Let’s Celebrate Light and Life !

Let’s face it; without light things would be pretty dismal. In fact without light there would be no life.  In my painting career I have celebrated light in all of its incredible manifestations. Light and life go hand in hand. Toward that end I want to  share a recent painting, actually this is a watercolor study.  This study will be used to develop a larger egg tempera painting. This study has a story; so here goes.callie-in-sunlight-4

Callie in sunlight                                      8.5″ x 6″                                watercolor on paper

Animals have always played a large role in our household. Almost all of our furry children are rescues of one sort or another. The first cat came into our household when my daughter was around 8 years old. That has been more years than  I wish to think about. So a little over 16 years ago my daughter, Carol, came to visit from one of her business trips carrying a furry ball in her arms. She had already been named Callie since it was obvious that she was a Calico. Callie had been rescued from starvation in a town where my daughter had been sent to do some field work.

Callie needed a home and like others before her,  we welcomed her into our home. As everyone knows cats are not like dogs and pretty soon Callie became pretty much the dominant pet in our home. There was one exception, our Golden Retriever mix didn’t like cats.  There was always barking and snarling and threats but no bloodshed. Detente reigned.  In fact it was quite comical.

A little over a year ago Callie became quite ill and we went to the vet.  They did a number of things for a cat that had been lethargic and with little appetite.  Callie pulled through. Her personality changed.  Our fairly quiet cat had become vocal and demanding, always seeking food.  She started slipping out onto the deck in our fenced in backyard. She would sit for hours on the deck gazing and dozing in the fresh air.  She would even brazenly strut close to Marley, our retriever, as if to say, “What are you going to do about it?”  Talk about chutzpah, she displayed it in her final days.  About two months ago Callie died and now rests under a stump in one of her favorite haunts in our backyard.

At this point in our life she will be the last cat to grace our home. This watercolor was inspired by one of those moments when she sat in the sunlight in our den gazing out onto the deck she loved. The light seemed to illuminate her as she melded into the light. Little did I know that she was nearing the end of her days.

About masteringglazingtechniquesinwatercolor

Watercolor painter and author of several watercolor books on painting technique. Recent inductee/recipient of the Marquis Life Time Achievers Award.

Posted on December 23, 2016, in Uncategorized, watercolor glazing techniques and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. What a lovely piece of work that honors cats, lights and life. Thankyou for sharing such an emotional painting of a loved cat.

  2. Catherine Burnett

    Hi Don, I love your luminous darks–do you use black from a tube or mix your own? If you mix, would you mind sharing tips/recipes?

  3. Catherine, when it comes to watercolor I don’t even own a tube of black. Not to say that it can’t be used effectively. However, I prefer optical blacks which I mix from at least two colors, often three. One example is using perylene maroon in equal measure with Thalo blue. At times I’ll also throw in a bit of Hooker’s Green if I want to get darker. In this painting I used the maroon and thalo blue. Experiment with using equal measures of some of your favorite dark staining colors and you will find a wide range of luminous, transparent blacks. One other tip; always make sure you have a warm or lively under painting BEFORE you apply the black. I often choose either a new gamboge or a red/yellow mixture. Without the color boost your darks may look drab or dead.

  4. Just came across this. Beautiful story and beautiful, loving portrait of Callie. Very touching. Thanks very much for sharing.

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