October 23, 2008

Grace and a Painting of a Cat on Violet

The oil painting "Cat in an Abandoned Interior," recently won a Best of Show award. It was the beginning of a week long run of fortuitous little painting and other victories that had much to do with the help of friends and family. I had always held that it is prudent not to expect more than what can be achieved by one’s own efforts alone. Anything more than that is an act of grace. But these past few weeks I have had a series of small successes that are in both small and large ways due to the efforts and kindness of others. There were first the five artworks that I had sent out to County, State and out-of-state exhibitions. All five won modest cash awards. Following that came the Arts-In-Education Booking conference, at which I finally won back clients and hopefully have booked teaching jobs through next year - no small feat in the present economy. Because none of this would have happened without helpful interventions I’ve decided to dedicate the next few blogs to those who made opportunities possible.
It begins with "Cat in an Abandoned Interior." The painting is oil on canvas and is unusual in that I began with a violet ground. I typically paint on color grounds but I generally use blues, greens and earth tones. The colors in "Cat..." were painted on in a series of thin washes of colors using a medium similar to that of the painter Titian. In areas where the upper layers of paint are thinner or pulled out with a rag, the violet glows out from underneath. I had painted the face of the cat multiple times, never getting the eyes right, until I finally partially erased them so that they became violet shadows. The image of the cat is a Japanese Bobtail with a tail added..
The night before the county fair I was visited by a friend from Georgia who had always admired the painting and was the impetus behind getting it back from its temporary location in a local establishment. She got it back just in time for me to put it up at the local fair where I was surprised that it was awarded a cash prize along with a second place for a painting of dancers. So this blog is dedicated to Gwen, who took action just in the nick of time.

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