How a Painting of a White Cat Starts

Posted by on Sep 8, 2019 in Blog | 6 comments

How a Painting of a White Cat Starts

I thought it might be interesting to show the very earliest stage of one of my paintings–and it isn’t pretty. The inset shows my initial color sketch. I begin most of my paintings by laying down a solid color in acrylic–typically a raw sienna, burnt umber or raw umber depending on whether the painting will be warm or cool. I’ve already done a sketch so I know where it’s going, and in this case, transferred it using a white transfer paper to my panel.

For this painting, I started to add my dark tones in a raw umber, and some of where the midtones will fall in a pthalo blue. Then I roughly brushed in where some of my lightest tones will fall with a creamy light color.

I always think of this as the “ugly stage”, and it never ceases to amaze me, that somehow it morphs into a finished painting. Every artist uses a different process to start, but for me, the thing I have the hardest time dealing with is a white background–so I cover it with a solid layer of paint to get over that hump.


  1. Debra Hayes

    Really interesting!

  2. Lynn Watson

    Yes very interesting as to how you start you painting!

  3. Hope Lane Pet Portraits

    Artists work all different ways–some of them work one small section at a time and finish it completely–I’m more of a “work the whole painting” kind of artist.

    • Jamie Lynne

      Hope Lane Pet Portraits I have been painting for maybe four months and I am impressed by the artists who complete one section of the painting at a time before continuing. I work the whole painting in layers. I can’t imagine the kind of artistic vision and prowess that the piecemeal artists must have!

    • Hope Lane Pet Portraits

      Jamie Lynne I don’t think one approach is better than the other–just different ways of working. I need to have an overall feel for a painting as I work on it–and the techniques I use are geared to that. Enjoy your painting.

  4. Marsha Wright-Reeves

    I LOVE your work! My old studio mate, was a whole piece artist. I was a section at a time worker. I tried it her way and work has changed alot.

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