I’m thinking of Kelly at this time of the year as Mimi and I enjoy the back yard and the warming days. I had just begun my daily cat sketches in December 2011 and in the spring and early summer of 2012 I sketched Kelly a number of times. This was one of my favorites, lively and colorful, and one of Kelly’s favorite places—the bathroom windowsill with the open window.
For May, I wanted artwork that was looser in style than April’s realistic painting and in a different medium than pastel, and it should also be colorful with some flowers or nature in it. I had originally wanted to feature Mimi, but as I mentioned above I’ve also been thinking of Kelly in our visits to the yard nearly each day and narrowed the choice to this painting of Kelly, one of four I did within three weeks in the same style featuring both girls.
The watercolor pencils combined with the ink sketch was a style new to me when I first began my daily sketches but quickly became a favorite. Looking back on this sketch from the perspective of over three years of sketches, I am thrilled with how colorful it is, all the colors mixed into Kelly’s fur, the loose blue in the background, the ink outlines just enough to hold it all together. I did a set of four within a month featuring Kelly and Mimi, and it was my beautiful little girls in the spring sun that inspired it all.
Kelly enjoys the sun on her back on the bathroom windowsill, and also likely the reflected heat from the deck roof, just below. It’s not all that warm outside, but just warm enough to have the windows open in mid-afternoon. The pussy willow is right outside the window and the dappled leaves were charming, and the blue sky beyond.
Another combination of media that I enjoy, ink and watercolor. In this case I did the ink sketch first, then scribbled into it with watercolor pencil. The watercolor pencil is a two-part technique, first the drawing, then the watering. In this case I knew I’d want to leave some of my sketching lines and in other cases I wanted to obliterate them.
In other cases, such as the sky and the wall beneath her, I wanted both and I was very pleased with what happened when I just brushed a water-filled brush over my lines. I could achieve a multitude of techniques this way, with just random washes in the sky where I used the brush on its side, but patterned washes in the shadow on the wall where I used the tip of the brush (that’s a white sable no. 4 round, students, you know who you are) in straight parallel lines running through the angled watercolor pencil lines in green and blue.
This was the first time I used a new set of watercolor pencils, Prismacolor 12-color set water-soluble colored pencils. The Derwent set had an excellent reputation, but I found them to be kind of weak in color, especially the darks, once I got the washes on them. I had also used them for a huge illustration for a sign just before these sketches and had to go over and over areas in order to get them as dark as I wanted, which took away from the feeling of freehand sketching.
In the Prismacolor set, the colors dissolved and blended easily though I’m not sure why the dark green in the leaves did not; it did where I used it in Kelly’s shadows. I had wanted to brush the two greens together to look more random and leafy.
I should have done some color test swatches with the pencils before I began to be sure what shades they would end up. The sky and the shadow on the windowsill behind Kelly are two different shades of blue, but they certainly don’t look like it and kind of blend together.
But I love the technique all together, from the ink outlines to the brushy color. It’s something I’ve wanted to achieve for years, and only learned through sketching my cats.
Purchase this original or a print, or a set
This sketch, matted and framed, is available for sale in my Etsy shop, as well as three others in the same style:
These are also available as a set; if you are interested in purchasing two or more, or purchasing a set of prints, please ask. I can only list so many variations on Etsy before it just gets confusing!
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.
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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.
© 2015 | 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!