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
such as softening
edges or adding
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
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.
Step-by-step photos courtesy of Amy Anderson