Because I “rediscovered” this painting last year when I brought it home from Chartiers Custom Pet Cremations and had the chance to rescan it, I knew I’d want to use it as my featured artwork and desktop calendar as soon as possible. I know this was a late winter photo because my garden was right outside that window, and at other times of the year that window was totally blocked by tomato plants or cornstalks. March is the last month of winter, the angle of the sun raising up a bit, pulling more color from the mint outside the window and Allegro’s orange fur.
This sketch was among my four first pastels, painted in 1989. I remember studying the highlights on Allegro’s fur, and the light outside the window and on the wall, with the deep shadows. He was on the basement windowsill, and I’ve always love the dramatic lighting of scenes like that. I decided to use dark paper and just sketch the highlights rather than paint the entire thing in pastel. Here’s what I had to say about it at the time.
“Cats always find the sunshine, and a sunny basement window at ground level provides hours of entertainment; Allegro sat there pretty regularly on bug and bunny watch. The contrast of the brilliant orange outline and his whiskers and muzzle silhouetted in reverse against the intense shadow of his body, the sun shining through his ear, the graceful curve of his tail and the isolation of the scene within the shadow of the wall made me follow him down there with a camera until I finally caught him.”
Here is the reference photo.
I can see that I didn’t quite catch thinks like the curve and shadow of his tail, or the lift of his belly between his legs, but that’s okay. I also enhanced some things like his whiskers and the reflection on his eye. I also remember studying many sketches with sketchy diagonal lines and wanted to practice that technique.
I kind of have to marvel at my variety of styles at that time, and working out the use of dark paper for the darkest areas, and working from dark to light. But I remember by then, studying the image and letting myself work it out before I started any drawing. That solution seemed the most logical because I knew it would be difficult to work the shadows that dark and get even coverage on the paper. I chose navy blue instead of black probably because blue is a complement of orange and it would help the colors snap where they light look dull on black paper.
Here is a detail of Allegro’s face.
Very simple in detail, in part because I just wasn’t there yet with what to include or how to do it, but dramatic and interesting.
My other favorite part of this painting was his feet, and the light on the concrete beneath them. His back paws were side by side so it looks as if he only has one leg. Today that’s one detail I probably would have changed, showing a bit of another leg there. But I don’t mind the way it looks.
This painting had hung in Chartiers Custom Pet Cremation for over a decade, and before that I only had a poor photo of it, so I never included it on my website. It’s nice to see it again and study an older piece, and remember where I came from.
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What is the difference between a “sketch” and a “painting”? Because pastel is a dry medium and not paint at all works have long been classed as drawings, and pastel works not considered “finished” or “final”, more like studies. But as pastel has become more popular and considered a medium in its own right, some works are also considered paintings. If a work covers the entire surface edge to edge in what is considered the image area, the work is considered a painting. If not, it’s considered a sketch. Of course, that can be subjective—many of the daily sketches I’ve done could be considered paintings because they fill edge to edge, but I’d still consider them sketches in part because that’s the way I think if them. But things evolve in our daily use, and art materials and works of art are among them.
Where to find this artwork
The original is still available, matted and framed, on Portraits of Animals.
I also offer giclée, digital and canvas prints of this sketch, and can always have prints made for you in other sizes. I can also custom frame your print or custom cut a mat for a frame you already own.
A New Member Thank You
You can get a free matted print when you register for an account on Portraits of Animals.
Register for an account on Portraits of Animals and get a free matted print of “Suncatcher” or choose from several other sketches, paintings or photos of cats and other subjects.
The New Member print is a signed digital print of “Suncatcher”. This print is 8″ x 10″ and is matted with a pure white mat to fit an 11″ x 14″ 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!
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 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:
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!
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