For January, another study of winter. It’s a very simple scene: a black cat having a bath in front of a white painted kitchen cabinet with chrome handles, and a yellow and orange patterned carpet, but the play of light has fun with the colors and objects.
Brilliant light streams in the window at a long angle in the late afternoon seeming to point to the cat having a good bath in the sun. It’s Kublai, wrapped around licking his hip in one of those only-cats-can-do-that positions, really the first painting I did of him, though I’d hardly call it a portrait.The mahogany tones in his fur gleam in amongst the black, and the highlighted areas are bluish in complement while his darkest shadows are an inscrutable rich velvety black. Sun shines through one ear coloring it coral.
The sun is so bright that the most brilliant areas in the carpet patterned as Spanish tiles are simply brightness with no pattern or color at all, yet the yellow-orange carpet reflects up onto the painted white cabinets leaving trails and smudges of yellow and cantaloupe and coral and orange, just enough to brighten up the cold winter light. Best of all, and one of the details that convinced me to paint this in watercolor, the chrome handles flash the reflection of sunlight while capturing a bit of the yellow and orange and reflecting Kublai, below.
And silly me, I was doing the humility thing and didn’t want to sign the painting in the lower right as is usual, instead I signed in one of the shadowed areas, as you see below. I’ve been intending to photograph this again for several years, and before I put it back in its frame I think I’m going to give it a real signature; for now I have a watermark signature.
I painted this from a photo a took soon after I’d gotten my Pentax K-1000 and permitted myself a few rolls of color film. I found the composition of the photograph very inspiring, with the strict horizontal and vertical lines of the cupboard doors and the strong diagonal shadows all leading to the very organic shape of Kublai, a little off-center, washing his hip among the shadows on the floor. The intensity of the sunlight almost makes the scene look abstract, and I found that very challenging in watercolor. It was a picture I held onto until I had the time to do it—about ten years—because I wanted to paint it as a watercolor but had no experience at all with watercolor at the time. I had done a few small watercolors prior to this, then a large seascape, but this one left large areas of the paper untouched and had all those soft edges that I didn’t know how to work in a watercolor. No better way to learn than to just do it.
To this day when I look at it, I expect Kublai to pause in his bath and quickly lift his head to look at me with his celery green eyes, and I can hear his little bell on his collar jingle when I think of it.
Find this image on cards and merchandise
I can also have a full-size giclée made upon request. And I will soon have keepsake boxes and wall-mounted art in this design.
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, please let me know.
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 monitors and screens
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Square monitors and screens
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Small Mobile Devices
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Large Mobile Devices
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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.
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.