Saturday, July 27, 2013

Huxley, The Therapy Cat

The computer composite sketch that I worked from

My latest commissioned piece is very special. First off, because it's a secret Christmas gift, so if you know this person, sssshhhhh. And secondly, because it's just an amazing use of personal ephemera.

I met Nanette in my Atlanta collage workshop, where she attended the weekend class with her good friend Susan. Susan found me online and purchased an original by me as well as some prints. (Thank you, Susan) and she decided to meet me in Atlanta.

At the workshop, Susan and Nanette sat right up front, they were excellent students and really enjoyed their time together. On Sunday, Nanette asked me if she could commission me to collage a very special cat. Her son Zane had a Maine Coon cat that was very special to the family.

A "Maine Coon" what is that? Well I did a little digging and found out that they are the largest domestic cat (up to 30 lbs) and are quite interesting looking, with their pointed whispy ears and toes!

the original photo with background removed, he needed some fun color to make him more lighthearted

Nanette was super happy with the computer composite, so I moved forward in the process. The first step was to take all the personal ephemera she sent me (including original hospital bands for both her and baby), and to stain it with fluid acrylic paints. 

part sketch, part underpainting, on the easel
painting the personal papers Nanette sent from Zane's childhood

In my class, I talk about using the originals of things. The original birth certificate, the original hospital bracelet, the original pediatricians bill, the original report cards. This makes the finished collage extra special, and it gives you an opportunity to enjoy and appreciate these things every day as art, vs. once in a blue moon from that box under your bed. 

the completed underpainting, what I collage over the top of-- 20x30

I created a Facebook Album with all the images along the way of this piece for Nanette to view and to share with her friends and family. She was thrilled to be able to watch it come together. (You do not need a Facebook account to visit this album)

personal ephemera was included in both the background color fields and the body of the cat

paper whiskers, finishing touches

Now that the piece is finished (the finishing touches were adding the paper whiskers) Nanette says that she can't wait for Christmas to give this very special gift to her son. 

Thanks for supporting a working artist Nanette! Thanks for trusting me with your keepsakes. Thanks for meeting me in Atlanta and spending your weekend taking my class.

Finished, headed to varnish table, check back to Facebook for professional images of the finished piece

And thank YOU for being a part of my 
Art Journey

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