Friday, August 05, 2011

SnipFest: Quick! Make some art!

SnipFest is this weekend, at which I am vending, and I had hoped to be able to bring at least a couple of new things to offer.  I set Fluffy aside, and started going through my photos of my cats for inspiration.  All 3 of my aging cats are rescues.  I'm not sure of Meep's origin, but I had seen a few cats loose in our area that look like him after I adopted him from the local Humane Society.  Coco, I was told, was one of a bucket full of kittens found on the side of the road.  Rowdy was a feral who latched onto me after he'd been neutered, had his ear clipped, and then been released back to the area he was caught - a practice I learned of when I took him in to see the vet the first time.

 I had a little photo shoot with them.  Rowdy was happy to assist.
Rowdy climbing up my body for a snuggle.
If this had sound, you could hear his Very Loud Purr.
I did get a couple good ones of him, but I'm starting with one I got of Coco (the little tabby and white cat you can see behind Rowdy).  Meepy decided not to interrupt his nap.

I decided to do some "Scrap Cats":  painting and/or drawing my leftover scrap cats on leftover scraps of mat board.  (I'll donate 50% of the selling price to WeSnip, in honor of the work they do with feral cats, and cats from low-income families.)  I chose my scraps and my references, and broke out my old faithful gouache paints.

I haven't used gouache in awhile, and I'm remembering why I love them so much, particularly for pet portraits!  They are very forgiving, endlessly re-workable and give incredible detail.  They are opaque watercolors, similar to the tempera paint used by the Wyeths, or that you used in kindergarten.  They dry to a matte finish, with intense pigments, and can be used on darker surfaces because they are opaque.  Painting on mat board is lots of fun.  Here's where I am with Coco so far.
Scrap Cat: Coco
Work in progress. Gouache on matboard.
7" x 14.5"
©Xan Blackburn, 2011

This only shows the top half or so, but there's not much to see below that yet, and I wanted to let you see how the eyes are shaping up in decent detail.  Gouache is kind of fun to use sort of like a paint-by-numbers, to start with, blocking in the major color zones, then start working in detail and gradations by just painting onto and into the blocked colors, which will mix with the new colors if you want, or just sit underneath while you stroke in dryer opaque details on top.  It's absolutely great for letting you show how all the different colors in each hair sit next to each other, and add up to an overall color, because you can actually PAINT each different hair in each of its several colors!  If you want, that is.  

Anyway, lots still to do, and now I don't expect to get any further than this one by the time I have to call it quits tonight, and get the car packed up.  Supposed to be setting up at 7 am tomorrow morning!  I'll get a final scan of it, at least so I can show you how it ends up.

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