Sunday, February 3, 2013

"Wilson's Bed of Roses" - a painting in-progress

Again, it has been a while since I last posted here. I've been posting more on my Facebook business page but I've wondered if I should be posting parallel entries here. I also have a  regular website that I'm updating, and I'm going into my third year with a shop on Etsy. For now, anyone wanting to see my most recent painting activity might want to check out my Facebook business page at

Things have been super busy in the studio with several oil paintings approaching finish. And when I'm not in the studio or researching/writing proposals for public art projects, I'm teaching art once a month at each of several rural schools here in central Montana.

Here is the latest work in-progress (Saturday evening's studio session.) I've titled it "Wilson's Rose Bed" for the cat who inspired this. Wilson is an older cat who is missing his left front leg -- making him a special needs feline when it comes to adoption.
The painting is not yet finished (no whiskers and a few other details yet to come) but is at a stage that I'd like to share. First photo is the entire work thus far (it is oil on stretched canvas, 16 x 18 inches.)  The four photos after are details. Click on photos to see larger version. Enjoy!

(Above) The fabric Wilson is sitting on (and the rose he "holds") is invented at the easel. I feel like this could be a bed with the blankets turned down and this is a flower print sheet - his "rose bed."

(Above & Below) I built up multiple layers of paint over several weeks (months, really, since I usually have several works in-progress at any given time, so the rotation through can take weeks) The effect approaches capturing atmosphere/light and is especially evident around Wilson's ears.


(Below) I enjoy making details in a work by pulling on my memory of various objects, in this case a simple single rose.

Eyes are my favorite part of any portrait (animals and people too) and Wilson's eyes are compelling enough to make you almost not notice that I've yet to add his whiskers.

My last post, immediately prior to this one, was in January. To access it, click 2013/January in the Blog Archive in the right column on this page to view Clark Kent Super Kitty or click this word: Clark


Thursday, January 10, 2013

Clark Kent - Super Kitty

It's been a while since my last post here -- which means I've been busy in the studio. One of my special projects is the subject of this post: A handsome orange tabby named Clark Kent. He is a rescued cat from the streets of Philadelphia, where he'd been tossed and left to die in a miserable and painful state. Nursed back to as good a health as possible, he now lives in a loving home where he'll be well cared for by his human "mom." I read about him on Modern Cat Magazine's online Cover Cat Contest (and have been voting for him as much as possible.) From the information/comments on Modern Cat, I read the articles about his rescue and then also discovered he has a Facebook page too! I'll put links at the end of this post for those who want to know more about Clark Kent (nicknamed Clark.)

Clark's story reminded me of an incident I experienced as a small child, visiting Philadelphia with my parents. Sitting in the car, waiting for my parents to return and watching the pouring rain. I spotted a very wet and distressed orange tabby near the curb. It was all balled up on itself, the way cats do when they are trying very hard to not get wet and have no shelter to go to. As I watched, a youth and two adults passed by and the youth kicked the cat. The adults were either oblivious or didn't care, and the three continued on until they were out of sight. For days I found myself thinking about that orange cat and how I would have let it snuggle on my warm bed and each time my eyes welled up with tears but I couldn't tell my parents why--or maybe they simply didn't understand. Well, that was a long time ago, but it seemed not so distant when I looked at the photos of Clark and read his story, another orange tabby in Philadelphia.

I decided to paint a portrait of Clark. It's oil on birch panel, 19 1/2  inches high by 21 1/2 inches wide. I haven't titled it yet, though I rather like something along the lines of "Urban Cat and Mouse." I worked towards achieving a "folk art" feel about it because it seems to connect better to the childhood incident I mentioned in the previous paragraph; something not so polished but more sincere and true to the basic feelings involved.

As soon as this painting is dry enough to ship safely, it will find it's home with Clark. I hope Clark approves.
Click on the photos below to see a larger version of each.

 Below: Close-up -- I enjoy painting eyes and especially cat eyes. In this close-up you can see the sketchy quality of line I used to define the darker reddish tones in the fur.

Below: The mouse. One of the photos of Clark on his Facebook page shows him playing with a toy mouse (or at least that's what it looks like -- sometimes it's hard to tell what some cat toys are "suppose" to be.)

Below: Another detail section showing the sketchy quality of brush strokes in a linear way to suggest the type of fur Clark has.

Here are the links to Clark's information at  Modern Cat cover cat contest and the article about his Rescue and his Facebook page