"Smokey" - Artist Statement

This digitally painted representation of my cat was composed from a digital photograph that I took of him when I went home over the break. I messed around a little bit with brush strokes in class, and after deciding that I did not want to do a person's face, I still wanted to tackle something equally as challenging. What's more challenging than trying to paint hair on a figure? Hence the use of my cat as a model. This allowed me to experiment with digital paint techniques and brush strokes. First I put down white paint for the general areas that were white. Since white on a white canvas was hard to see, I decided to use a temporary black background so I could see where I was painting. The painting ended up looking better on black than I thought it would, so I left it. It helped accentuate the hairs of the brush strokes, as well as the shading and shadows.

After laying down the white, I put down a few different basic shades of gray to make the general outline of the body, then proceeded to brush details in from there.

There were three areas that were particularly challenging. First, the face. Because of the short hair on the face and its tendency to wave in different directions, it became challenging to make all the "hairs" flow well. The second area was the eyes. My first couple attempts made the eyes look empty and flat, but I think my final version offers something much more satisfying. The third challenge was rather interesting because of the position of the cat’s hind legs. I had to repaint this area a couple times because the position is a bit awkward (the cat is in the process of turning), and did not translate well through my simplification process.

Overall, I think this was a successful approach to a digitally painted representation of a subject referencing the real.

~ Adam Deutschmann, December 2005