Real sun worshippers, all of my cats wait for the sun to enter the house in the morning and take their appointed spots. The brilliance of that first light and its reflections around the room, plus the contrast of all the exaggerated straight-line shapes with the organic shape of little Cookie and her shadow inspired this one.
This is the same kitchen door and floor from photos you see today, and while I painted this one in 1997, Cookie began the process of this sunbath back in her second year here, after I’d replaced the awful doors here when I moved in with the full-view storm door and 15-lite wooden door so we could all look out and enjoy the winter sunshine. One morning very early on when I looked at her with her nose raised to the sun I visualized this painting and immediately named it “The Little Sunflower”, even before I had painted a stroke, and thereafter called Cookie “my little sunflower”. You’ve seen her in the sun at this back door, and you may have also seen me call her this and probably had no idea why, but it began with the inspiration for this painting and so aptly described her personality that I called her that all her life, and still do.
This one I painted entirely from a photo I’d taken, not having the opportunity to capture Cookie in her natural state but wanting to capture the moment nonetheless. I used a drawing paper entirely new to me at the time, a velour finish, heavy paper covered with a flocked surface like velvet that held the pastel, could build up layers and layers of color and achieve a blend and soft edge as you’d expect on such a soft surface, yet also capture detail, though not extremely fine detail.
Though the shadows are hard shadows with direct winter sunlight, there is also much reflection within the shadows and dark areas and this paper carried that as well as I had wanted.
This painting of Cookie hangs on the landing to the second floor where I look at her every time I go up or down the stairs. “The Little Sunflower” is also included in my original set of four-color notecards, “My Cats in the Sun” which also features Stanley, Moses and Sally, my four original muses who guided my artwork in those early years as they inspiringly napped in the sun.
Of course, I am remembering Cookie this month; the anniversary of her passing is February 3, but it’s a celebration of all she gave me in our 20 years together. Cookie was the sunshine of my life, and she regarded every moment a celebration of life.
This month’s desktop calendar
I’ve also worked this image into a desktop calendar for you to enjoy during the month of January! Reading statistics and knowing that more than half of my readers view this site on a mobile device, I also offer the dimensions for desktop images for mobile devices.
- Click on one of the links below that matches the dimensions of your monitor to open the image in a new page.
- Right-click on that image and on a desktop computer choose “save as desktop wallpaper” or “save as background” or whichever option your operating system gives you to be able to do this. I’m not entirely sure how this is done on a mobile device, but I’ll bet it’s not too different.
Desktop and laptop computers
Take a look at other featured artwork
Each month I feature a piece of feline artwork from the archives to the present day, discuss its history and process, and set it up as a free downloadable desktop calendar for just about every electronic device available.
Read about other artwork and portraits and read their stories
Read articles here on The Creative Cat featuring current and past commissioned portraits.
Read about how I create commissioned portraits.
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Visit my website to see portraits of my cats, commissioned cats, commissioned dogs, people and a demonstration of how I put a portrait together from photos.
If you are interested in a print of this image, check my Etsy shop 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.
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.