This was an unsolicited commission. I suppose that isn’t quite right. Squeak had recently passed away, preceded by Bennie several years earlier. The human with whom they lived asked me to do a pastel and watercolor of Squeak, and one of the photos she gave me for reference was this one. My art friend suggested I should do a watercolor of Squeak from this as it was a nice clear snapshot, prompting me to ask, “You don’t live with a cat, do you?” She never had, so was surprised when I told her, “Squeak is very annoyed in this photo.” That is a face that says, “You’re pushing your luck, bucko; just try poking me again!” I thought it was very funny and would make a good ink. So it was not really commissioned, but it sold anyway.
Their human told me that Bennie was fluffy but lightweight and Squeak was built densely, so Bennie would boss and boss Squeak, but when she had had enough she would sit on him.
This is a water-soluble graphite sketch of Squeak. So it’s like sketching with regular pencils, but with these special ones (from Derwent), somehow the graphite will move around with water. This is the first sort of finished sketch I’ve done with these, so I’m not sure of the technique. I did discover that I could use one of them as sort of an ink stick, dabbing it with my wet brush and then painting with it. I used “charcoal white” for the whiskers and eye spot.
This is an experiment: a new technique and a slightly new style I’m trying. Same old subject matter.
The September meeting of the Pittsford Art Group included a demo by Stu Chait, abstract watercolorist. He drops paint onto a flat surface by either squeezing the paint out of a big brush, or pouring it from a cup.
portrait by Leanne Sarubbi
I thought this might work well for an idea I got at the Roco 6×6 show. I was inspired by this portrait at the left, and so I thought maybe one could combine Chait’s abstract big drop idea and Sarubbi’s high-contrast simplification. I ended up modifying it significantly as you see, by putting in eye and ear color, and I chickened out on leaving the chest all white, instead putting in a light drop-in of the same colors to set the chest back from the face. I loved how the “black” came out, and that has no subtle shading on it on purpose, requiring the shape to tell your eye what the form is. I feel I made the background too bold, but other than that I like it. I did the whiskers with white gouache again.
This work is painted with 4 colors: Intense Blue, Yellow Ochre, Cadmium Red Deep, and Burnt Umber, the “black” being all but Yellow Ochre. I almost never use more than 5 colors in a painting.