The Big Yawn

Acrylic on canvas

The Big Yawn • 20″ x 16″

Alan took a photo of our cat I/O a few years ago with this amazing yawn. I’ve wanted to paint this for a while, but couldn’t decide on the right ratio. Square? Rectangular? It looked odd to crop it any more closely. I got an extra 20″ x 16″ canvas from my friend Jenny and opted to use it here.

It had great details: the colors, the ridges of the roof of the mouth, the curl of the tongue, and especially the little barbs. It also had an interesting blueish color cast from the lighting. Though I usually use ultramarine blue for the cooler tones, I switched to cerulean blue deep since that was closer to those colors. I like how the colors look together, so I might stick with this in the future.

I/O is unfortunately missing one of her top fangs now, after it got knocked out after a fight. Otherwise, she is just as (unintentionally) fierce, and is observing this as I write it.

Thanks for the canvas, Jenny!

Initial sketch

First tone

Yellow ochre

Second tone

Burnt sienna

Last warm tone

Burnt umber

I tried a different blue this time based on the blues in the shadows.

Cerulean blue deep

Started defining some of the background.

A little green

Began filling in the pinkish color of the mouth and tongue.

Pinkish mouth

Blues and darker tones to define more of the mouth.

Darker tones

Added highlights to the teeth and tongue hairs while defining more of the roof of the mouth.

Teeth and tongue

Filled in more detail all around for the hairs and whiskers.

Final details

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