Victorian Mother Cat and Kittens

ink drawing of Victorian cat and kittens being colored with acrylics

I’ve been offline quite a bit while we focus on this move – packing, hauling, unpacking, trying to find homes for everything we previously stashed in the basement. I don’t want to toss everything into the closets, or the attic, as a means to an end. Well, scratch that, I am very tempted to do exactly that! But it’s the lazy way to unclutter, because once those items are out of sight, they will never be discarded or brought to light again. 😉

I set up the 3rd bedroom into my work space – half office, half studio – and Joe purchased a real art table for me. Now the dining room table can resume its original function as a depository downstairs. Although my space is now inviting me to spend quality hours painting and creating, I haven’t had much time for myself either. Chasing kids up and down the stairs all day has whittled away my waistline though, and I dug out a pair of jeans from the box invisibly marked “Don’t Throw Away! They’ll fit me Someday…” and lo and behold, they actually did fit. LOL

Now I must hold off on planting bulbs in case we get a sudden frost… from Hell.

I’ve been tempted to get into some time-intensive projects, but everything would need to be placed on hold after my “Pride and Prejudice” contest ends, May 15th, and work on the book illustrations begins in earnest.
But the weather was so nice yesterday, the light was streaming into the studio… and the beasties actually fell asleep in sync (which is becoming a rare occurence). I had hours to devote to creative things – or laundry, or unpacking boxes – but shhhh!

A few days ago, I unpacked some scrapbooking supplies that I purchased a few years ago, when I actually thought that organizing shoeboxes of family photos could be fun… and found a package of pigment ink, archival Zig markers. Hmmmm. Inspired by Jessica Doyle’s watercolor ink drawings, and a family of stray cats living under a parked car behind the neighbor’s house, I drew a mother cat in Victorian costume pushing her litter in a baby carriage. I went online and found a Victorian house turned museum that I used for a background reference.
I scanned my finished drawing into the computer in case I decide to use it again (aka in case I mess it up) … I’m thinking about creating a 4-part series, depicting the seasons, as the kittens mature into adults. Autumn might show them walking home from school, by winter they would be teenagers – courting in the snow, and next spring would bring a wedding and a repeat of the cycle.
Because, you know, kittens grow up faster than even human children! 🙂

So I started coloring the picture yesterday, with watery acrylics (because I don’t own any “real” watercolors right now… just the trays that Lydia has mixed to death), and it did look nice… however, I flaked out and started adding more layers, because something within me just wanted to go darker and thicker. So now it’s turning out to look like every other painting I’ve done.
…Oh, and the ink lines aren’t bleeding… seriously. You’re seeing a wash of Payne’s Grey that I used on the house shutters, roof, and stone grout lines. Then I started painting over it. LOL

It seems no matter which medium I try experimenting with, I wind up returning to acrylics because they are so forgiving.
Artists who use watercolors, colored pencils, and inks are unbelievably talented because you can’t cover up your mistakes. They also need to possess a clear-cut vision of the finished piece, because there is no going back… every color is transparent, every pen stroke is visible. Mistakes, if they happen, just get incorporated into the piece. See that long scarf billowing in the wind – yeah, it was a whisker that grew too long. 😉
I’m always making mistakes, and more often, I change my mind and try something else… you can paint over acrylics a million times, just look for the bumps! hehe

Apparently I’m not ready to break from my comfort zone just yet, and show “my true colors” … i.e. all the flaws and screw-ups. Even though my painting looks pretty rough now, it will pull together in the end. Its inner voice will dictate to me, even if the results weren’t what I originally had in mind.

…This year has been a surprising revelation for me, as some of the pieces I’ve written off as personal failures, have touched a chord with someone and actually sold. 🙂
It’s an old cliché that “there is a buyer for everything”, but it’s an extreme relief to see a piece I’ve struggled over and felt unsure about, finally get some recognition after months of being ignored by virtually everybody. 🙂

So don’t give in to the temptation to toss your “unpopular” works into the closet! Bring them out into the open where people can view and admire them… over and over, until that special piece finds a new home.

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