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Henry David

Just started a mixed media torn paper collage and acrylic painting of Henry David, a Virginia cat who went to The Bridge recently. His mom is president of the Virginia Native Plant Society, and his Dad is an avid naturalist. Rather than using my stock of vintage ephemera, I'm using his mom's FB images and text from Thoreau's writings.

It's 8x10" on canvas.

The last time his mom took me on a nature walk a humungous snake slithered across the trail. In my memory it was as large as a boa constrictor, but it was probably closer to the size of a garden snake. I'm fine with snakes as long as they're not within slithering distance of me. (That said, as the weather warms my cats will begin to bring the fruits of their hunts into the house: baby moles and snakes which usually have not yet been dispatched. I need to find me a husband because it's nearly impossible to sequester the cats while I try to catch a baby mole who's scooted into an inaccessible nook.)

The process for this type of painting is to lay down the initial subject in acrylic. Then I start the base layer of the collage, tearing and pasting and tearing and pasting.

The collage imagery in this one is full of where's waldo-esque easter eggs that I hope will continue to delight the viewer.

The first layer is complete. Now begins the process of squinting at the image to see shadow and light without all the details. I'll begin refining and normalizing tone and color by adding collage elements, painting, or applying colored glazes to selected spots. Sometimes I sand to "grunge-ify" the image, particularly where there is text.

The nice thing about collage is that it's pretty forgiving. If you don't like something, paste something else atop it. I'll mute text items somewhat, paint over others. This refinement phase can take days. Not a lot of time, but I like to put these aside and revisit them with new eyes for a week or so.

I don't know how much mark-making I'll be doing on this one. That's the final step....adding visual interest with marks. And once it's done and shipped, it'll be back to octopuses for me!

BTW, I'm in love with using acrylic paint pens for cat fur! Absolute precision, and a great option for quick-and-easy projects. Hardly any cleanup involved. They aren't for large-scale projects--I think they were originally developed with rock painters in mind. Some are now available with dual brush tips--one a brush tip, the other a pen tip.


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