Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Watercolor Lesson: How to Paint Cat Eyes

If you love everything about art, including learning new styles, looking at the work of others, and being inspired by the enthusiasm of other artists, then I have the book for you. Jean Haines’ World of Watercolor has all of the above, and more. Her passion for art is nothing short of contagious. She herself compares making art to being an athlete (practicing, strengthening mental muscles, etc). If that’s the analogy, then consider Jean your coach. She tells us, “I wish to welcome you into my world–my haven where only color and beauty exist–and to show how, with the touch of a brush, you can be transported wherever you wish to go.”

To give you a little taste of Jean’s easy-breezy teaching style, here’s one of her watercolor painting demonstrations, on how to paint a cat’s eye.

Watercolour painting lesson with Jean Haines |

Jean’s tip: Connecting eye color to surrounding facial sections adds interest to results.

Watercolor Lesson: How to Paint a Cat’s Eye by Jean Haines

I love painting animals. Over the years I have taken time to improve how I initially approach painting eyes, because if they aren’t right, the finished painted animal will seem lifeless.

1. Start by creating a simple outline. Use the colour of the eye for the outer edge. Make sure your outline shape matches that of your subject.

2. Add the inside color, allowing it to merge with the outside color on the original edge line. Use a curved brushstroke for the lower section of the eye and work upwards, leaving a small white area for the highlight. Keep your pigment watery so that you have soft rather than bold color. This creates a more ‘glassy,’ lifelike effect.

3. When almost dry, gently add a line of water with a clean, damp brush underneath the lower edge of the eye. Softly touch the color randomly along the still-wet outline to allow it to flow into the newly formed water line underneath. Use a sweeping movement of a clean, damp brush to ‘curve’ this new color section, following the lower outline of the eye. This section will act as a base, forming a layer underneath the fur coloring to be added later.

4. Allow the eye to dry at this stage, and do not be tempted to overwork it.

5. Now work around the white highlight of the eye to add the dark pupil.

6. The eye is complete. The soft green outer area will act as a beautiful base for adding, for example, ginger fur as another layer of color at a later stage.

Practice painting eyes in as many color variations as possible as these exercises will improve your painting of animal skills. ~Jean

Watercolour painting tips with Jean Haines |

Market Seller, Dubai (watercolor, 6×9.75) by Jean Haines, who says this is only “color bringing my subject to life with an atmospheric result.”

Newly available is the Jean Haines’ Atmospheric Watercolor Artist’s Collection. In it, you’ll find her:
World of Watercolor (book)
Atmospheric Watercolors: Painting with Freedom, Expression and Style (book)
• Watercolor Set (6 15ml tubes), and
• 18-color Palette Dot Card

I could tell you more about Jean and her inspirational words, but instead I’d like to let her tell you herself. “Painting has changed my life,” Jean says. “I hope, by turning the pages [of World of Watercolor], you will feel my enthusiasm and passion for this most intriguing medium. Whether you paint or not, whether you work regularly in watercolor or are thinking of learning, I hope that you as the reader cannot put my book down and that you can’t wait to read each new chapter. The journey is about to begin. Welcome to my world.”

Beautifully said. Now, begin your journey.

Until next time,
Cherie Haas, online editor
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