Intermediate Watercolor October 2023 – Session 4

Thursday November 2 2023 – 1pm-3pm EST

Zoom link (Passcode 189664)

We will all need to buckle up and come prepared with emergency rations. This week its a cat!

Drawing is paramount for this type of subject and especially the face. If we get that wrong we’ll be in all sorts of trouble from the outset. I’ll be taking special care over the drawing and the video I’ll show you how I check the drawing on my ipad/desktop to check for blunders.

I will record the drawing ahead of time and send out a link to it (it will also be on the youtube playlist too). Please come ready with the drawing done.

(All session materials are linked off the main page)


  • Student paper for mixing color swatches
  • 100% cotton paper for the full painting (I’ll be using 10″x”10. I wouldn’t go any smaller than this).
  • Value scale (See the Useful Tools page)
  • Pencil/Paint/Palette/Water/Paper towels/masking tape
  • Brushes: Two medium sized brushes for the main areas. One for putting paint on and one for softening edges. Size 10 or 12. A smaller brush for details and whiskers.
  • Colors: Ultramarine, Burnt sienna, Vermillion/napthol/cad red (orangey red).

Reference Photo (click to enlarge and right click to download)

Reference Photo with grid

My current version. It’s a little brown as my printer needs calibrating and is skewing red. This is more of a study/finding out painting. I was trying out different ways of doing the stripes which I’ll talk about in the session.

intermediate watercolor october 2023 - session 4 cat

The same image but with the color altered slightly to reflect the reference more.

Color altered cat watercolor - session 4 intermediate watercolor October 2023
Color altered cat watercolor


Drawing Video

YouTube player

Class recording

YouTube player

My Class Version

tabby cat class painting by Michele Clamp
tabby cat class painting by Michele Clamp

20 thoughts on “Intermediate Watercolor October 2023 – Session 4

  1. tough class today, but I learned so much! Attaching my finished piece, but will need to try this one again. Thank you for pushing me out of my comfort zone 🙂

    1. What a wonderful cat. Those stripes are gorgeous and you’ve got a fantastic sense of form in the body. If I could say anything I would take extra care in the face drawing. There’s something about the angle and length of the nose that doesn’t look quite right. It’s a small difference but small differences are really noticeable in faces.

      And how are you finding working with pans? Do you fill them up with tube paint or do you buy them ready make?

  2. I got behind in class so just finished mine now. Will try again, but there are always some things I like and some things to work on for every painting. I am slowly catching on to how you soften edges and make most everything sort of blurry. Need to practice the leaks off of the edge of the subject. Can’t think of what you call them now.
    Thanks for showing us how to use the Canva tool.

      1. Really really good job. That cat has a definite presence and a lovely shape to the back. Nice stripes too. The ‘blurry’ process I think I call losing edges. I got that phrase from Charles Reid I think.

  3. Very challenging but fun at the same time. I wish I’d taken a little more care around the mouth and I put down the eye pupil too fast. It’s a little off. Finished it today as well:)

  4. So my jug disappeared into the background and the fruits are a bit past their best and have splodged everywhere

    My brush and water weren’t clean so when I wet the tablecloth to put in the fabric folds that too became a muddy mess

    So a fun exercise – but not a favourite topic of mine so I’ll probably practice all the others in preference!!

    1. I actually like the jug disappearing and I think it’s a lot more successful than you think. You’re right the cloth isn’t quite there but I rather like the splodginess of the fruit. And the fruit colors are strong and have a good sense of light and shadow. Really nice.

  5. And I’ve had a go at the cat – I really enjoyed this tutorial – I think my softening still needs a lot of work – but overall – it looks like a tabby cat so I’m pretty happy with him!

    1. Now that’s a happy cat isn’t it!! Lovely job. Good drawing – you really get a sense of the shape of the head and that furthest eye peeking out. And very glad you enjoyed it.

  6. Well, I fiddled and fiddled with this. The more I fiddled, the worse it seemed to get. I had trouble balancing the amount of pigment and water, too light or too dark. At one point, I actually liked the fur despite the rather indefinite stripes, but the magic moment never came. In the end, when I decided to add the whiskers, my Dr. Ph Martin’s Bleedproof white was nearly dry. I added water but it seems the background itself was too light. Cheers!


    1. Ah yes the magic moment. Sometimes (often?) it never comes. But that’s a lovely cat although I can see where you struggled with the stripes. And you’re right – overall a little too light. But there is a definite light side and dark side so the form is there. The face is good – a definite personality (slightly more pensive than some of the others).

  7. A lot of nice-looking cats above! I finished mine today. as i often do i went over it too much in places. But I really enjoyed the stripes, and may now have the courage to try painting my tortoiseshell cat, Gilly.

        1. Yes that does work well. Just enough. Any more and you might lose the expression. I find I have to monitor almost every stroke when working on the head. Do a stroke, lean back and see if it works and if it needs more. Repeat and then stop when it’s working. You can always come back and do some more later. But often it doesn’t need it.

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