View Full Version : WIP: Blue Eyed Beauty

07-07-2010, 06:03 PM
I have been really into experimenting with cat eyes. I saw the eyes on this cat and I knew I wanted to capture it in pastels.

Anyone have any tips on how to avoid making smudges with the side of your hand? I put paper/tissue/etc. on spots I'm done with and will be leaning on and I still manage to get it dirty. Any C&C loved!

07-07-2010, 06:08 PM
Those eyes are beautifully done! You captured them allright!
No tips on avoiding smudges from me, I am the messiest pastellist ever. I always do a background to cover any smudges!

Susan Jenkins
07-07-2010, 06:12 PM
this is really going to be beautiful!! you have captured the eyes so well already! I would have liked to have seen more stages of just doing the eyes!
As far as the smudges go... I don't have much good advice. I'm pretty "smudgy" too. I'm primarily left handed, but work with my right at times. Sometimes I will switch hands to keep my hand off a certain area of the painting.
I think a few smudges are okay since pastels can be layered, but I guess it would be good to protect the lightest areas of the painting.
I'm looking forward to seeing more stages!!! going to be a beauty!

07-07-2010, 06:25 PM
Ruth, Susan: Thank you for the kind comments! Next time I do cat eyeballs I'll try and remember to take a photo after each layer. Actually I'll try and put that on my to-do list since it'd be something different to post in my blog :lol:
As for messy smudges...I'm mostly annoyed that no matter if I put paper over the eyes sometimes dust will get on it and I'll have to fix it. I guess that is just the risk with pastels.

07-07-2010, 06:41 PM
nice crop and perspective....re the smudge,
try and plan ahead as much as you can where your hand will have to be and draw on a plan of inner to outer top to bottom( for r hand l to right too)

other tip I use, I tape or clamp to the side of my board a piece of tracing paper or palette paper slick side down, so it wont move, then put my arm or hand on it...just laying it down means it can slide and muss up.. a harder slick surface disturbs less than a tissue.

07-07-2010, 06:56 PM
Using a maul stick can help to keep your hands off of the paper - you can find them at most of the art supply dealers on-line. Beautiful eyes - I can see why you wanted to paint them!


07-07-2010, 09:56 PM
Jessica, soo lovely - no wonder you couldn't resist them, what a fabulous job you have done. Never saw cat's eyes this colour and you have done them justice, so intricate I think I see some kidney issues -- he he.

Have a similar problem (smudging not kidney :) ) and am going to make a little stick with an end to rest my hand on, at the moment I rest the tip of one nail to do small work and that works until I get to absorbed in painting. Please show us this one finished. huni

07-08-2010, 07:03 AM
Looking good! No tips to avoid smudging particularly. In working with graphite I try to work from upper left to lower right (being right handed) and use a piece of paper under my hand (and a light touch). You can use all the techniques of painters I suppose - maul sticks and bridges and etc...

george c martins
07-08-2010, 10:54 AM

great work with the eyes...and the fur is coming out good.

keep going


07-09-2010, 03:51 PM
Thanks everyone for the encouraging comments and tips! I finished my blue eyed beauty earlier today. Again c&c welcome :)

07-09-2010, 04:41 PM
Well Done.

07-09-2010, 05:05 PM
Aw, he's so sweet, and the eyes are mesmerising!

You can do what you did, use paper to cover the painted areas. I take it you work on a table? It is much easier to avoid smudging when working on an easel, and a mahl-stick comes in handy there, if needed.


07-10-2010, 11:17 AM
Very Nice painting...something about the nose that seems off?

For me I paint right handed and I usually try to work from the upper left corner to the lower right corner or top to bottom or left to right. If I have a lot of area to go back over I might tape transfer paper over an area I might smudge. Sometimes I will cross over the painting with my left arm as a brace much like a mahl stick would be used. I am slao a sloppy painter and often times end up going back over a smudge.

07-12-2010, 06:32 PM
Great picture

07-12-2010, 09:46 PM
WOW! what a great portrate of a cat. his eyes are just amazingly masterful. love it.

07-12-2010, 10:16 PM
The eyes are striking! The expression on his face is wonderfully portrayed.

I wish I had a way to prevent smudges, but, alas, I don't. Count me amongst the messy painters.


07-12-2010, 11:17 PM
Wow, you did a wonderful job on him, and the eyes are some of the best I've seen.

I wonder if the support I used to paint wooden album tops in oils would work? I used a piece of hardboard 2.5"x14" with a 1"x1.5"x2.5" piece of wood on either end that I would place over the album top as I was painting. The albums were 11" wide so the support was wide enough to move around the wood so that I could angle my hand as I pleased. I never thought of using this for pastels until just now, but wonder if it wouldn't work for them as well. You would just need to get a thin piece of wood, wide enough for your hand to rest on comfortably and long enough to go beyond your paper on each side, attach (gluing would probably work) a couple of narrow "legs" to keep it up off the paper and it should help avoid the smudges. It would have to be sturdy enough that it wouldn't slouch down onto the paper from the weight of you hand, that is why I used hardboard. But any sturdy 1/4" board stock should work. You could get a piece pretty much pre-cut at Lowes or Home Depot in their oak or popular wood section and glue a small piece of wood, perhaps a dowl or even a peice of a pencil on each end. I think I'm going to try this on my next painting.

07-12-2010, 11:45 PM
there are nice passages here, speaking as an artist specializing in cats tho...have to say the nose is not reading right, and IMO marring the beauty of the cat. Since you haven't posted the ref I can't really help you, but how it wraps around and how it ends is the problem...no one else seems to mind tho so maybe not important.