Monday, July 11, 2011

Recent change of subject: Cats

Well, this has been an interesting week. Clouds and landscapes continue to be my dominant subject but cats are slinking in here and there. Cats have always been in some of my studio work, but as the third year since Canuck's passing draws near there seems to be a growing need to paint cats - especially black cats. The portrait of Vern the orange tabby (see my previous post) set the ball rolling to try other colors and patterns of cats. Following are three studies painted with ordinary acrylic water-based wall paint using only red, yellow, blue and white (and a small dash of black here and there at the finish.)

This first painting measures 6 x 8.5 inches. 
Very little actual black paint is used. My challenge was to paint a black cat without using black as the main color. 
This is a memory sketch of Neko and how she looks so intense with her ears turned back so sharply that they look like little horns on her head. She cuts this expression when she's deciding whether to grab something (usually me) or spit or tear off in the opposite direction. She usually vocalizes the instant she has made up her mind what to do and then springs into action!
I like the sketchy quality I'm getting out of the wall paints and the immediacy of them--they dry so quick I can layer lines and color fields almost immediately and build up texture qualities. This is great because that means the paint is able to "keep up" with my thought process and nothing is slowed down. This painting consumed just five minutes. 
At the right is a detail section from the work  The layers of lines and colors are very visible. I might change the background color a bit when I go back to the studio tomorrow, but possibly I will decide to leave it as it is and sign the work. This painting is titled "Seeing the Unseen."

Click on the images to see them larger. 

This next work (also in wall paint with just the colors mentioned earlier) is a cute little tuxedo cat that belongs to a member of a group I belong to. Again, this is a quickly done painting - about 15 minutes. I title this one simply "Tux with Bell."
The painting measures 6 x 6 inches. I especially like the asymmetry of the white blaze on his face. Again, the layering of lines and colors was lots of fun and the fast drying paints let me work continuously without stopping. My brain and hand were able to work in complete immediate unison.
I'm satisfied with how the eyes appear -- exhibiting a certain amount of "depth" similar to what can be accomplished in oil paint. But wall paint is totally opaque so to get the effect of glazes it was a matter of getting the colors "right" in relationship (value and hue) to each other within the eye.
The little gold jingle bell around this cat's neck is a nice touch. I treated the white bib as a wash and overlapped the black with it to suggest the intermingling of white and black hair.

This last painting is of Sierra's cat named K.C. Like Vern in my earlier post,, as they say, on the other side of the rainbow bridge. The reference was a small image on Sierra's photo pod (or whatever those things are called.) Not a great reference photo but good enough to see the main marking/color patterns and general shape of this cat. Sierra said K.C. did not like having his photo taken and he shows it by holding his head downward and turning one ear back.
This was another 15 minute painting in wall paint. Like the other works in this posting, this is on canvas paper.
And, like the others, only the three primary colors and white are used along with just a few accent marks in black. This work is signed, as I considered it complete at the end of the session. The paper it was painted on had an incomplete single still life object on it from a painting session the previous evening. A slight hint of the object impacts the blue above the cat's head and gives the appearance of a halo - appropriate for a departed cat. Below is a close up detail from this work.
 One final note: As with all my art, these works are free-hand and drawn/painted with a hog bristle brush.

No comments:

Post a Comment