Pastel on Wallis Paper
8.5 x 11
A Main Coon cat lounges on his favorite footstool. I receive a lot of requests for this breed of cat, and the tiger pattern in shades of brown/black/beige is among the most popular. It is a delightful breed, the kind you would call "all cat" - full of life and energy, independent, and extremely intelligent. They display the typical catlike disdain for anyone who attempts to exercise authority over them, while at the same time showing a sensitivity and tenderness when needed. I have already told you the story of the cat named Tiger who came to live with my husband's parents, so I have experienced this all first hand.
I decided to paint this in pastels because they lend themselves so well to depicting the soft fur of a kitty like this one. Actually, if I had to chose, I would say pastels are my favorite medium, even though they are messy-messy to use and difficult to ship. But they are so direct and somehow very satisfying to use. I don't believe I will ever limit myself to one medium, though, as they all have their own special feeling and character. At the completion of each painting I almost always find myself wondering what it would have looked like in some other medium.
Recently I purchased a book by Richard McKinley, a plein-air pastel artist whose work I admire immensely. The book, Pastel Pointers, begins as do most books of this kind with a chapter on materials. I knew I was out of my league when I saw his pastel set up. It was not purchased as a set - he actually took all his pastels and arranged them by tone and color. But first he tore off all the labels, so he had no way to identify the color by name. Oh, my. That would take me days, perhaps weeks. Then it would require me to put each piece back in its place each time it was used. It boggles my mind. But it is beautiful to look at...
|Richard McKinley's Pastel palette|
and the pastel could almost paint itself. For right now, at least, I will not subject you to a photo of my own pastel set up - it is worse than you could possibly imagine. However all this has inspired me to organize my own pastels. It would be lovely to open a box and find something like this. But why just pastels? Why not my whole life? If I could get my life in this kind of order, I will have really accomplished something!