Category Archives: wildlife

Let’s Paint an Orange Kitty – Watercolor

Today, we are going to paint an orange kitty using watercolors. Pretty simple, but the end might scare you. Don’t let it! You can do this.

I am using Hahnemühle‘s Leonardo 280 lbs matt watercolor paper, a heavy weight thick wonderful watercolor paper with much texture.

In each frame I wanted to have a picture of kitty for easy reference, however my printer is very low in ink so the picture printed really light. Nothing will set us back….so here we go!

Step by step watercolor kitty

Step 1: Draw an outline in pencil. Make notations of stripes and shadows.

Step by step watercolor kitty

Step 2: We are only going to be using two colors: cad yellow and ochre. Paint cad yellow on the whole body except leave some white spots for the lightest highlights. Leaving white exposed also let’s your painting breath. Sounds strange, but without the white, your painting might end up too heavy. Now, while the cad yellow is wet, paint ochre on the spots where the kitty is shaded. Let dry.

Step by step watercolor kitty

Step 3: Using rose and ochre, paint the kitty’s ear. Think of negative painting when you leave in some hair in the ears. Now, paint rose only on his cute little nose.

Step by step watercolor kitty

Step 4: Using orange, paint where the kitty looks more orange: top of head, in the shadow area, stripes on his legs. If your edges are too hard, you can soften them with a paintbrush that has clean water while the orange is still wet.

Step by step watercolor kitty

Step 5: Paint darker stripes on head and legs with brick red and orange mixed together.

Step by step watercolor kitty

Step 6: Paint the eyes with viridian green and Payne’s grey in the middle. Leave white spots exposed for the light reflecting in his eyes. Next, darken part of the ears with violet. Lastly, using some of that violet, make a small line from his nose down to his mouth and paint shadow around his lip area.

Step by step watercolor kitty

Step 7: This is the part that might scare you…. DONT BE SCARED! Just try it!!! In this brave step, we are going to take a big round brush and paint cobalt blue and violet over all of the shaded areas. That’s right, you’re going to paint right over the kitty in large chunks. Take a deep breath. Only do this step if your painting is completely dry. Shadow his left side, the left part of his face, under his right eye, under his chin, in between his legs, by his tail. Just like before, if your edges are too hard, soften with a brush that has clean water on it. Now look at him pop!

Step by step watercolor kitty

Step 8 Final: In this final step, give him something to rest on. With a large flat brush paint, underneath the kitty with violet. While wet, make shadow underneath the kitty with Payne’s gray. After everything is dry, you can outline the kitty with a black micron pen and give him some whiskers. Viola, la peinture du chat orange est fini!

I hope you enjoyed this free step by step on how to paint a cat with watercolors. The orange kitty’s name is Niles and he would be honored if you tried to paint his picture too!

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Purrrrrrr, purrrrrrrr, purrrrrrr.

watercolor kitty

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Mr. Bad Raccoon Watercolor

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This is Mr. Bad Raccoon. Mr. Bad Raccoon liked to visit my bird feeder at Christ in the Wilderness promptly at 8pm every night. He was very hungry.

He was also very smart. His large body conquered the raccoon baffle on the feeder itself by standing on his hind feet, hugging the baffle, and inching his way to the top where he would lift the lid right off. Once on top, he would either cup his hands grabbing seed and bring it up to his face or he would place his whole head inside the feeder.

His determination created a soft spot in my heart and I stopped shewing him away. I reasoned with myself that if he went through all of that hard work, he must be rewarded. So I just watched in amazement. His is kinda cute.

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Hearth in the Woods – Watercolor Sketch

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In the Midwest where chill reigns for a quarter of the year, you will find a solemn hearth if you’re lucky in the midst of the woods. Not every preserve has one, but when you happen to spot one, it’s like a treasure. This one is located at Knoch Knolls Park in Naperville, IL.

On this day, I only wish I had wood and permission to start a fire, like I did a few years ago at Heller Woods.  Click here to see photo.

Instead of seeing the warm glow against the oak trees, I will settle for the warm sounds of nagging nuthatches with their nasally, “heh, heh, heh, heh” keeping me company in those oaks.

How is their sound warm, you ask?
It keeps me there a minute longer, no matter what the temperature, and suddenly the cold disappears.

Goldfinches in their Winter Wear Watercolor – Free Download

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Goldfinch feathers molt into a drab olive green/brown color for winter. Many people upon seeing them assume they are looking at sparrows. Not a few believe goldfinches migrate for the winter because they no longer see that bright, brilliant yellow signature color. Not so! They’re here in their inconspicuous attire still seeking thistle.

In case you cannot find them this winter, as my Christmas gift to you, you may copy this artwork by right clicking on the watercolor above and selecting “Save image as”.
Merry Christmas.

Winter Goldfinches

Actual photo of very hungry goldfinches outside my very dirty window. He, he, he.

Fern-like Frost

Fern-Like Frost outside my clean window. Here is proof of the magic of winter… One can zoom in and study patterns in the frost for hours. Well, I sure can!

May your holidays be filled with peace and love.
Christine

Nature in November Watercolor Sketch

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Green Valley Forest Preserves
32°F mostly sunny, brisk wind

When my nerves become anxious and I recognize that prickly, edgy feeling in my spirit, I know it’s time to distance myself from society. It’s my adult time-out. One I most willingly take.

I escape to a little corner of nature where I am actually alone. The chill in the air is welcomed, even though I’ve been spoiled with unseasonably warm weather in my area, that has now passed. The brisk wind makes my cheeks red and tells my flesh it’s back to the business of winter.

As I stand under the cold sun, I hear that familiar creaky trill of sandhill cranes. I look up and scan the sky. I know I’m looking for tiny specks, as their call is much louder and larger than their bodies, considering the height at which they fly, but for the life of me I cannot locate them. I’m glad I’m alone, for a stranger would have thought it odd, this human just standing still staring at a blank sky…no matter, I so desperately wanted to see them it would have been worth the embarrassment. My attempts fail. That’s fair. I will permit nature to have this mystery.

Walking on the trail I notice several galls on dried goldenrod. They are numerous. I love these “imperfections” in nature. The goldenrod with galls are actually more attractive to me than without. I inspect the gall and find a pin hole near the bottom. Escape route?

Just then I hear rustlings above me in the tree. I ignore it for a while, supposing it’s just the wind. But no, it is not the wind. It is a red squirrel. On first inspection it is as if he is eating dried leaves still remaining on the tree. He grabs it, places it in his mouth, crunches as he chews, while crumbs fall from his mouth to the ground. Why is he eating leaves, I wonder? However, I squint my eyes and realize, those aren’t leaves, but dried maple seeds…clusters of them. And that was the rustling I presumed was the wind, dried maple leaves scraping together by the vibration of the red squirrel climbing from branch to branch. He continues for quite a while. Eat on my friend. Winter means business.