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.

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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!