the lighter areas for last. And those lighter areas are going to mostly fall on a lot of the wrinkles and skin folds on the face of this pug. Again, we have to build up those values very gradually so that we don't get any harshness or contrast that is going to be distracting and not look natural. So I'm gonna go ahead and basically treat most of this face as though it is very, very dark. And if you follow along with my method of transferring your image to your canvas by using transfer paper or somehow or other, using a photo to directly creates the drawing on your painting. It's really important that you don't get too attached to that drawing because we want to be able to find it shapes sort of the way that is sculptor finds the shapes when, uh, he just has a big slab of material. So we're going to find those and we're not going to worry too much about our drawing. The drawing is just a starting off point for you. So don't feel like you have to start painting every individual wrinkle from dark to light one by one. We really want to start out mostly with a dark mass and then build our skin folds and wrinkles off of that. So now you can see that I've begun to add some of the lighter values and some of them are natural colors in here. And you're gonna see me kind of going back and forth on the wrinkles. But at no 00:00 AM I going in in painting every individual wrinkle. I'm just looking for areas that are darker. I'm looking for those mid tones that transition into the highlights. And I'm just creating kind of a texture of those wrinkles and face folds rather than copying each one verbatim that I see in the photo reference. So we're really going to have an impression of wrinkles rather than a copied exact replica of every wrinkle on this dog's face. And I think that, that makes the painting look a little bit more interesting and nuanced and less like we were just going and tracing every little wrinkle in there. It creates more of a texture. So you can see here that I'm beginning to experiment with some of my highlights. And of course those are going to be more dominant on the side of the face that's receiving more light. So off to the left is where the light source for this photograph was. So those wrinkles are going to be lighter in their highlights. Then the wrinkles on the other side of the face, those are going to remain a little bit quieter, a little bit more muted and less noticeable because we don't need the same amount of light on both sides of the face when more light is hitting the left side of the face. And here I am just kind of working on the cute little doughnut, just adding splashes of color. I had a lot of fun with that. And I really just let the oil paints intermingle with everything underneath it for this painting, because I had that nice pink background, which was actually just my naphtha red with a little bit of white in it that I allowed to dry completely. I'm allowing some of that to peek through in key areas. Some of the folds that you can see are a little bit more red. That's where some of that background is coming through and also in the background behind the donor. I wanted to allow some of that red to come through because I think that it just adds a really nice splash of color and that was kind of fun to play around with. And then as I added the sprinkles to the donuts, I didn't worry about getting the exact shape that you can see in the photo. I just added little strokes of color throughout and a left those each really just at one stroke. And I just let them be as they are. And I think that, that really gives a nice loose impressionist look. And also of course, we want to remember that our focal point is in the face of the dog. And so that's where we're going to spend most time painting and looking as the viewer as well. So now I'm going in and just refining some of the darks, especially in the ears and then I'll go into the eyes and kind of correct some of the shapes in the eyes. And there might also be some dark areas in the folds and wrinkles that I need to adjust as well and just add a little bit more depth to those. But again, I'm not thinking about those folds as being lines. I'm thinking of them as being individual forms that are recessed and that's where they're going to be darker. And then as they curve up toward the light surface, we're going to get our mid tones and our mid values. And then just right at the top of some of those wrinkles and folds in the face, we can add just a little bit of highlights who really helped them stand out and feel very three-dimensional. And just as I did with the golden retriever, I'm going to leave the eyes on this. Very, very simple. I'm not going to go in and try to paint the Iris's individually. Of course, the markings on this dog's face around the eyes are very dark. The eyes themselves are dark and very brown. So all that I'm going to do to help bring the eyes to life a little bit more is just add a little bit of highlight and try to get the dark markings around the eyes as accurate as I possibly can. Inherent. Just making a few last adjustments to the background before I go into the eyes. As usual, I like to save this for last. So right here I'm adding kind of a faint glare in the eyes. So this isn't the highlight, this is just kind of a glare that I can observe by, I did kind of overdo it. And so I'm going to kind of push those back a little bit. I'm washing out my brush right now completely because there was some y in it going back into the darks and now I'm just pushing back that light glare because it was just a little bit much credit made him look like he had cataracts. 25. Pug Process Overview: Okay. Ok. Yes. Okay. So this is this. So this is it. The transition system? No. Ok. I don't know. Yeah. 26. A Closer Look at Watson: So let's take a look at Watson, the wonder pug. And you know what's funny? I have a dog named Watson and he's actually sitting right here next to me. Hey, Watson, can you come there? We've come here. Here's my Watson and here's Hazel. Hi guys. I need to do a painting of view guys sitting together being so good. I know that you will pose for me for hours rights. Maybe not. Anyway, back to Watson, the wonder pug. So you can see that let's bring him in and just a little bit closer. Because for him we really focused on painting the wrinkles and the skin folds. And I hope that you can see very clearly that there are no lines that define those wrinkles. In fact, I think you'd be hard-pressed to even identify the individual wrinkles. But I wanted to do was create a nice texture. And I achieved that just by building up my values. So I placed in those darker values and then I gradually began to add the lighter values to create a sense of buildup and depth where those skin folds are occurring. And then two, in this cute little doughnut, you can see that I just did fine a little one stroke dashes of color. And I think that, that adds a really playful sense to the overall sense of this painting that I want it to be very colorful and very q. And let's find some areas where I let that red canvas really show through here. It's a little hard to see, but you can see it's poking through. In some areas. That's something that is very subtle. But I feel like it does make a difference. At least it makes a difference while I'm painting. It helps me just to get into more of a playful node when that is what I'm going for in the painting. So yeah, here's Watson, the wonder pug, all finished. 27. Final Thoughts : Thank you so much for taking this course. I really appreciate it. I really hope to see your projects in paintings in the project section of this course. And again, if you have any questions or need further clarification, please feel free to post any questions that you have in the discussion section of this course. And remember to check out my catalog of other painting courses here on skill share, you'll find a lot of information and I'm always adding new courses, so be sure to follow me. And as always, happy painting.