I’m having a great time playing with watercolors. To celebrate my recent art “anniversary” I couldn’t resist gifting myself with a few beautiful new watercolors from M. Graham, including a dioxazine purple. Lately, purple seems to be one of my “go-to” colors when I pick up a paintbrush.
Along with exploring different colors and subjects, I’m also trying out a variety of styles. I guess in a way, it’s a little like trying on new clothes. Eventually I’ll find something I like, and something that fits, too.
I’ve done skies. I’ve done faces. I’ve done mountains and trees. I’ve done abstracts, too. What next?
How about animals?
I’ve always found animals difficult to draw. I’ve all but given up on ever drawing a wolf, and I’m not much better at dogs — except for the stuffed variety. So far, cats seem to be my best animal subjects. I love the “cat eyes” from the scratchboard project I did last month. It was unfinished, and after seeing it posted, I decided to leave it unfinished. I started — and completed — another scratchboard cat for the class.
Unfortunately my second cat didn’t fare too well. Without realizing it, I picked up a different tool than I’d used for the first, then struggled with the drawing, not understanding why it didn’t look the same as before.
I inked over and re-scratched several places, and in the process I managed to get the poor cat’s nose a bit disjointed. One eye looks a little askew, too.
But I like his ears, and the whiskers turned out all right, too. That nose, though. I can’t help but laugh every time I see it. Poor cat.
I’m not sure if “Cat Scratch Fever” — the name I’ve given to the fellow — is better or worse than the first cat I drew last summer.
I hated this cat when I started working on it. I was immediately convinced it was going to be a complete failure. Later, I looked at it again, and realized it wasn’t as bad as I thought.
In fact, by the time I finished, I was rather proud of “The Cat”, and for several months this little graphite drawing hung on the living room wall where I could see it each day and think, “Hey, I drew that cat.”
After a while, as my drawing skills improved, I replaced the cat with another drawing. I’d learned a lot of new drawing techniques at that point, and I’ve said several times since that if I were going to draw that cat again today, I’d do a lot of things differently.
So, when I decided to try my hand at painting an animal, guess who leaped into my mind? Yes, I dug up my original reference photo and pulled out my paints. I knew, of course, that I couldn’t paint this cat with all his whiskers and fur in a realistic manner. I’ve been trying to “loosen up” a little with watercolors, and this seemed like a perfect opportunity.
So, here again, for your, ahem, viewing pleasure is “The Cat”, done this time in “loose” watercolor.
I love this cat’s eyes. The rest of it? I don’t know. Lately I seem to have reached a point where I have problems assessing my own drawings and paintings. I don’t think I care much for the rest of the cat. Is it because of the “looser” approach I took? Or is it simply a bad painting? As with my fanciful abstract a couple of days ago, I’m not really sure how I feel about this cat.
- Is it loose?
- Too loose?
- Not loose enough?
More questions I can’t answer.
- Am I getting better?
- Am I getting worse?
I don’t know. Maybe I should give up drawing animals for a while. Or maybe I should draw them more often.
Or…I know! Maybe I should just draw cat eyes!