Tag Archives: cats

Watercolor Studies

Doing these quickies today helps me be patient…

…And anxious to be settled with all my supplies at hand.

It’s beautiful here.


Moving Cats

I’m a cat person. Always have been. I’ve never deliberately gotten a cat, like gone to a shelter or taken home a kitten from a family with a box of meowing fur, outside of the Grocery Store. Cats have found me. Usually within weeks of moving into a place a cat will find my doorstep and stick around. Or someone will give me an old cat that they can’t have anymore. I can’t remember a time that I have been on my own, when I did not have at least one cat. I have buried many cats.

Now I have three. Deiter has been sketched many times. He’s failing now, has kitty AIDs, starting to sleep a lot more and his coat is getting scroungy. Kitty Bitty (she started skinny, but has turned into an overweight pretty thing) is always hunting, has a beautiful soft voice, exquisite tabby fur and such an easy manner. She gets along with all cats. She showed up, pregnant almost the first week I moved here, 10 years ago.

The newest cat, I’m reluctant to name. He showed up a couple months ago and because we are moving at the end of this month, I want to find him a home. He’s an all-black, neutered strong short haired male. He is slightly skittish, but he loves attention, follows me to the mail box. His purr is the loudest thing I heard this afternoon while I pulled weeds and he flirted with me, rolling over, inviting me to touch his springy young coat by getting in my way. If anyone in the area, wants this adorable lover cat, I want him to go to a great home. He’s something special. Wish I could keep him. He comes with a free portrait!

More cats

I keep doing these cats. Can’t seem to get exactly what I want and am enjoying seeing what is turning up instead.

I’m loading the brush with black paint and just starting on white paper. No drawing. No references. Just go. Some are much more like the reference photo than others. Some are much more like the cat. I love the challenge. It helps me be more accurate with shapes.

I’m also discovering better ways with the gouache. I don’t like it used like watercolor … thinner paint application to show a lighter value. I like mixing a lighter paint and slopping it on, like I did on the very last image.

I like the way the paint was applied on this one best.


Our scruffy black stray cat, Deiter, has always been an interesting subject. I drew him quickly here, on a pillow, but as soon as he noticed me watching him, he got up and sat on my feet.

So I took some pictures and worked from those. When he sits, he more closely, sprawls, as if he’s broken a hip or leg, that healed badly.

Oh how wonderful to have the time to paint again. I will even go the the figure class in town this evening! I am restoring myself.



This is the initial pass. I like the idea of having two overlapping subjects. I like the way these overlap. I want to jump toward more abstraction. It will come as I work it.

To change the subject totally, I am so grateful.

Our new cat, Deiter, is back home again. One of our farmers’ market community, Rhonda Stalling at Arroyo Vet Clinic, suggested I bring him in for a micro-chip scan, to see if maybe he belonged to someone else. She said he qualified for the “Good Samaritan” discount. So I took him in last week, hauling out the dusty cat carrier and shoving his surprised body into the little space and shutting the door quickly as he dashed around to find his way out. He suddenly found his voice. I’d never heard him meow before then.

Dr. Rhonda found no micro-chip but she did find he was positive for AIDS and he had such bad teeth that some needed to be removed. I just got him back after his dental surgery. He spent one night away and has to spend two days inside while he is on pain medication.

I am so grateful to the Good Samaritan program. He even had a bath! I have volunteered to paint a portrait to be given away as at their annual auction… every year for as long as they want me to. He’s a very happy boy and loved all the attention, seems completely recovered. Thank you all, who participate with the Good Samaritan program.

Oil Sketches

I have been away for awhile, feeling rather frustrated with large paintings that require many passes to complete. Right now, my life is not set up to manage days in a row to work on my art. And I have convinced myself that is what is needed to work on larger canvases. Anyone think differently? Am I just a whiner?

I’ve been excited by some new plein air work. Next week is the Plein Air Festival in Sonoma. Each year, these extraordinary painters come for a week and paint here and there, barns and tractors, local landscapes with the quick certainty that I greatly admire. Next weekend, they will display all their week’s work for sale. It’s always an inspiration. New this year, the painters are scheduled to work at the Farmers’ Market on Tuesday night. If I wasn’t working it, I would watch carefully. Saturday, I may even see a picture of myself!

To cheer me up, I decided I need to work on small fast studies of something right in front of me. These two sketches, of our new cat Deiter, were a purr-fect project today. Painting this cat, I realized I’ve never had a black cat. He has a particularly solid build. I hope my drawings show that. I see I need to fuss a bit with shades of black but mostly these do cheer me up. I bought a pad of canvas “paper”, which can be easily matted to finish it off, if I choose to sell them.

Speaking of that, the month of June, I will have a show up at Oak Hill Farm in the Red Barn. The show will include all my most recent work and maybe some of these sketches as well. The store is open Wednesday through Sunday, 10 am to 6 pm. Everything will be for sale.

I guess we have a new cat

He started showing up when Charlie was sick and staying inside. Now, he seems to have taken possession of our back porch.

He’s really ratty and dirty. We’ve managed to cut the dreadlocks from his back. He dances on his toes to get touched. We’ve named him Dieter.

I painted this quickly, looking out the back door. I used gouache, a medium that takes me back to my time at Art Center, oh so many years ago. I love its chalky quality. It works so well for certain interpretations.

I painted Charlie, a while back, looking out the same door.