Toby, Orange Maine Coon Cat, watercolor

Toby, Orange Maine Coon Cat, watercolor, 6.5" x 8.5"

This morning a watercolor student brought a photo of her Maine Coon cat and a couple of paintings she’d made of him. Her paintings were delightful and full of personality but she wanted to learn more to enhance her cat-painting abilities.

I thought it might be fun to play a sort of duet with paint, sitting side by side, painting together as if at a piano. I set palette and water between us, pinned the photo to the bulletin board in front of us, and we set up our boards with watercolor paper. I did some “thinking aloud” to demonstrate how I consider various options (glazing, wet-into-wet, layers or direct painting, etc.) to make a plan of attack before starting out. Then I tested out a couple of ideas on a piece of test paper and finally demonstrated one step at a time as she painted along.

We got about 2/3 of the way through painting the kitty before our session was up. I think my student got the help she needed to successfully complete her painting at home and I enjoyed finishing mine this afternoon.

I took some liberties with the background colors as you can see from the reference photo below and I’m not sure you’d necessarily recognize Toby from the painting but I sure had fun painting him.

Reference photo of Toby

Reference photo of Toby

Maine Coon Cats

I was curious about the Maine Coon breed (thinking erroneously about raccoons) and found some interesting tidbits. Maine Coons can be the size of small dogs, weighing up to 20 pounds, and are highly intelligent, playful and friendly, with big tufted feet. The legend says that British Captain Charles Coon sailed up and down the New England coasts in the 1800s and took some of his seafaring cats with him when he came into port. Those cats mated with resident felines and people referred to their offspring as “Coon’s cats.”

Advertisements
Category:
Animals, Painting
Tags:
, , , , ,

Join the conversation! 18 Comments

  1. oh I like this one! So sweet…I had no idea Main Coons could be orange. You captured him very well…

    Like

    • I was surprised too. Apparently the breeders call the color red, not orange, but in the photo he’s definitely orange. Apparently all orange kitties are boys, just like all calicoes are girls. Jana

      Like

      • Hello……….i have 8 beautifull mainecoon cats and two of those are red mackeral tabbys, this means they have lines down the legs and in the maine coon colours they are classed as red even tho they look orange, i have one male and one female…father and daughter but i have bred girl reds before too so its not rare these days.

        Like

  2. I agree with Cathy: I love the portrait of Toby!

    Like

  3. Another beautiful painting! You are talented Yana. I will come back to see more of paintings.

    Like

  4. You really captured Toby’s likeness and what a fun painting lesson! Our boy cat is named Toby and the vet told us that his name is unusual; the name being used for dogs more often than for cats.

    Maine Coons do get awfully large but their fur can be really gorgeous. I have never seen a “red” one before so thanks for that shot.

    Like

  5. Wow! What a wonderful painting, and what a great opportunity to sit and paint alongside you. Now I have another thing to add to my bucket list!!!

    Like

  6. Jana: this is one of my favorites of your paintings! We have two cats and two dogs, all of which I have tried to paint, but results have been disappointing. Your painting will serve as a starting point for me. I believe one of our cats is also a Maine Coon…at least he qualifies in the weight and personality categories.

    Like

  7. What a gorgeous cat. Your painting is very special -how I’d love to have been there with you too!

    Like

  8. This is the best picture of a cat that I ever saw. Particularly I love his little sleeping black eyes.

    Like

  9. I would have loved to be watching that lesson! This turned out great! Also, thanks for the info on the cat. I just went and looked at some google images of them, and wow!, they’re huge!

    Like

  10. I agree with Raena, wish I could have been in that class watching the side-by-side duet! Gorgeous painting!

    Like

  11. Jana, that is gorgeous!! Really nice values (my current obsession)

    I love Maine Coons and even thought about getting one when our last cat died, but it scares me to own an animal that costs so much mone. I’d be afraid it would get stolen.

    Like

    • Values are my current obsession too. I’m beginning to see how they can make a painting Work or Wimpy. I went to an exhibit recently of paintings done over a year in a special garden by a group of painters, mostly watercolor. Some were ho-hum, most were nice but a few were WOW! And why? The Wow’s all had great value range, with great darks.

      For some reason I’ve always been afraid of darks and now I’m getting braver. I think it is exactly those darks that made the cat painting work. It sounds really silly to be afraid of darks but I guess it’s because with watercolor once you’ve committed to a dark it’s pretty impossible to change your mind. Working in oils and acrylics has been helping me to get over that.

      Jana

      Like

    • P.S. My student’s Maine Coon was adopted from a shelter and I don’t think they are expensive around here, but I guess I don’t really know. It never occurred to me that people buy cats, I’ve always adopted from rescue agencies, but obviously they must for fancy breeds, just like people do to get purebred dogs. Jana

      Like

  12. Very nice painting =) the color changes you made to the background made a big difference.

    Like

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: