It’s hard to believe it’s been 10 years since I saw the exhibit “Van Gogh Up Close” and came home with a head full of ideas—and that evening sketched Giuseppe and Mr. Sunshine on the landing for my first “Cats After van Gogh” sketch, a theme and style that’s stayed with me for over a dozen other sketches and created a new style for my art. I’m celebrating the original sketch today, and all the oil pastel art I’ve created since plus the many gift items I’ve made with this and other oil pastel sketches.
From April 12, 2012…
I looked at yesterday’s little sketch at my desk and decided that if I was to truly create homage to van Gogh, I needed to have a background for these two to exist within, especially that lovely cerulean blue and turquoise van Gogh often used, and lots of little sketch lines and areas. I covered up yesterday’s signature so I scraped my name into the oil pastel in the lower left as Vincent often did in his paint. Ah, this has been too much fun.
So I said when I posted this sketch April 12, 2012! I personally mark the anniversary of this sketch each year—when a piece of artwork makes that much of a difference in your life as an artist, you like to return to it to find the magic. I mentioned this to my friend recently—she is one of my customers and also Fromage‘s human—and thanked her again for getting me out to see this exhibit. This piece of artwork went on to win a Certificate of Excellence, a Muse Medallion and the President’s Award in the 2013 Cat Writers’ Association annual Communications Contest as well.
How the sketch, and the style, came to be
I traveled with that friend in April 2012 to see the “Van Gogh Up Close” exhibit in Philadelphia. Although it seems I love the Impressionists best, van Gogh is a step apart from the Impressionist styles we find most familiar in Monet, Renoir, Degas, Cassatt with his stylized forms and brilliant, often non-representational colors and the heavy impasto of paint applied and layered with palette knife and brush. I’d only seen a few original van Gogh paintings, and taking in an entire exhibit to show you van Gogh’s work intended to bring the viewer near enough to touch and to see his influences filled my head with dimensional flower petals, rippling wheat textured in fields, dappled leaves seeming to move with the extra layers of paint. I closely studied the way he roughly blended colors into one another and what colors he used, the brilliant greens contrasted with the earthy sepia, lots of yellow and blue.
All the way home on the Megabus I remembered the colors and shapes and textures, and wanted to work the same energy and form I saw in his brush strokes, visualizing oil pastel to layer and blend the strokes as an experiment. Arriving home in Pittsburgh just a few hours later I saw Giuseppe and Mr. Sunshine, just quietly hanging together on the landing, Giuseppe sitting upright, Sunshine loafing, and visualized exactly what I would sketch, and posted this sketch without the background on April 11.
I am channeling Vincent van Gogh tonight, trying to work the same energy and form I see in his brush strokes. I can layer with oil pastel, but can’t apply or build up the thickness of medium that can be accomplished with paint; this sketch is also quite small, about 6″ x 5″, so I can’t work all the little strokes in as I’d like, but perhaps I’ll actually try this on canvas at some point, and something a little bigger.
Originally the sketch had only the two cats with no background as do most of my daily sketches, but I decided that if I was to truly create homage to van Gogh, I needed to have a background for these two to exist within, especially the colors and swirling style that van Gogh often used. I added the background the next day, and the final is the one you see at the top. I truly think it was the energy I brought back from that exhibit that made this an award-winning piece of artwork, and one of the most popular in my feline artwork gallery.
Where to find this artwork
A New Member Thank You
Register for an account on Portraits of Animals and get a free matted print of “Two Cats After van Gogh” or choose from several other sketches, paintings or photos of cats and other subjects.
The New Member print is a signed digital print of my pastel painting “Two Cats After van Gogh”. Prints are made in archival inks on Epson Velvet paper. This print is 5 x 7 and is matted to fit an 8 x 10 frame.
This print is only available as a new member gift during this month while it’s the featured artwork and desktop calendar, so make sure you sign up before the end of the month!
Also, gift items
I am still refilling my inventory of gift items as I begin vendor events this year, and while I have several gift items in stock I’m still working on others. I currently have a garden flag, an individual keepsake box as well as a set of three keepsakes, a votive with this and other oil pastel sketches, a greeting card and, of course, prints.
I’m printing tiles and a set of a dozen note cards featuring all my feline oil pastel inspirations.
This month’s desktop calendar
I’ve worked this image into a desktop calendar for you to enjoy and use for the entire month.
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 Feline Artwork on my main website.
If you are interested in a print of this image, check 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.
Gifts featuring cats you know! Visit Portraits of Animals
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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Weekly schedule of features:
Tuesday: Rescue Stories
Thursday: New Merchandise
And sometimes, I just throw my hands in the air and have fun!