Well, Mimi won the impromptu contest for July featured artwork! I wanted something sunny and colorful for July, but because most devices people use are more vertically oriented some paintings just don’t work well, but I’m so happy to feature this painting for many reasons.
As I’d said below when I’d originally posted it, I’d planned something different but came up with this. What was I expecting in the five minutes or less that Mimi actually napped here and the 15 minutes total I had to do the sketch before the sun moved enough to change the shadows?
This was not what I’d intended but I like it anyway. It’s Mimi napping in the shadow on the cool bricks among the geraniums, near the vintage aluminum tub where I grow pole beans. Mimi was so happy to be outside she only rested in each position for less than a minute, and the sun was in and out behind the clouds. The temperature was in the 90s and we weren’t doing much but looking for a comfortable spot.
I had wanted something a little tighter in detail, but I like the details this one has. I did a light pencil sketch underneath because it’s so small I knew I’d run out of space if I didn’t give myself some guidance about Mimi, the geraniums and the barrel, but aside from that I just painted.
In part I was using the quick and easy eight-color grade-school set that’s easy to carry and use I really need to get a set with a greater color range if I’m going to paint outdoors.
But what was my purpose with this painting? Sometimes I sit down to capture the details of the moment, and some day I’d like to do just that with the reference photos from this, but with my actual sketch, and all my daily sketches, my purpose is just to capture the essence of the moment and share what moved me to render the scene.
In this case it was a relaxed Mimi in the shade on a hot morning, stretched on those familiar bricks next to the cool anodized aluminum tub where I’ve always planted pole beans and surrounded by my geraniums saved from year to year. It was a scene I loved for my love of my garden, my appreciation of Mimi relaxing in a place she’d once hunted for food to feed her kittens, and the memory of the generations of cats before her who enjoyed that very spot, this little patio and the verdance of my garden.
This painting, in the moment
I remember dropping everything, taking a quick reference photo thinking what a nice painting it would be, then deciding to sketch the scene right then, perhaps as a study for a final painting. Quickly—color? yes! Geraniums, mimi, leaves, sun, bricks. Pastel? colored pencil? watercolor pencil? I could see the brush strokes. It could only be watercolor.
I do try to work directly onto the paper with watercolors when I do them as daily sketches just to practice my confidence with the brush, but in this case the perspective was tricky, and I knew Mimi never stayed in one place in the garden for more than a few minutes. Watercolor is tricky in that you need to let one area dry pretty much completely before you paint next to it, or the colors will flow into one another. Sometimes you want this, sometimes you don’t, and sometimes if you’re not careful you end up with muddy water on your paper. This one had to be bright and colorful so I sketched her first, making sure to catch her air kneading with her front paws as she relaxed, then the outlines of the flowers in relation to where she was, the anodized aluminum planter and the bricks, then just some swirly lines where the leaves were and knew it was time to start painting. I was glad I’d remembered a little jar of water kept with my art bag in the shade.
Again, I began with Mimi in dark blue, then as I began to blend in the black for her shadows, she was up and gone at some noise further in the garden. When I’m not directly with her, I clip her harness to a long leash so she has mobility, but I don’t have to drop my painting, or the laundry or the vegetables I’m harvesting if she decides to chase something into the neighbor’s yard.
I continued working around with the red and pink geraniums next, then the greens in the background, then the bricks and the leaves around the geraniums, just getting basic colors down to block out the areas, letting each dry enough before painting into it or next to it, adding color where I could as the painting quickly dried in the heat.
I got all but the deepest shadows and the blue background right then because I needed for it to dry completely and couldn’t decide on a background color. Later I added the darkest areas, blending a bit where necessary, and decided the blue made me think of the little bit of haze in the air on a hot, humid summer morning.
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Where to find this art
The original painting is still available as well as various prints on paper and canvas in my Etsy shop. One of the reasons I’d wanted to hold off on featuring this painting is that I couldn’t complete the extra gift items made with the image by the beginning of this month. This is a natural for a garden flag, but the printer had an issue with the equipment and I just couldn’t get them in time—you’ll see them soon! And after my studio computer went into retirement, my high-quality printer isn’t getting along with the replacement computer and scans and prints of artwork have digital interference. It’s been so frustrating on many accounts, but I still want to share this artwork, and the garden flag at least will be out in July! Make sure you sign up for my e-newsletter, below, to be the first to know when they are available.
And as always, for those who have no idea what artists actually do, how sketches and paintings are done in different media, or the technicalities of making things, I’m always glad to explain.
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As always, I will miss the prior month’s desktop calendar, enjoying my Sally once after all those years, but it’s mid-summer and I love being in my garden, and when I can’t be Mimi and I can look at this painting and remember all the other kitties out there too, for an entire month to come.
This month’s desktop calendar
I’ve worked this image into a desktop calendar for you to enjoy and use for the entire month. Looking at the downloads from previous months and averaging out which dimensions fit which devices, I have reduced the number of variations from 12 to three. It was very time-consuming to create all the variations with new devices arriving all the time, so I have one for horizontal monitors/screens, one for square monitors/screens, and one that should fit the dimensions of nearly all mobile devices.
If these sizes don’t work for your device, or if you have problems, please let me know. Often I can troubleshoot the reason an image won’t download or won’t load on your device, but if I just can’t figure it out I can just email it to you and hope that works.
How to download and use your desktop calendar
- Click on one of the images below that matches the dimensions of your monitor to open the image in a new page.
- For desktop computers and laptops, 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. You may also simply save it to your hard drive and set it as your background from there.
- For mobile devices, download the image to your gallery then choose it as your wallpaper—this is slightly different on all devices.
Horizontal and HD monitors and screens
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Square monitors and screens
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Small Mobile Devices and Tablets
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Cell Phones and Smartphones
Take a look at other featured artwork and desktop calendar posts.
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.
click here to see other artwork featured on The Creative Cat
or visit Fine Art and Portraiture on my main website.
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.
© 2014 | 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!