Funny, when I looked at this photo the first thing I thought was, “If I saw Kelly like this today, this would be a daily sketch.” Aha, I see a little farther into this that I was getting the daily sketch urge this far back in 2011, yet it took me until December to actually get around to it. Glad I did. As usual, I have a cat to thank for one of my creative efforts.
Kelly shapes herself into a graceful curve in mid-bath as I open the refrigerator door.
I don’t give my cats milk very often, but Kelly gets on these kicks where she demands it whenever I open the refrigerator door. I don’t usually give it to her, but I guess it doesn’t hurt to ask because every now and then, on my silly whim, out comes the little milk dish and Kelly gets a treat.
But Kelly is just so pretty here bathing gracefully in front of the plants. In fact, Kelly is graceful no matter what she does.
And I think it may be time for me to grab that sketchbook as often as the camera since I’ve been visualizing sketches and paintings in greater detail every day. I used to sketch something each day, often it was my cats though it might be an interior scene or something in my yard, usually in pencil, but sometimes in other media, just to keep my fingers in the mix. So much has happened in the last few months it’s been difficult to focus on quick sketches, which demand more attention than larger works, though for shorter periods of time.
So I decided to use a little help from PhotoShop to see what Kelly would look like in a rough, impressionistic sketch. I used the same photo as above, applied the “dry brush” filter and made the brush strokes fairly large. But the filters in PhotoShop don’t produce a realistic effect. If I was teaching I would grade the products of PS filters around the mid-range, but then it’s a computer making the decisions, and creative effort is one area of human endeavor where a computer will never produce work as individual and insightful as a human being.
For instance, I work in pastel, but I’ve never seen anyone produce a pastel sketch or painting anything like what PS produces with its “rough pastels” filter, but the “dry brush” filter is somewhat like what I’d visualize in pastel. But it looked a little dull so I also had to fool around with the contrast and brightness, and I also added a 35% deep yellow “photo filter” to warm it up a bit.
Still, I want highlights and deep rich areas, and I want to see orange in Kelly and green in the plants and it just wasn’t happening, even when I went back and adjusted the original photo. I think I’d also take the red from the medallion at the top and from the bricks and add it elsewhere in the painting so everything wasn’t in basic earth tones. Those are the artistic judgments I’d make before I even started, and it never ceases to amaze me how far I wander from my reference images while painting, and yet the finished painting is perfectly acceptable. Guess I’d better get out the pastels. In the time I’d spent on this I could have had a passable sketch done! But still, this gets the little painterly cells firing in my brain. And right now Kelly is over there meowing for her dinner, so I’d better get to it.
Yes, I’d better get to it!
And from 2012, “Kelly With Grapes and Apple”
Kelly is on a roll with these late afternoon baths on the cabinet in front of the window. She is lovely in all her poses, long legs dancing around, tail curving gracefully, her very shape a focal point.
Here I really did try to get one of her similar to Kelly with Squashes and perhaps even Kelly with Apples and Scale, prowling around the kitchen with my camera to get just the right angle. Because it’s not just the shot but what’s in the background and I really didn’t want my crusty ancient refrigerator with all the refrigerator magnets, or the cars parked on the street seen through the window, and the sun had to be shining on the green compote with the fruit, and shadows had to fall across the wood, but mostly Kelly had to be at the right angle to the sun, in one of her interesting and elegant shapes, partly in silhouette and partly illuminated. And the center of my kitchen is dominated by the big white cabinet and a table and chairs so I have a little path and can’t quickly get from here to there to catch Kelly in a classic pose as she twirls or my movements startle her. And then one of the other cats wants in the still life and it all falls apart. So if anyone finds it difficult to get interesting photos of their cat, they are absolutely correct, it’s often nearly impossible, but very much worth it for one good shot.
I couldn’t get the sideways angle I wanted, so I took one from above because the scene was actually quite interesting from my viewpoint. I am not this tall. I held the camera (that big DSLR) above my head, pointed, let it self-focus and hoped for the best. It’s nice.
Browse some rescued cats and kittens!
All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check my Etsy shop or Fine Art America profile to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit Ordering Custom Artwork for more information on a custom greeting card, print or other item.