View Full Version : Mountain Cougar

07-12-2004, 02:19 PM


Title: Mountain Cougar
Year Created: 2004
Medium: Acrylic
Surface: Canvas
Dimension: 11x14
Allow digital alterations?: Yes!

I am new to painting all together... this is my third animal painting. I used a cougar from the image library as a reference and added a mountain background. I've worked about 20 hours on this and feel a bit frustrated. I still need to finish ears and whiskers. Also, now that I have shot a photo of it, I am noticing a weird "line" below the ear that I will be balancing the color out with.

Basically, I am having trouble getting the proper fur texture and the coloring and need some help and suggestions. When I made the color of the cougar more like the photo, the picture looked dull and boring. I added some sienna tones to it... now does it seem too bold??? Also, though the photo is more blurred on the animal's back, would it help me to add more fur detail on it?

Something just seems off to me in this picture. I'd love any of your suggestions in improving it.

Thank you.

07-12-2004, 02:46 PM
Hi There!

What a great subject to paint! When I try something like that, I really feel under the gun to do it justice, as I am sure you do.

Another Artist Friend once told me to "Paint What I See, Not What I Know Is There". That was hard to understand at first but it really works.

Your background is wonderful and an appropriate setting for this beautiful fellow. He, however, seems to flat to me and the color is off. In the photo, the different color patches blend together better. The white isn't all white, the buff color isn't all buff. And the pattern of the patches is not quite so defined. Remeber that he has fur and not hair. Really look at the photo. It is those tiny subtleties that make our work a challenge.

Good Luck with your progress. It is going to be a really pretty piece when you complete it. Please share it with us.


07-12-2004, 03:02 PM
Thank you, Annie!

I can see the flatness that you are talking about.

A funny thing. I have been working from the photo on the computer, but haven't seen my painting on the screen right next to the computer photo side by side (or above and below) before a few minutes ago when I loaded this. This is very, very revealing! Boy do I have a lot of work to do in adding depth, etc... but I didn't see this till I compared the two.

I will try to "think fur" and not "hair". I am having trouble getting that right fur texture down... I think I need lots of practice!

I wonder if I add the "buff" color on top of the sienna, if the sienna will just subconsciously add just enough warmth to make the picture not look so dull as it did when I tried to directly match the color before.

Thanks again for your comments.


07-12-2004, 03:05 PM
Annie said it all so well so I'm just replying in order to encourage you. Do squint a lot at your reference photograph you'll find the darks and lights more easily. Good luck and show us your progress ...

sugar tree gal
07-12-2004, 03:27 PM
Jyvonne, I agree with Gilberte and Annie.. but this is a great picture..for anyone let alone a beginner.. We all learn as we go, keep the faith.. looking forward to seeing more.. :) Janice

07-12-2004, 04:24 PM
you are on the right road here. Canvas is patient, so are you obviously. Just go on with adding new layers , maybe with a little tiny brush suggesting the fur. This is just one big learning experience. Painting is like solving a problem and by doing that you will encounter another problem, just keep tackling them.