I took the photo for this painting at the Reno Animal Ark, a wild animal rescue refuge. One of my favorite field trips. Taking the photo was easy. Painting the picture was hard. I had to try three times. "What could be so hard?" you may ask. My answer is, "I don't know. It just was."
I have painted Michel and Mamacita before, but separately, never together. In this one, I painted their faces the same way I do eyes, both at the same time. Even so, it is still twice as much work to paint two cats as it is to paint one.
A host of bright red poppies! How to paint each one and yet give the image a focal point. I think the thing to do is to make some of them touching to create a shape that draws the eye, leaving the others as supporting cast. Now I think of that. I painted what I saw and forgot I could move things around if I wanted to.
There was a riotous display of these Oriental poppies in the planter along the parking lot at my post office. I took lots of pictures, just random shots, not knowing if anything could come of it. There were hundreds of poppies, but I chose just these few petals to paint this time.
I am glad I tried these robins on the extreme rectangle. They would have been OK on a conventional format, but the extreme fit them fine I think. Their wonderful red breasts were so bright this spring.
These poppies grew in the parking lot of my local library. The way the front petal dipped over was as pretty as a picture. Poppies are delightful with their pure bright color, but the trouble in painting them comes in choosing a background color. Nature usually provides the perfect complement, but in painting nature, my work sometimes looks...not so good. Here I kept the colors mainly in the same family instead of going complementary. Maybe not so bad.
Cats are very cooperative models. They will lie still
or strike poses, but when you are lucky enough to get a good picture of them
doing something, like jumping, playing, or washing, it is even better. Mamacita
is my favorite model because she is so very white and her ears are so very orange. A real beauty. (Isn’t it interesting to try to paint pure
Painting from photographs can be tricky. The camera does not see as well as our eyes do to discern subtle variations in color and shadow. But when you try to paint from the black and white glamor photos from the 30's and 40's, it gets even trickier. The photographers would use back light, fill light, and I don't know what else. It is hard to know where the light source really is. Very tricky. But the beauty and glamor is thrilling to paint. I think I will never tire of it. Meanwhile, I get to work on my color theory. Nothing in a B&W to influence and confuse me.
As time goes by I hope to do better with likeness. Sometimes it comes so easily, and other times, not so much. I loved the angle in this pose. I naturally want to straighten and line up the features as I paint, but I did a pretty good job of leaving them on an angle this time.
This week's Daily Paintworks Challenge was to paint something that is beside your easel. I looked around and did not like the pots of brushes and trays of paints. What could I paint? Then I saw this little friend who holds my color wheel. He has never helped me paint a figure although I think that is the intention of this little tool. I just think he is cute and I like having him around. So I painted him. Here he is.
Imagine how restful it would be if all you had to do right now is lie in the sun. I liked the way the sun hit that little foot tucked underneath her with her other foot and tail hanging loosely and relaxed in the shadow. I almost chose to do just her face, but her whole pose captured my deeper interest.
If anyone were to ask me who this is, I would have to decline to answer. That is because I did not get the likeness and they would know I fell short of the mark. I did not try to fix it because I always worry about overworking the paint, and besides, as she became someone else I started to like her.