Painting “Sleepyhead,” step 5 (developing fur)

(Note: Did you miss Steps 1-4? Search for “Sleepyhead!”)

Step 5

Tackling the chin, shadows. I need to work on the shadow between the paws a bit more, but I am starting to see a nice contrast forming to the right of his eye. The floor reflection comes next. I am almost positive I will be tweaking the overall fur a bit more, too. 🙂

Let me know what you think of my painting by leaving a comment below. Thanks!

Painting “Sleepyhead,” step 4 (enhancing fur)

(Note: Did you miss Steps 1-3? Search for “Sleepyhead!”)

Step 4

I’ve let the painting dry a bit, so that I can utilize the “fat over lean” method of applying paint.

Moving away from ultramarine blue for a short time, I take some time to build up the softer passages in his cheek and shoulder with cadmium orange and permalba white, taking note of the subtle value change between the cast shadow and the light source highlighting his upper shoulder blade. This is where Photoshop or another image program can really help. When I convert the color reference photo to gray-scale, I can see the contrast shift changes without  color influencing the painting. Color can sometimes distort how much, or how little, contrast exists between the head and the shoulder.

I’ll be tackling the chin, shadows, and the floor reflection next. Let me know what you think of my painting by leaving a comment below. Thanks!

Painting “Sleepyhead,” step 3 (fur beginnings)

(Note: Did you miss Steps 1-2? Search for “Sleepyhead!”)

Step 3

Keeping the warm color scheme, I’ve moved on to the fur. Again, using a tiny bit of Ultramarine Blue and Cadmium Orange (I combine cadmium Yellow and Cadmium Red for this demonstration), I block in the general areas where the fur is orange. I will add detail later with a liner brush. Sleepy’s eye also gets added, using a mix of cadmium Yellow and Ultramarine Blue.

Painting “Sleepyhead,” step 2 (background)

(Note: If you missed Step 1, you can check it out here.)

Step 2

Using the suggestion of Mikki Senkarik, I work from background to foreground, opting for a warm color scheme throughout the entire piece. Using a mix of Ultramarine Blue and Cadmium Orange (I combine cadmium Yellow and Cadmium Red for this demonstration), Pull strokes up and down in the foreground, intending to show a semi-shiny floor with reflections.

Painting “Sleepyhead,” step 1

Step one of Michael Brugh's oil painting, "Sleepyhead."

Step 1

A new kitty. I liked the reflection of the orange and white cat on the smooth surface, plus the contrast between the warm bright colors and the darker background. I probably put more details in than I needed, but I invariably need more reference after I get started, and having it on the page is better. I can always simplify the drawing during the transfer to canvas.

“Blackie,” step 4 (finis)

Blackie, 6x6, oil, Michael Brugh, artist, 2016

Blackie, 6×6, oil

(Note: Updated with high-resolution scan of the painting. -MB)

Step 4

(Once again, apologies for the slightly out-of-focus photo.)

All done. I will upload a much better image of this painting once it has dried a bit more. I will be including this painting as the first in a series of cat paintings I am working on for C.A.T.S Gallery, in Mobile, AL. (Clever name, huh? It stands for Creative Artistic Treasures Studio.) They have a Facebook page, here, and, if you are in Mobile, AL, would love to have you stop by. Tell Shery that Michael said “Hi!”

“Blackie,” step 3 (fur)

Step 3

Sorry for the slightly out-of-focus photo. (Note to self: buy a decent SLR ASAP!)

Fur is coming along, but I am thinking that the bottom portion of the painting needs a little something. Drama, darkening? Tune in to step 4.


“Blackie,” step 2 (background)

Step 2

I got so caught up in mixing and painting that I finished the background before I remembered to take in-progress photos! Oh well, I am glad I snapped this pic, before I started on the fur. 🙂


“Blackie,” step 1

Step 1

I chose this reference photo because it reminded me of our sweet cat Blackie. The contrast between the background and the fur intrigued me, as well. I decided to simplify the background by removing the railing in my sketch.


“Shimmering Solitude,” 6×6, oil


All finished.

“Shimmering Solitude.” Here is a better picture since the paint is dry to the touch. It’s also available. Just drop me a note if you are interested in buying it. If you would rather buy a print, click here. Thanks for reading!

What do you think? Let me know in the comments below!