May 31, 2014

The New Mommy Cat

The slow process of revising the illustrations for my Book of Marvelous Cats continues. My latest revision was the drawing for “Mommy Cat.” This one was rather easy to revise. I was happy with the original drawing although it was, like all of the first batch, too small. So I basically enlarged the cat and kittens, sharpened her image, and added extra window dressing. I took out the picnic basket and blanket. Not sure why a cat would have those.

In the original drawing my inspiration came from either Persian or Indian miniatures. So I consulted some textbooks on Indian miniatures for the details to enhance the revised drawing. The running hare and the trees came from the miniatures. Last but not least, remembering one commentator’s suggestion that I should include whiskers on my cats, I added those as a finishing touch. Above is the finished revision. At left the original.

May 26, 2014

Grandmother, mother, child with stripes

A welcome commission came my way recently. The commission was for a drawing of a mother and child. For this drawing I used various degrees of pencil leads for a range of tonality. I also used my penchant for pattern throughout. Many years earlier, I had made a painting of the grandmother, Lee Malerich, sporting striped tights and a black leotard. At that time her own daughter was a small child. How amazingly fast time flies by! The daughter now has a son of her own.

We decided that it would be poignant to repeat the theme of striped leggings on the grandson to harken back to that earlier art work. This theme was repeated throughout the background decoration in the drawing - stripes and circles. I also picked up the little monkey faced design of the baby’s shoes to repeat in the corner ovals.

May 22, 2014

Solar Cats

My collage work finished, I turned once again to my work on my Book of Marvelous Cats. The one pictured above is entitled “Solar Cats.” For this illustration I had to make an architectural drawing. This is something that I was never adept at, having failed mechanical drawing in high school. But I came up with something in between free hand drawing and classic ariel two point perspective. I had to try it because I needed to make a group of cats posing on solar panels on the roof of a house in order to properly illustrate the poem. The illustration seems to hold together, suspect perspective angles sometimes disguised by a judiciously place bush or two.

I tried something new in this illustration. In the background I included a minute illustration taken from an earlier poem, Garden Cultivator Cat. I may try that again in my revisions.

The poem for this illustration is as follows:

Solar Cats

Solar Cats lie in the bright sunlight

on top of the roof in rows neat and tight

They come into the house when the sun goes down

Providing much needed warmth all year round

May 15, 2014

That First Flush of Pink Buds

The last of my short series of seven paper mosaic collages was finished last night. The painting in the center was originally done in the spring and was inspired by the first flush of budding leaves that look pink against the pearly grey trunks of trees. I kept the pink and grey palette consistent through a mosaic border with the oval pink shapes embedded among grey textured papers. There were no prints of ancient words in this piece, as there were in the others. The shapes seemed to speak for themselves.

May 14, 2014

Upside Down You Turn Me Black Butterfly

I have been writing about a series of mock-up paintings I made of wrens and flowers for the four sides of a client’s box. My revisions on these are finally complete and I have set them all into collage backgrounds. The very last two panels were different from the others as they did not feature birds. When I made the box I decided to have at least one panel different from the others - featuring just the flora and perhaps a small butterfly. These served as “rest notes” in the orchestration of this visual composition. The final version of the butterfly side featured a butterfly in flight - again to add a contrapuntal note to the stationary birds. The painting above shows the original design with the closed winged resting butterfly.

There is a curious error in this collage. I set the seal prints in ancient Chinese upside-down. I had done that in a previous collage. Although no one would really notice that save me and a Chinese archaeologist or linguist I decided I couldn’t live with the error and carefully pulled up the upside down prints and glued them down again right side up. On this butterfly collage, however, the prints were not as freshly glued and were sealed on rather tightly. So I will learn to live with the four upside down turned over prints. The white print in the painting is at least right side up - I think.

May 13, 2014

Tinsel Bird

Mosaics that I am fond of generally use bits and pieces of gold. In my paper mosaics I often gild pieces of paper with gold leaf or composition metal leaf for that effect. In the collage above I’ve used traces of gold in the body of the bird to impart that tinsel-like effect of precious metals. In other parts of the composition I’ve added touches of metallic paints as well as the leaf. The stamps in this painting are corners of "faith" and ancient words for birds in the painting. For the border design on this mosaic collage as well as the others I’ve been using up bits and pieces of painted designs left over from larger collage works. It always feels good to make use of leftovers.

May 12, 2014

The Red Bird of Good Faith

The paintings that I am dividing, expanding, revising, and turning into collages were originally depictions of Carolina wrens in various positions - one for each side of a box. Because I made so many revisions in the background I decided that it really wasn’t necessary to preserve the wren coloring and markings on the birds. They could be blue, green, red, or just about anything. The wren I revised in the above collage I decided to repaint as a red bird. The stamp with the seal on it and in the four corners of the border design read "faith." Perhaps it is for now that I will have the strength to finish this little series. I am on the last one so that fortunately seems likely.

May 8, 2014

Embellished Carolina Wren

As I continue to revise the acrylic painting sketches I made for a previous commission, I’m finding that I have to pad out the compositions somewhat by painting more textured paper pieces to add to the sides. These additions help stretch the painting out to better suit an eight by ten inch format. Generally, I have been cutting the painting up into small parts, which I then reassemble mosaic style onto another piece of sized paper. The spaces between the "tesserae" of paper fragments also help stretch the design out to fit the large composition. For the painting above, however, I glued the entire painting down whole, then added painted additions on to the sides and top. This left a wider boarder on the right and left than on top and bottom so I decided to make a more detailed design to the left and right. The lower right corner has a stamp affixed to it with the sign of "faith."

May 4, 2014

Bits and Pieces of Collage Work

Not wanting to waste time and materials, I figured out what I wanted to do with the two long ei mock-up acrylic paintings that I had painted earlier for the eight sides of a client’s painted box. At first, I thought to keep them as two long paintings. But after looking at the compositions I decided to cut each long piece into four separate squarish paintings. These I refinished as decorative paintings, adding metallic leaf, brighter colors, stamped designs and loads of patterned textures. Finally, I cut each one into sections and reassembled them, mosaic style, onto a standard eight by ten piece of acrylic gesso primed paper. Because the original painted composition was closer to a square than a rectangle, I had to expand the compositions in my cutting and reassembling and used decorative borders. When they are all finished, I’ll have seven small eight by ten collages. One of the eight paintings just didn’t suit at all so I used it to make textures on to fill up the spaces in the remaining collages.

May 2, 2014

Horse Drawing

Turning to old sketches to revise, I came across this one of a horse that I drew on location. I made the original sketch at sunset, which created a nice bright halo around the horse’s form. I emphasized this in the final charcoal using white chalks and light grey pastels. One more entry in to my art of the fast and quick results.