cadmium kitty

i applied myself with as much diligence and energy as i had time for, but i also sometimes let myself relax into a painting for sheer fun.

this painting of cadmium kitty is one of those.

these are the paintings where i just lay out tubes of paint, squeeze them directly onto the paper, smear them around with fingers or sopping brush, and make whatever mess i want. the cat's tail is every step of holbein cadmium paint, and the blue aura is every shade of blue.

it's really odd, but these paintings often reveal to me more cool tricks with mixtures or wet in wet effects than i would ever learn by plodding study.

i've come to believe that prankishness, sloppiness, recklessness and mayhem are essential indulgences ... at some point i had to let go and get idiotic in order to keep things fresh and loose and moving forward.

i ran into my old enemy, bad drawing, on this painting too — the cat's head and body were too large for the sheet — but rather than erase and redraw over and over until i got it right, i made one revision to the head and just made the legs shorter and the feet smaller.

screw it, it's my cat, he'll be fine with short legs and small feet.

playing around was also a good way to get me painting on full sheets and finishing the painting without much labor. i started to get a sense for the amount of paint and water and effort a full sheet required, and pacing myself accordingly. (i also got better at squeezing out only as much color as i needed.)

i thought as little as possible.

so often when i paint i hear this calm, droning, authoritarian presence in my head — barely noticeable, just outside the picket fence of awareness — commenting on the appropriate colors, the proper restraint, the need for caution, the importance of my work, the beauty that others will see in it, the shame to spoil it by taking a chance, the futility of painting without the voice to steady me ... the incompetence at the root of everything i do.

i call that voice SQUID, and by naming i help to confront it.

cadmium kitty takes all that away. with his stumpy legs, radiant tail, vibrant aura, electric joy and mischevious cobalt teal eyes, he just wants to be stroked with the brush, fed lovely color, and talked to admiringly while he's painted.

such a good kitty!

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