Hmmm…perhaps it’s the other way around? More about this, but FYI August is CAT (dog) MONTH. I’ll be sharing my stories and am giving you the chance to share your photos/paintings, too! See the end of this blog for how to do it. I’m looking forward to seeing your little furry buddies. And now, meet mine…

So, this is Friend (alias Fiend). When my daughter moved back from college, he came with her. Doesn’t he look sweet?

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Don’t let him fool you! When he moved in, all hell broke loose. What once was a peaceful two-cat household, suddenly became a raucous fur-flying cat version of the WWF wrestling organization. Suddenly I understood the true meaning of “hissy-fit”. This cat, who was raised by boys alongside their dogs, thought “he were one”. He made it well known that he was the man in charge – of the other cats and of us. This bad boy would jump on counters or on the table anytime he pleased. He had no manners! What the heck?!

Sure that we were smarter than he, we promptly got out the spray bottle to spritz him off the counter tops. It worked with the other two cats. But Friend? He just squinted his eyes and kept on truckin’. I could swear I saw the corners of his mouth turn up in a taunting smirk. And then, just because he could, he chased poor, sweet Bradley cat until he hid under the bed.

Okay. Plan B. Hmm…but what was Plan B? I promptly went online to Google the “My Cat from Hell” show to see if they’d come help. No dice. Only if you live in California. Guess we were on our own.

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Life has certainly changed since Friend has come to live with us. After a bit of time, he’s calmed down. Only chases Bradley about twice a day instead of 150. He still gets up on the counters, but he no longer sneaks up behind us on the couch and bats us in the head. I guess he is what he is. Sigh. Strangely, he has become my husband’s favorite. I think it’s the challenge or something. Must be a man thing. It’s rather odd to hear the two of them wrestling in the other room…don’t ask. Then Mike will appear all battered and bloodied, claw marks on arms and hands but a big smile on his face. Who knew? Maybe all I needed to make him happy was to let my nails grow longer and carry a whip. To be continued…

LET’S GET ON TO OUR PROJECT FOR TODAY

There are cool things about the unexpectedness of having a cat around. I absolutely love to paint my cats. Here are just a couple of the paintings I’ve done. I’m anxious to see some of yours!

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HERE’S A LITTLE PROJECT FOR YOU TO TRY

This particular one is a watercolor, but I’ve also done this in Batik. The reference for this painting was a photo I took in Italy. Here it is:

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Walking by on the street I spied this little guy dangerously close to the edge of that balcony! I know I risk making this blog too long, but I must show you what had captured his attention. Down below his window was this fountain, full of birds!

Yes, I painted it, too.

Yes, I painted it, too.

PAINTING this little piece is actually very easy and can be done in just a couple of steps.

  1. First, draw the design onto your 140 lb. cold pressed watercolor paper. Remember that the cat is white, so you’ll be painting around him in all of these steps. He stays clean, white paper.
  2. I’m using Winsor & Newton watercolors, but any brand will do. Mix a soft gray (Cobalt Blue + touch of Brown Madder). Can you find several things that you could paint in with this same gray? Every painting is built on large shapes. They are the structure or “bones” of the piece. The detail is only the icing on the cake. So, begin your painting by giving it good bones. Paint in the large gray shape you see here…behind the cat, to the left of the cat and also the balcony below. Save white paper on the cat and the flower area.
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  3. Now, paint in a few flowers. Doesn’t matter if they’re exactly where I put mine, but the color is important. Use a red that you love and don’t use just one. Gradually change the color. It just makes it more interesting. Let this dry.
  4. Now put in some green leaves around the flowers. Look at the photo reference to give you ideas. I used two different values of green, letting them dry in between so they wouldn’t run together. First, a slightly yellow green (Quinacridone Gold + Prussian Blue) to paint color onto almost all of the leaf area. Then, when dry, added more blue to the green mix and painted on a few darker leaves, saving a LOT of the lighter green ones! Don’t cover too many.
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  5. Now for just a few finishing details. Put in a bright Burnt Sienna pot to the left of the cat. Lighten the Burnt Sienna with water and paint in the wall going up behind the cat. Don’t forget to follow thru and bring the wall down between the balcony posts, too!
  6. Darken your gray mixture. I used a medium value Ultramarine Blue + Burnt Umber. Use this mix to paint between all of the posts on the balcony. You are painting not only the sections between the posts, but also the shadowed side of the posts. Do them all then let it dry.
  7. Darken your gray mix. Just add additional pigment to your mixture – more Ultramarine Blue + Burnt Umber till you have a dark value. Paint this dark value in the upper right corner and don’t forget to bring just a couple of dark areas into the foliage! Finally, tuck this dark between the posts – LEAVE the shadowed sides of the posts as they are, only filling in between the posts.

There! Done!

And, if you can do that one, you can apply the same techniques to this one as well. As artist’s we are constantly adding to the ‘library’ of techniques in our head. You’ll see that often times you can use the same knowledge over and over again on many different subjects!

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NOW IT’S YOUR TURN. If you have a wonderful cat (or yes, dogs are allowed – although Friend says to tell you that CATS RULE and Dogs Drool), I’d love for you to post your photos here. And don’t forget your paintings! We’d all love to see any paintings you’ve done, too. You can post them just like we did for the 30-day Drawing Challenge, if you were part of that. Leave any cool stories in the comments section, of course, so we can all enjoy them…or suffer together. Misery does love company. He, he.

We’ll be doing this all month, so get out there and paint some cats!

See you next week and thanks so much for reading!
Kathie xo

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