View Full Version : Jaguar WIP in oils

01-14-2009, 08:33 AM
Hey everyone, I know I was meant to have another update for the snow leopard but my student tonight is allergic to turps so I had to swithc over to another project I'd been wanting to start. This time around I'm going to do a jaguar. I sat down with my 2 year old son and went through my image library a few weeks ago and asked him what I should paint next. He told me to paint this guy!


I thought he made a great choice (I'm working from the ref he chose without any adjustment to the composition) and tonight proceeded to draw him up onto a 24" x 36" canvas. I've also blocked in the base tones for the background using acrylics.

I'm really looking forward to making some progress on this one. I'm hoping I can capture the underlying power it has even in this state of rest.

01-14-2009, 11:39 AM
Awesome! Can't wait to see this one come together. Is he going to be black or yellow?


01-14-2009, 11:45 AM
There's already a real sense of purpose to the painting Leigh, the energy is apparent at this early stage. Looking forward to seeing it progress.

Sticky Wombat
01-14-2009, 11:49 AM
A great start Leigh and I know you wont dissapoint your WetCanvas Fanclub!!! :thumbsup:

01-14-2009, 11:54 AM
I'm watching, please move over.
Great start.
Painting fun

01-14-2009, 12:25 PM
I love jaguars! He looks very nice so far, I can't wait to see him finished.

01-14-2009, 02:47 PM
A beautiful start! Can't wait to see the updates.

01-14-2009, 05:21 PM
Should be a good'un!!

Colorfur Critters
01-14-2009, 08:27 PM
Looking forward to seeing how this develops!

01-14-2009, 11:57 PM
looking great!!! can't wait for updates:)

01-15-2009, 07:37 AM
Can't wait to see more--love how you get your son involved in your work as well--that is really sweet.

04-25-2009, 09:44 AM
It's been a long time coming but I'm venturing back into the wild space in my studio and get stuck into this jaguar before it get stuck into me! Here are the updates so far...


The base block in went really well with the subtle tonal work accentuating the characteristics of the cat nicely.


Next it was time to start on the markings. I've worked from the forepaws and progressed from there.


Here is where I'm up to now. The block in is nearing completion, at which stage I'll move into the background and develop it to the level I'm looking for before starting my glazes to build up the depth.

04-25-2009, 10:11 AM
Itís amazing how each process adds to the feel of the image.
Looking great and Iím looking forward to more
Painting fun

04-25-2009, 10:41 AM
This is coming along great...I am watching till the end.

04-25-2009, 11:43 AM
Awesome work so far. Very nice feel to this piece.


04-25-2009, 05:01 PM
beautiful and dramatic, your son has a good eye:lol:
love how you are making light and shade already in the markings.

I see some perspective problems from the nose down, but you will probably correct this as you go along.

how are those twins? are you sleeping a whole night through yet?

04-25-2009, 05:41 PM
My son has a fantastic eye for animals. On many occasions he ends up having massive arguments with his grandfather about what animal he's playing with. He can pick the difference between a leopard and jaguar toy (and these toys are only a couple of inches tall!)

I'll continue to refine and adjust once the block in is done so we should be right.

As for sleep the twins are just starting to teethe... need I say more?

04-25-2009, 07:40 PM
how amazing, he sure has the right dad!, I know adults who don't know the difference...I hope we manage to keep some of these animals for him to see as he grows up.

04-25-2009, 07:53 PM
Looking good Leigh!

04-25-2009, 11:31 PM
Wow glad to see this one again--it looks wonderful!

04-26-2009, 02:27 AM
how amazing, he sure has the right dad!, I know adults who don't know the difference...At least all of us here know the difference. The jaguar's the one with the horns :lol:

This looks great Leigh, I love the dark background

04-26-2009, 05:10 AM
Didn't know you had this going Leigh...glad I stopped in. Really looking forward to this now that I know it's here :)

Looking very good so far Mate :thumbsup:

04-26-2009, 09:55 AM
Looking forward to updates.:thumbsup:

04-26-2009, 04:10 PM
Already looking top dollar Leigh:clap:.

online art
04-28-2009, 03:59 AM
Love it - MORE!!!

04-28-2009, 04:07 AM
UMMM...So where's the update :confused: :D

04-28-2009, 08:47 PM
Hi all, the next update will be online by the end of the week. At the moment I'm midway through a still life demonstration video for my art classes. I'm hoping to wrap production on that tonight and then I'll be back to the oils.

04-28-2009, 11:38 PM
Okay, this is earlier than I thought but I just had to get back into it (Our gardener came through and I had to move the still life so it got put to the backburner until he'd left). Here are the next two stages.

To start I continued to map the markings on the jaguar's body and legs. I used a thin mix of lamp black, cadmium red and a touch of titanium white where needed.


Next up I moved onto the background. I've been making my own pastels lately and decided to mix the pigments I had into some clear oil paint to work up for transparent glazes. One mix is a deep blue green and the other is a deep red brown. Both are so dark that they are perfect black substitutes. As I worked through I lightened the blue green mix a touch to indicate the leaves in the background and took some of the jaguar's body colours to show the play of light. Then I mixed a mid green and started laying in the grasses. This was followed with some knife work to get the first layer of grass looking messy and natural. I'll be working this area up with a least 2 more layers before it's done.


I'll leave this to dry for a couple more days before I start working on the jaguar again.

04-28-2009, 11:42 PM
Nice cat i m watching

04-29-2009, 01:43 AM
Glad you're sharing this Leigh, I ALWAYS look forward to your WIPs. Thanks for all the info. :thumbsup:

04-29-2009, 01:45 AM
Love the way you're coming out of the darkness with that BG with the light coming through those furthest bushes, very effective.

04-29-2009, 02:06 AM
Thanks Tazz. That area still needs some work but it's close to what I'm aiming for. While I'm waiting for it to dry I've got it sitting in the frame I have for it and I'm just so excited. This is going to be magic!

04-29-2009, 06:58 AM
Looks awesome. The background looks amazing.

Keep it up, great job!


04-29-2009, 08:13 AM
Oh wow, I am loving this! I am watching you work.

04-29-2009, 03:50 PM
He's really coming to life ~ I can't wait to see this one finished!

05-04-2009, 08:16 AM
After a few days drying time I've returned and started to deepen the tones on the jaguar. I've made some small adjustments to his features along the way. Once this layer is dry I'll go over the markings again before refining the image further.


05-04-2009, 02:19 PM
I'm adding this on to my faves! The cat is looking fantastic and this wip is very educational!! Thanks

05-04-2009, 10:39 PM
Thanks BethAnn! I'm going to work on the markings again tonight and hopefully bring them up to the level that they are on his hind leg. Because I'm working with a transparent home made dark mix for the markings I'm finding they have much more warmth than my previous attempts.

05-05-2009, 04:45 AM
as usual wonderful work, I love the light, and the grasses on the right are awesome, I just know this is going to zip into life any minute now... I wasnt going to comment until the finish, but couldnt resist, it just draws me in... brill.. Paul

05-05-2009, 09:41 AM
I've spent a short amount of time on this tonight but the results are fairly dramatic. I've continued to work on the markings, increasing my contrasts and getting a better feel for the jaguar. I've also continued to develop the environment. I've used a palette knife for the jungle floor and I'm loving the look so far.


05-05-2009, 09:54 AM
This looks awesome! The ground does have many texture effects with virtually no detail. Excellent job. Are you going to do much fur detail on the cat?


05-05-2009, 01:53 PM
This is absolutely beautiful..

05-05-2009, 06:12 PM
This looks awesome! The ground does have many texture effects with virtually no detail. Excellent job. Are you going to do much fur detail on the cat?


I'm intending on using the fur detail to draw focus to the head and using subtle suggestions along the hind legs.

05-05-2009, 06:12 PM
Hi! I'm new to this.... I love your jaguar! Sometimes I wish I painted in oils- I used too and I miss the smell! I am exclusively pastels now.:wave:

05-05-2009, 09:15 PM
Hi Catherine, welcome to the forums! I do most of my work in pastel - I only use the oils when working on larger pieces such as this.

05-19-2009, 10:38 AM
Okay, after a week or so away from this piece I picked up brushes tonight and started glazing and refining. I'm really pleased with the depth in the eye now.


I've got so many things on the plate at the moment that it's going to take me a while to get this one done. Between working on my DVD series, teaching, framing and getting new stock works and commissions ready for galleries it's absolute chaos just now.

05-19-2009, 02:48 PM
You can do it. Just work 28 hrs days.
We appreciate what time you have to share.
This is looking good, me like.
Painting Fun

05-19-2009, 05:28 PM
Thanks Gary, I'm glad you're enjoying it. There's a long way to go yet but I'm seeing the signs of something special here.

05-19-2009, 05:39 PM
I agree, it looking really good right now. Can't wait to see how you finish it off. I feel it's going to be one of your top gems.
Now get back to work and stop typing.

Painting fun

05-19-2009, 10:26 PM
Awesome work!!! You have a real winner here....great job!!! Looking forward to the big finish.


05-26-2009, 02:25 AM
Fantastic cat!

05-26-2009, 02:36 AM
I'm glad this one got bumped back up because I haven't seen it before. I love the big cats! What a beautiful one this is!

online art
05-26-2009, 06:21 AM
Leigh - this looks VERY good so far. When you are coming close to completion I would have a look at the dark background in your last 2 photos and see which you like better, I know the difference at the moment is either how the photo is coming out or how you are lighting the piece when you take the photo, but if the lighter one is closer to the real thing I would be inclined to subdue it with a glaze until it is ALMOST as dark as it appears on the 1st photo - it makes the cat stand out beautifully. - Know what I mean?

Looking forward to seeing it develop further

05-26-2009, 07:56 AM
love your progression. looking forward to more.:)

05-26-2009, 10:01 AM
Looks great Leigh.

05-26-2009, 09:59 PM
Its always a pleasure to watch your WIP and this one is no exception! I always love how you bring life to everything you paint!

05-27-2009, 05:17 AM
Leigh - this looks VERY good so far. When you are coming close to completion I would have a look at the dark background in your last 2 photos and see which you like better, I know the difference at the moment is either how the photo is coming out or how you are lighting the piece when you take the photo, but if the lighter one is closer to the real thing I would be inclined to subdue it with a glaze until it is ALMOST as dark as it appears on the 1st photo - it makes the cat stand out beautifully. - Know what I mean?

Looking forward to seeing it develop further

Hi Jason, I know exactly what you mean. You'll be glad to know that the lighter appearance to the background is simply the studio lighting. I had to angle the canvas to avoid massive glaring on the wet paint.

Thanks to everyone who has dropped in to see how this piece is shaping up. I'm hoping to have an update in about a week's time once I get some beach scenes out of the way.

05-27-2009, 10:23 AM
Stupendous ! May I pet his head?

07-04-2009, 07:14 PM
Over the past couple of days I've got some more work done on this jaguar. I'm just going through the process of glazing and tinting as required to get the light just right. I've also started constructing the paws to help ground him more effectively. There will be heaps of updates on this piece over the next couple of weeks as I'm on holidays and have decided that this project must be complete before I go back to work.


07-05-2009, 05:06 AM
Just caught up with this one Leigh,very impressive,some nice depth coming in there.

Best from mike.

07-06-2009, 08:00 PM
Don't get chance to pop in WC very often but really pleased to catch the update on this stunning piece Leigh!...to me, you seem to have captured a moment in time...the look of the big cat when they have seen something and are contemplating whether they can be bothered to make a move or not!...just love big cats and this is going to be beautiful!

Looking forward to seeing the finished piece! :)


07-06-2009, 08:30 PM
Thanks Julie! I'll be posting some new updates later today. The changes are subtle but certainly make a difference!

07-06-2009, 09:17 PM
Very Nice to date! I'm looking forward to seeing how this progresses.


07-06-2009, 10:28 PM
Thanks Nancy. The updates are here. I've spent a few hours last night adding depth with glazes over the face and adjusting the markings as needed. I've also added the first fine touches like the whiskers. There's still a bit to do but we're getting somewhere now.



I'm hoping to have the head completed tonight so then I can move onto the body.

07-07-2009, 04:22 AM
Oh....how beautiful!


07-07-2009, 02:16 PM
Help please.. I must be doing something wrong but none of Leigh's postings are showing on my computer. I'd love to see your jaguar... what am I doing wrong?


07-07-2009, 02:45 PM
All my images sit on the server for my website. It may be down temporarily. If you can't view it here try this link (http://leighrust.com/studio.html)

07-07-2009, 05:54 PM
Beautiful painting so far..... like the background you used too!

07-10-2009, 12:23 PM
And we're done! I spent a few hours tonight working with a combination of glazing, refining brushstrokes and thicker highlights to bring this piece to completion. I'm really pleased with the way it's come up. The combo of bold knifework with the finer brushstrokes gives it a nice balance.


Thanks to everyone who followed this thread. I'll be sharing some new works with you very shortly!

07-10-2009, 01:14 PM
WOW what a WIP, its awesome!! Thanks!
Realy love the finish!! Amazing details, Just love your artwork!!

07-10-2009, 06:58 PM
Wow! Leigh,it's perfect :thumbsup:


07-10-2009, 11:21 PM
great! love the eyes!

07-11-2009, 03:05 AM
Great work , I almost missed on this one. Havent been around lately

07-11-2009, 01:44 PM
a grand finish to a grand subject presented with drama and flair. thanks for the wip

07-11-2009, 02:01 PM
Great fun to watch the WIP and just a beautiful job. I love it.

07-11-2009, 08:45 PM
Thanks everyone! I'm so glad you've all enjoyed the journey - I know it's been a long time coming. My son has informed me that I've got to do an cheetah next but I'm thinking I may go under the sea again (Sea turtle) or up in the trees (Orangutan). We'll wait and see...

Donna Southwood
07-12-2009, 01:40 PM
Beautiful work Leigh! Thanks for sharing.


07-13-2009, 02:39 AM
Love the finish Leigh! :clap::clap::clap:....its turned out a very striking painting...one I would be sad to part with if it were mine! :)


07-13-2009, 09:04 AM
Thanks girls. I don't think it will be going anywhere just yet unless an international buyer contacts me. There's only a very small market for wildlife over here. The family certainly don't mind having it around!

07-13-2009, 05:28 PM
At last got in to see your work. Awesome.. is the word that comes to mind. Thanks also for explaining your techniques.. Will certainly try and catch your next WIP.

Thanks Fran

07-16-2009, 04:28 AM
:clap: :clap: :clap: Now THAT'S a powerful piece Leigh. LOVE the richness and lighting of this piece. That knife work is also a nice touch, adds an interesting texture to the piece. :thumbsup:

07-16-2009, 09:31 AM
Thanks Mitch, I really wanted to harness that raw power in the relaxed pose, showing the intensity of the cat and hinting at it's strength without any action.

07-16-2009, 01:23 PM
Very Dynamic! I love the strong light into shadow. Your son has a good eye! I can't wait to see this one finished!

07-18-2009, 09:41 AM
Thanks Pamela. He has a stellar eye and will be a force to be reckoned with when he gets a bit older. There's no doubt that he'll follow on my path given that he loves helping me on my works and going to the galleries!