This little grey kitty was spontaneously painted on a 4×4″ panel I had lying around. He has such clear eyes, such a sincere expression, what’s not to love?
The panel I used was primed with lead primer (don’t worry, it’s perfectly safe unless you start chewing on the edges!) which is especially wonderful to paint upon. The paint slides over the surface in a unique way that is just . . . so sublime. The primer I used was Holbein’s “Foundation” oil color, I believe the umber-tinted one. I love Holbein’s foundation line, which includes a white, a grey, a sage green, and a beige (tinted with umber).
I like painting on small panels sometimes because less is more, and usually it can be done (or almost done, in this case) in one sitting! It gives you a feeling of accomplishment to do a new painting almost every day, right?
This painting has been simmering on the backburner for about a month. I set it aside after doing the first stage, worked on some other paintings for a while, and finally decided to complete it.
The green background (grass and foliage) gave a green cast to the cat’s fur. Quite a challenge! Without the background color of grass green, the colors bouncing off the kitty would not make any sense! This is a beautiful tortoiseshell/calico kitty with clear, green eyes that reflect the green of the background.
This painting was the one that caused the damage to The Brush. I have a favorite paintbrush, entitled “The Brush” because it is THE go-to brush that I grab often during my painting. It was so loved, so relied on, so adored, that its beautiful handle snapped off in my hand as I was working on “Cat in the Grass.” There’s still enough of a handle left so I can continue to use it, but it’s also starting to show wear elsewhere. (I guess I am hard on The Brush. I do wash my brushes religiously, but I guess something about how I use The Brush is contributing to its gradual demise.)
The Brush is probably just a simple sable Bright (size 6) but I have bonded with this specific, particular brand of brush, so I’m afraid to deviate to any other type, because maybe it’s not quite like The Brush. My source for The Brush is The Italian Art store, their own label (which I’m sure is actually made by some other brush maker and stamped with The Italian Art Store’s name). So since I am hard on The Brush, I must order duplicate The Brushes, so I am never without a supply!
I’m doubling up on the cat heads for this post. Lots of cat head painting going on. I’ve been enjoying it very much!
While it might not be evident by looking at the paintings, I was trying a looser hand with both of these pieces. I often used a bigger brush through most of the painting process. One of my teachers, Adam Clague, imparts the wisdom to use a paintbrush that “seems too large,” because that’s just the right size. I think he’s on to something! 😉
Though I did get into the details a lot too (which I don’t think is necessarily bad) I think that “less is more” and I don’t want to paint every little molecule of detail. Some artists do that exceedingly well and beautifully, but it just isn’t the direction I’m heading in.
I also enjoyed capturing the various colors observed in these kitty heads. Who knew that a simple white ruff on a cat’s chest could contain so much color? It truly is amazing. I do so love painting these kitties!
My latest effort. This was done on the “Artist” panel by Ampersand. A good panel, classified as “budget,” but also still archival. I have a lot of these panels. It has a dovetail slot in the back, so it can be hung as-is on the wall, or slapped in a frame. I love the dovetail slot feature, which is why I’ve stockpiled a lot of these boards. They are about 3/8″ to 1/2″ thick (I think 3/8″) and the sides of the panel are painted a complementary color, so if they are hung unframed, the edges of the board look finished (somewhat reminiscent of “gallery wrap” canvases, which can also be left unframed).
I enjoyed this painting and think the model is very striking. She’s great fun to paint. So dramatic! Her skin is so pale and light, I confess I had trouble capturing that adequately with my color mixing. I think I made her a bit more “pink” than she was in the reference photo, but hopefully she’s not too ruddy or flushed. (All monitors are calibrated differently, but on my computer display, she doesn’t look too red-skinned.)
Another month, and some new works! Yes, there has been a lapse of paintings for this blog. It was a busy few weeks. But I’ve still been hard at work, painting!
This cat head painting was a particular challenge, because of all the . . . splotches. Our family calls calico/tortoiseshell kitties “splotched” kitties, because of all the multitude of colors. Well, actually my dad called these type of cats “multi-color.” We can’t just call them “calicos,” now can we? 😉
The challenge in this painting was representing the splotches on the surface of the cat, while still representing the form and dimension. I hope I succeeded in that. It certainly did make me think, as I painted!
In addition, here’s a work in progress painting. Hopefully it’ll be done in a day or two. Not much to say yet about this one, other than I’ve enjoyed the drama drama drama of the pose!