Bronze Big Cat

My  anti-colorization attempt yesterday, met with limited success, so I thought I would get back on the horse, so to speak, with another try today.

My parents had this wonderful bronze statue of a tiger. It is probably from the 1930s, since I saw the very same statue in an episode of Agatha Christie’s Poirot, a production lavishly decorated in the manner of art deco.

Today’s experiment:

This tiger statue in now in my studio. It has a dark brown patina and in the light of my desk lamp, it is a patchwork of bright reflections and dark shadows.

My sketch below is the first go at delineating the dark from the light areas:

Sketch - Bronze Big Cat

Below is a preliminary underpainting using sepia pigment only:

Watercolor Sketch - Bronze Big Cat - Sepia

Capturing the shapes of the dark areas and the light areas was more difficult than I thought. If I had faithfully outlined just three tonal zones with pencil, the lightest light, the middle tone and the darkest dark, I would be all set to render a faithful representation of the statue. It would be painting by the numbers, I admit, but the resulting painting would look like my statue.  Instead of using a pencil to draw the shapes, I used a watery sepia dilution to approximate these areas.

After delimiting the darkest and lightest areas, my plan was to wash the entire figure with a dark, transparent color.  But first, I used liquid latex to mask out the brightest areas.

I did not want to use a reddish earth tone (the burnt umber/sienna), so I washed the area with a neutral tint.  After removing the mask, I found that the sharp boundaries of the white areas were very distracting. I softened them after the wash was totally dry, with clean water.

Below is my Big Cat Statue as in its current form. I captured the reflections from the lamp to the extent that it looks like it could be a bronze statue, but some of the tonal areas are not correct in shape or tone at this point.

Watercolor Study - Bronze Big Cat - Neutral Tint WashTo be continued…


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