This is my first attempt at painting leopard in a non-traditional color. See below to see the step-by-step on how to paint a basic leopard pattern. Here is the wood in it's unfinished state. The vendor was Scott's Stuff from Blanket, Texas. He doesn't have a web site, unfortunately. He had a wide range of unfinished wood crosses, and you could just choose the shapes you wanted.
Next, I added the leopard pattern to the largest cross.
Leopard is actually very easy to paint. Normally, you would use three colors - a tan color for the background, and a brown and black for the pattern. Here, I used a robin's egg blue for the background, and then a buttermilk for the pattern. I mixed the background and buttermilk colors for the center of the pattern to get a bit more dimension to the pattern. Here is how to paint leopard:
Start with a rough oval shape. I have used Buttermilk to paint it for this demo, but on the cross, I mixed the Buttermilk with my background color for the actual cross.
For the pattern around it, you want to surround the original oval. I usually paint two or three lines around it, with space in between, and without completely surrounding the oval. I used a stipple brush to get a fur effect. That's it, just repeat - but be sure to make each one face in a different direction.
For the second cross, I wanted to add more color, but to also add texture. One of the best way I've found to do this is to add a Satin varnish over a matte base. For this, I used a damask pattern stencil, and spray varnish.
Simply place the stencil, hold it down, and spray. Keep going (you may want to let the varnish dry a bit if you get it on thick, otherwise you will be placing the stencil over wet varnish when you move it.)
You can see the subtle pattern that is created.
Here is the finished cross with the damask pattern all over it.
For the third cross, I freehand painted a stylized zebra pattern. I felt like I wanted to bring in another animal print to bring context to the leopard print, but I wanted it to be very muted.
With a round brush, I freehand painted the design using a sand colored paint (DecoArt).
This is the finished pattern. After it dried, I put a spray varnish on it (Satin), to seal the design. I did the same on the first (largest) cross.
When everything was dry, I used clear Tacky Glue to glue the crosses in place.
The great thing about Tacky Glue is that you have a little time to make sure your placement is centered, and it dries clear.
So . . . that's it so far! Watch this space to see the finished cross!