Art As Intimacy

Connections of Love

I titled this latest edition of news "Art as Intimacy: Connections of Love". This is the result of a recent experience I had when commissioned to paint, Harry, a gorgeous, orange marmalade cat who passed away a year ago. Harry was a very important member of his family whose owners wanted to memorialize him in a painting. I have always known pets as members of my family since I was a child. These furry friends provide unconditional love, companionship, and humor that brighten our days and nights. They greet us when we walk through the door, curl up beside us when they know we're not feeling well, bring out our inner kittens or puppies, and show us that a nap any time of day is always the right time.

My approach over the past year has been to paint the same subject numerous times. I learn something new with each version. There's something to be said for immitating the Masters. One of my favorite impressionists, Claude Monet, gave us beautiful and slightly different variations of the same subject. It's as if each time he sat down to paint, he saw something he hadn't seen before. So, when I embarked on the portrait of Harry, I knew I would do several studies and two paintings to see what they would reveal. I began every morning either sketching or painting this gorgeous cat. I'm a very early riser which added to the intimacy of getting to know, paint, and memorialize Harry.

My journey began with timed sketches to get the feel of him. I used pencil, charcoal, ball point pen, and a thick marker for each study. Next, I sketched Harry in watercolor. I looked at the photo the family sent me of where he spent a great deal of his time, with his dear human friend, Bob, in his wood workshop. I separatedly sketched the various items in the scene, wanting the oil can to feel metallic, the paper towel roll to feel soft, and the Home Depot bucket to feel round and solid with its metal handle. At some point, I knew I was ready to lay out the painting, with all its beautiful elements, onto watercolor paper. Then I started mixing paint.

It was on one sunrise-kissed morning, (the sunrises are amazing here in Montague), replete with pinks, lavendars, and gold, that I sat to paint Harry and felt myself welling up inside. My eyes teared up as I realized how, through this process, I had come to love him; his personality, his grit, his dirty feet, and his loyalty to his family. Yes, I was ready to paint his formal portrait.

The experience of painting Harry inspired me to feel a deep and real connection to love through my art. I know that I am capturing the owners affection for their pet through my painting. The gratitude I feel is extraordinary and too immense to measure. This is not the first animal portraint I have done and each time the love has touched me deeply. For me, art is intimacy. It is where I feel most connected to love.

For this new year I am going to put something on 'sale' each month. This month I have put the Czechoslovakian Glass and Sterling Silver necklace and earring sets on special.