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Cat Portraits : Getting the Eyes Right
Pet Portraits. How to achieve a
realistic painting of a cat using watercolour.
Get the eyes right
and the picture will follow; as the metaphor goes - the eyes are the
windows to the soul.
We can judge an
individual by looking into his or her eyes and can find a connection
with a pet dog, cat or horse, and even wildlife, in a split second.
A viewer can also engage
with a person or animal depicted in a painting; whether the piece of
art or pet portrait is highly detailed and realistic or more loosely
painted in an impressionistic style. If the eyes are believable - the
viewer is more able to connect with a painting, to empathise and/or
An idea, moment or
thought can be captured in the eyes of an animal, bird or human with
careful use of brushes, pastels, ink and/or graphite/colour pencils.
Cat's Eye in Watercolour
Saving the best
Many portrait and
wildlife artists prefer to leave painting or drawing the eyes until
the very last moment – as if, by magic, adding the eyes will
suddenly bring an animal or human portrait to life and smooth over
any rough lines or brush strokes gained in the painting along the
Adding the eyes may
be the missing element that brings life to suggested gestures or
features in a painting, or, after many hours of working on a
portrait, painting the eyes in a detailed piece of artwork might seem
like adding the cherry on top.
Leaving the eyes
to the end, comes with a risk.
There is enjoyment
in that last minute addition of the eyes, when the subject shines
through the art paper and portrait to bring a painting to life. But
the connection between an owner and their pet dog or cat, the rider
with their horse or pony, one family member with another, or even
between friendships – can be made or broken if the eyes are not
believable - sometimes causing the rest of the artwork to become a
Starting with the
eyes, getting them exactly as you envisage them, can be an adrenalin
rush – get the eyes right and, without anything else on the page,
the subject can come to life – instantly - from the outset of the
An artist who
believes in his or her own painting or drawing, from the beginning,
can become more energised, enthusiastic and motivated, bringing the
painting to a more successful conclusion.
about doing good
experienced eye of earthly
Smith, The Galloping Cat)
human and pet portraits can capture the spirit or soul of the subject
– and when the viewer is able to believe in a painting, or its
message, and connect with it in some way – even the simple fondness
or greater appreciation or empathy for a pet cat or dog, or any other
domestic pet, farm animal or wildlife can be shared - which can leave
its touch upon humanity in the process.
British Wildlife Watercolours.
British wildlife, birds and flowers are carefully painted using
watercolours, based on the wildlife and botanical subjects from the
garden and local woods.
Wildlife such as small British woodland
animals (badgers, foxes, squirrels, mice, bats, deer, otters, wild
cats, stoats, weasels - even wild boar, pine martens, beavers and, one day, lynx may return to the wilds of Britain!) and UK garden birds, butterflies and bees, along with
ladybirds and dragonflies, add to the joys to be found in the garden, or just beyond, all year round.
Watercolours can be used to capture the beauty in the animal or plant subject using the fluidity of the paints.
Everyone's favourite! A beautiful owl resting amongst the bluebells.
Watercolours can be used in a variety of wildlife paintings for
different effects based on creative preferences. For the traditional,
realistic bird and wild animal paintings, dry applications of paint
are built up slowly to create depth and form…
Wildlife Drawing Classes Wildlife art classes in drawing wildlife.
There is more to be gained from drawing British wildlife than
drawing and sketching alone – with wildlife art classes, there can be enjoyment in discovering about some of Britain’s favourite animals and birds in the
company of other artists and nature enthusiasts, through drawing
wildlife classes which bring together like-minded individuals in a pleasant setting.
Drawing animals and birds from life is an excellent
way to engage with the natural world around us. An
understanding of wildlife anatomy, behaviour and environment, through
observations and sketches, can help build the skills and knowledge
necessary for more detailed graphite or coloured pencil drawings of
British wildlife and birds.
Drawing class subjects include the familiar favourites such as: foxes,
squirrels, hedgehogs, mice, deer and birds, plus some of the more
elusive characters from the British countryside – badgers, otters,
wildcats, newts, hawks and…