Featured Artwork: “Hawkeye on the Glider” or “Summer Living”

"Hawkeye on the Glider" or "Summer Living", gouache on watercolor paper, 7" x 9", 1993 © Bernadette E. Kazmarski
“Hawkeye on the Glider” or “Summer Living”, gouache on watercolor paper, 7″ x 9″, 1993 © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

It’s time to profile another cat painting from way back in my history.

This painting has always hung in my studio because I framed it way back when, so I’ve been glancing at it for 23 years and finally decided it was time to give this guy his due, and to get back to my plans for it.

Though this painting might seem current because it contains a black cat and it’s flowery and colorful, I actually painted it in 1993, so the cat is neither one of my current housepanthers, nor is he my Kublai, or any one of my fosters. This was actually an experimental portrait style I wanted to try oh so long ago with a photo of a friend’s cat; it was not commissioned, but something I chose to do on my own. I had been studying the detailed and decorative feline art of so many of the artists from the 60s, 70s and 80s, well, all my life, and as I’d finally achieved a certain amount of skill and confidence with my realistic pastel, pencil and ink portraits, I really wanted to loosen up and start creating that other style of art I’d been visualizing all along.

When I saw this photo of Hawkeye on the glider with those floral cushions what you see was pretty much what I visualized, just a flowery background with a cat in it, and a black cat, a good way for me to start working with cats and patterns when the cat was a solid color and especially that classic cat silhouette. I decided for that painting not to cover the entire background with the flower pattern as I’d initially decided because I also liked some of the wispy flowers and buds and leaves in the pattern and wanted to soften the edges with that.

I was just experimenting with watercolor, and though I felt I could create this in watercolor I didn’t feel entirely confident I could control it enough to get the tight details. I chose to use gouache, a medium I knew many illustrators used and which I felt would give me the opacity and intensity I wanted for this. I’d used it once before in a drawing class in college, but there was no time like right then to experiment.

Detail of "Hawkeye on the Glider".
Detail of “Hawkeye on the Glider”.

Sure, there were and are somethings I’d change, but overall I was very pleased with what I accomplished, and still am.

But the woman who owned the cat thought I would be doing a detailed portrait as per my usual and was disappointed, and she did not like the style at all. It wasn’t commissioned so meeting a customer’s expectations wasn’t critical, and I liked it quite a bit. But I was just impressionable enough that I didn’t want to show it to anyone else, and I didn’t follow up with other similar paintings I had planned and had even taken the photos to paint, not because she didn’t like it, but for reasons I’ll explain below. I had just gotten an oval and circle mat cutter and decided to experiment on cutting a decorative mat for my decorative art, framed it and hung it in my studio.

"Hawkeye on the Glider" or "Summer Living" with mat.
“Hawkeye on the Glider” or “Summer Living” with mat.

I didn’t hesitate to create similar paintings only because of her comments, and it wasn’t really her comments but the fact that others might feel the same way too. I’ve always seen my art through a business eye as well as my personal career, and back then I was still working a very busy day job and even had a part time job too as I’d just bought my house and I still had a few more expensive repairs to pay for. I had such limited time that I chose my next works based not only on what I visualized and wanted to do and learn, but also on what people might want to buy. I desperately wanted to drop the part time job  and have more time for painting, possibly even find a different full time job with more predictable hours as well, but that would only happen if art began to sell. So when I  thought about spending several days on a painting, I usually opted for one that might bring income. Part of me has always believed, though, that if I’d followed this path, I might have arrived there a little faster.

I still make those choices today, though I’m not as strict. I have planned exhibits for subjects and styles I could experiment with and explore and easily present in a context, and also set myself up for daily cat sketches at a time when I desperately needed a refresher for skills I felt I was losing, and skills I wanted to develop.

But you haven’t seen the end of “Hawkeye on the Glider” or “Summer Living” or whatever I decide to finally call it and what I end up creating from it, and you will see more of this style too. Over the past few years as I’ve organized my studio I have found many of the photos I took with this intention and the visuals are still right there, and even better for 23 years of experience. After I complete the current portrait commissions, or possibly in between, I’m going to start on another one. Purple roses and white cat this time…

Where to find this artwork

Not so fast! It’s not up on Portraits of Animals yet because I like to work out a few different prints and maybe a canvas before I post new art, though my test prints look great and I’m pretty sure the greeting cards will look wonderful too. And the keepsake boxes…this just meows and purrs “keepsake box”. But if you are interested I can post just the artwork for now and catch up with gift items and cards later.


Read about other Featured Artwork

Each Wednesday I feature a piece of artwork: commissioned artwork, portraits in progress, paintings of my own cats, feline-themed commercial works, creating a product from my artwork and artwork from my archives. Choose the categories featured artwork.


Click here to see daily sketches, click here to see daily photographs

click here to see other artwork featured on The Creative Cat

or visit Fine Art and Portraiture on my main website.


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Copyright

All images and text used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission, although links to your site are more than welcome and are shared. Please ask if you are interested in using and image or story in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of an image or a product including it, check my animal and nature website Portraits of Animals 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.


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© 2018 | www.TheCreativeCat.net | Published by Bernadette E. Kazmarski

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!

 
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© 2016 | www.TheCreativeCat.net | Published by Bernadette E. Kazmarski

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!

FACEBOOK | TWITTER | LINKEDIN | PINTEREST | TUMBLR | STUMBLEUPON | GOOGLE+ | EMAIL

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Friendship Friday.
Friendship Friday.

 

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Bernadette

From health and welfare to rescue and adoption stories, advocacy and art, The Creative Cat offers both visual and verbal education and entertainment about cats for people who love cats. From catchy and creative headlines to factual articles and fictional stories, The Creative Cat provides constant entertainment and important information to people who love cats, pets and animals of all species.

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