Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Sun spot

Sun spot, oil painting of Maine Coon cat sitting in the sun, a pet portrait by Karen
Happy New Year, everybody and welcome to the other side of Christmas. No sooner had we eaten the sprouts and finished the washing-up than the TV was filled with adverts of merry, fit-looking people enjoying themselves in sun-kissed holiday hotspots. Well, no kissing sun here. But it was an incentive to try and paint this cat doing what cats do so well: bathing in the one accessible ray of sunshine.
The reference photo is by Ariane Kraemer from Paint My Photo. I have had 4 attempts over 6 months at painting this beautiful cat; 3 wipers and a 4th effort which was both a wiper and a re-gesso-the-board job. 
I am still unsure why I found it so hard. This is a vexing question, frankly. Advice to artists is always to "let the painting tell you what it needs" or words to that effect. Well, my experience now is that the painting rarely goes beyond saying "I need SOMETHING and I need it now. You figure out what". It can take me quite a long time. This one took 6 months to resolve. I decided the main issue was the extreme contrast - which I have exaggerated quite a bit for dramatic effect. It was causing me two problems both of which resulted in MUD. First, I got in a muddle with my warm vs cool colours and second I was not as careful as needed about separating the darks from the lights, causing muddle instead of drama. 
This cat looks so like my own cat when blissed out, though, that I am glad I persevered.