For this painting, I am working from a photo
    rather than from my customary ink sketch.
    The photo is only a starting point, and needs
    many changes. The cat is a circle shape
    centered in the space--not a good design.
    So I plan to merge the cat into the
    background and create a more interesting
    white shape. The color in the photo is very
    ordinary and unexciting. I need to jazz it up!

    After I have been
    away from the
    painting for several
    hours, I come back
    and look at the
    painting with a
    'fresh eye.' At this
    time I often make
    small adjustments,
    such as softening
    edges or adding
    additional small
    bits of color.

    As I complete the painting, it is essential to
    avoid the temptation to rework or fix areas.
    This can quickly destroy the original paint
    energy. As a matter of discipline, I tell
    myself, "If it is already painted, leave it
    alone, Ken, and move on." After the
    painting is finished, if it is still a problem,
    then I may adjust an area. Often things that
    are bothersome in the beginning are not
    even noticeable in the final stages.

    I continue working into the face area of the
    cat. This is my center of interest, so I want it
    to have more color, contrast and detail than
    the rest of the painting. Phthalo green,
    quinacridone gold and quinacridone rose
    are added to the previous colors.

    On the light side of the cat, I want to maintain
    lost edges within the white shape, letting one
    uninterrupted shape complete the illusion of
    light on foreground, cat's body and face.

    Next, I paint the shadow on the cat, making
    sure to let it dissolve into the cast shadow.
    Lost and soft edges create movement when
    painting animals. We don't want the cat to
    seem 'frozen', but rather it should feel as if it
    can move.

    Also, I attempt to lay the paint in boldly, with
    a fair amount of water. This creates organic
    paint textures and energy. If I am excited
    about my painting and 'energized', this mood
    is likely to flow into the finished art work.

    I paint the background first. My value range
    in the background is dark to middle. My
    usual method is to plan the value structure
    ahead. However, I paint intuitively with
    color, making it up as I go along.

    Here I am starting with a limited group of
    colors: ultramarine blue, quinacridone
    burnt orange, and quinacridone violet.

    In each workshop, Ken Hosmer completes a number of painting
    demonstrations, each lasting about an hour and fifteen minutes. "Calico Cat,"
    was painted before a live audience.

    Copyright 2007 by Ken Hosmer
    Step-by-step photos courtesy of Amy Anderson
Watercolor Painting
Watercolor Painting Demonstration