Cat and Pyramid Painting Exercise – Block 4 #3

I’ve just finished the third painting for Block 4 of the Evolve Artist course. This cat figure was painted from a photograph.

Cat and Pyramid - oil painting exercise on canvas. Evolve Artist Block 4 #3

Evolve Artist Block 4, #3 – Cat and Pyramid. Oil on canvas.

This is the second of the two colour paintings in the ‘simple’ category. As I mentioned on the candles exercise, this doesn’t mean it was easy, and I definitely found this painting challenging. For me it was the hardest in the course so far, and there were a couple of parts where I messed up so badly that I had to let it dry and start over. That was discouraging, and my motivation took a hit. I also had to take some time away from painting again, so the stopping and starting didn’t help. I’m going to try to be more consistent for the rest of the block and avoid long breaks if possible. Even a couple of short sessions each week will keep the momentum going. This painting has a lot of issues, but in the end I stopped caring about trying to get everything right, and was just happy to be done!

I thought my colours were slightly off, but got good feedback on them, so maybe I was being too nitpicky. I did struggle a bit with the cat because it’s such a large area, and I had to finish it in one day since there aren’t any hard edges to break it up. I’d have preferred to split it up over a couple of sessions, but as it was I felt rushed and didn’t have as much time as I’d like to refine the gradients and details. I also had trouble getting a decent photo, and the cat isn’t quite as streaky as it looks here 🙂 Overall I think it came out okay – not terrible, but not one of my better exercises either.

I must admit, I don’t love the Block 4 direct painting method. When I’m painting I like to cover the whole canvas or object I’m working on quickly, and then refine it by tweaking the gradients, adding highlights, reflections etc. Getting the raw canvas covered up makes it easier for me to judge to the values etc of the different parts relative to each other. The earlier blocks used that kind of technique. But with this method we work dark to light and refine as we go, with the intention of not returning to an area after it’s been painted (ideally – in practice, I always end up making tweaks). It’s a good method, but it goes against my natural preferences, so it’s taking some getting used to. In the videos Kevin talks about how this technique is just a stage along the way, and acknowledges that it’s a slow and tedious way to paint. So I’m looking forward to moving beyond it in the advanced blocks, and hopefully improving my speed too. That said, I do like how these paintings are coming out. Mine have a lot of room for improvement, but I think they look better than the exercises for the earlier blocks, since they’re closer to the references with more accuracy in the colours and values.

See all my Evolve artist paintings.

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