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'In any land what is there more glorious than sunlight! Even here in the desert where it falls fierce and hot like a rain of meteors, it is the one supreme beauty to which all things pay allegiance ... The chief glory of the desert is its broad blaze of omnipresent light.'
-John Van Dyke

Thursday, January 15, 2015

First Painting of 2015 - Mia with Daffodils

Another commission - and again, a cat. This time I had nice photos to work with. I would have liked a larger format than the quarter sheet that the client wanted.

The cat was to be in a natural setting and one of the photos showed her with daffodils, and what's nicer for a spring time painting? But the pretty tortoise shell cat was staring out of the photo in a rather non-committal way, so I first planned to establish a focal point for the cat's eyes in one of the flowers ... but the cat might have looked cross-eyed because it's sitting so close to the flowers. I liked a slight tilt of the head anyway, and definitely some open daffodils instead of the bunch of buds.
I decided on a simplified the background, keeping the deep forest greens to support the outdoor scene and provide some contrast to show off the cat, but with some of the reds and golds of the tortie's fur mixed in to keep some unity through-out the painting.

When I thought I was done I noticed that the dark part of the cat's shoulder ended just behind the central flower. Somehow the flower seemed to lie flat against the cat. Letting a bit of the dark fur show on the right side of the flower added the needed dimension and depth.

If I had taken the photo, I would have chosen side lighting with a clearer direction and more shadows. (Easy in Arizona's clear sunshine). But it was interesting to work from photos that were obviously taken in much more diffuse lighting conditions. Thus, three-dimensionality is more difficult to achieve but the colors are more true.
Another critical look at it tomorrow, and then it should be ready to be shipped to its owner.


  1. Margarethe you nailed it. My wife was in tears. Thank you for the lovely rendition of Mia. Even Mia was impressed, and that in itself is no small feat :).

  2. That's the best praise I could imagine! Thank you!