I’ve had this idea in mind for some time, but this drawing was encouraged by the art exhibits I saw tonight at several galleries I visited. What I had in mind was just a faintly colored backdrop with a fair amount of neutral, and a small black cat in the lower right corner doing something catlike. In my visualization, the cat was bathing. Here, she is curled to sleep but alert.
It is actually Mimi on my lap, and I’ve had the idea for these miniature sketches but I’ve also wanted to add the background of some sort. I think I may do a few of these.
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What else was I sketching on this date?
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Mimi paused in her bath in the sun at the top of the stairs. I’d been waiting, sketchpad at the ready and conté crayon in hand, but trying to act cool about it lest she notice me and get up to greet me.
I named it “sanguine” for both Mimi’s presumed attitude and the shade of the conté crayon, pigmented with iron oxide, made of graphite and clay and pigment, but with more wax as a binder. That’s the traditional color, but two or three shades of brown are also typical with black and white. I also saw a multi-colored set that looked like hard pastels. I like the sanguine best—it carries dark areas but gives them a character.
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Curled on the Bed, 2012
What else to do on a lovely sunny afternoon but curl up in the sun on the bed? Well, some of us have to work, but kitties need their beauty sleep. They gave me a break from the computer when I decided they’d be today’s subject.
This was just as much about capturing all three, each of whom moved enough that they needed extra sketching, as it was about the bedding. I enjoyed the challenge of depicting the pattern on the postage-stamp quilt, each little square with its own pattern and color and the squares arranged in a repeating geometric pattern, as well as the pillow shams with the ruffled eyelet edging. How to render the details in pencil when much depends on color, and how much detail is just enough without drawing every little eyelet opening and every flower and line on each square? Very fun to let my hands figure it out without overthinking it, which is how I end up overdoing it.
I added a little more shading to Mimi, Jelly Bean and Mr. Sunshine since they are black, and I also liked their contrast against the quilt.
I love this particular vintage quilt because I love handmade things, and I use it as much for the background in photos and eventually paintings as just to enjoy its springtime feel. But I have to be careful with it and soon it will be gently soaked in the washer and dried outside in the shade on a warm sunny day to be put away for another spring.
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Giuseppe and Jelly Bean were sharing the same spot of sun on the landing today, contentedly tucked side to side, facing opposite directions. Jelly Bean looks like just a pile of something. Giuseppe at least has ears. They were absolutely fast asleep. Find this sketch or visit my gallery of daily sketches to see what’s available.
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Weekly schedule of features:
Sunday: Essays, Pet Loss, Poetry, The Artist’s Life
Monday: Adoptable Cats, TNR & Shelters
Tuesday: Rescue Stories
Wednesday: Commissioned Portrait or Featured Artwork
Thursday: New Merchandise
Friday: Book Review, Health and Welfare, Advocacy
Saturday: Your Backyard Wildlife Habitat, Living Green With Pets, Creating With Cats
And sometimes, I just throw my hands in the air and have fun!