Koji oil on canvas paper 8.75x12 ©Joshua Lance

Koji   oil on canvas paper   8.75×12   ©Joshua Lance

It’s been a while since I painted an animal portrait. I saw a friend’s cat picture on facebook and I really liked the photo and her name “Koji”.  Sometimes the process  can be daunting and complicated, as I was starting to get that feeling like it could get really messy if I don’t be careful. I was putting many layers upon layers, changing colors around.  Which is why a strong composition is essential, because even if your color scheme is off, you can always correct that.  A well designed composition will help make your life easier.  It’s like the framework of a house.  If it’s unstable, it doesn’t matter what you put on it.  A bad infrastructure will make a building collapse, exactly like a painting.  If the composition isn’t good, it’s hard to carry on and feel confident.  For this painting, it’s a quick basic drawing, but I know that the body parts are exactly where they should be.  I want an accurate representation of a cat.  Sure the values, tones, colors may look good, but a bad composition will show through.  So I am more strict with myself these days about not painting until my drawing is up to standards.  Even if it’s simple.  I make sure the composition looks good and makes me feel good before I ever add an ounce of color.  Ever.


Once the composition is in place, then it allows you to experience even greater freedom of color and application.   Because you know that you have a good composition to fall back on if the color scheme isn’t working out.  You can always change it.  I’m always changing the colors, but I’m doing it quicker than I used to.  If you have a good balance of technical ability and combine it with your emotional color palette, who knows how far you’ll get?

If you’re interested in a commission of your pet, please contact me.  Thank you for reading my post!