Monday, March 17, 2014

The Cat and His Boy

Who's got your back?

What a sweet and peaceful image of a comfortable friendship!  I think that Cody THE Cat has got his friend T.J.'s back here.  

As I was thinking of a just-right title for this painting, I kept coming back to the friendship and the fact that the cat seemed to be responsible for, watching over, protecting the little one.  It reminded me of Nana the big Newfoundland dog who was the children's nursemaid in Peter Pan.  Then I thought of the fifth book from The Chronicles of Narnia, The Horse and His Boy.  It fits. This cat does not seem to believe he belongs to the boy; in this cat's mind, the boy is his.

Cody THE Cat showed up at my sister's family's farm and pretty much took on the role as overseer of all who come and go there.

I'm kind of a fan of every inch of this canvas.  

I was worried about getting enough depth in the background, so I started at the back and worked my way forward.  It's always a little scary (and exciting as I get more confident in my own abilities that it will work) to put a line of trees on top of a perfectly beautiful sky.  Then again, to set bigger more detailed trees down right on top what's already a lovely line of autumn trees and bushes.  Then again, again, to put that dark shadowy line at the base of what was a really nice background. Whew!

When I tackled the water, I took the opposite approach.  I started at the front or bottom and moved back or up.  I created nice water with the ripples and movement.... sigh...  it takes a deep breath and some confidence to put brown lines and smudges of golds and rusts and greens in the water.  Then once the color is there, to rake it back and forth to make it look ripply takes an even deeper breath and a self reminder that it can be completely painted over and redone when / if it gets completely ruined. When it worked out, I thought I'd feel relief, but I felt more disbelief... Whew! 

One step at a time... adding sticks and weeds... tedious... then a pole... bright red... and straight across my pretty ripples... excruciating!  
Who says painting is relaxing?  And, what are they painting anyway?

The next challenge was in color.  T.J.'s shirt was actually blue, the same blue as the pond.  And Cody THE Cat was practically camouflaged as he was the same color as the leaves!  I took a few liberties there (a.k.a. cheated).  I didn't think either would mind.

How odd that the easiest part of this painting was the little fella at the center of it all.


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