For The Love No. 1
5” x 5” acrylic on wood
This was the start. This image. As soon as I’d snapped the shot of the cat with my phone camera I knew I wanted to create art from it. Do you ever get the feeling?
I fell in love with the composition, the green of the cat’s eye, the detail in the fur.
Now for the humbling part. My skill set wasn’t up to snuff. At this point, in 2013, I wasn’t painting and hadn’t painted since first year university. I remember painting mermaids while listening a recording of Silvia Plath reading her poetry and the haunting feeling of a voice from beyond the grave. It was a whole mood.
Anyways, by 2015 I had started painting again. I remember having to relearn colour theory so as not to mix mud, to use value to convey shape and form, and pay attention to how I wanted to guide the eye through a painting. I focused on painting from photographs, mainly water and whales, matching colours and changing the surface of a canvas from flat to rippling waves. Still I wasn’t yet ready to tackle the complex texture and colours of kit cat fur.
In the year 2020 I was ready. A few months into the pandemic I was in need of a project to take my mind off the case counts, the doom scrolling, debating mask wearage (there was so much we didn’t know). It was time to tackle this painting to see if I could do it justice. It took a couple of sessions, much repainting to understand the background, many layers to get the fur just right. The eye was the only part that came easy.
My goal has never been photorealism. More impressionistic. I like to use photos I’ve taken, knowing that there is something a camera (phone) can’t quite capture. I try to add this in with my brushstrokes and colour choices. Two years later I have painted 30 of these little paintings inspired by the style of my Instagram feed circa 2013-2016.
The series really became a love letter to Instagram.
To what it was before stories and reels.
Before the algorithm took over.
Check out the gallery for more of the series.