Sunday, December 20, 2015

A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A CAT

 
"You have a visitor behind you...", "They are affectionate whenever it's inconvenient for you, like when you're doing homework..." , "C'mon let's go find a cat!" Those are some of the conversations I overheard while at the Cat Cafe.
 
I don't own a cat myself, but I was curious to see what the very first Cat + Cafe looked like since I made reference to the "Catfe" on one of my instagram posts about a Cat character named Furnando that I created for a painting competition:
The place is actually a cafe and adoption shelter. There were seven resident cats that were carefully selected from the SPCA. The requirement: They needed to be the friendly ones. I was on the waiting list for walk ins as reservations were necessary to regulate the number of people coming in without causing too much stress on the cats.
When my name was called, two other cats were called as well. They had been successfully adopted! The entire wall on one side looked like one long shelf of hollow squares with holes for the cats to pass through. It was where they slept if they chose to and played if they didn't feel like coming down.
This is Jose. He's a black and white cat with a pink nose and he's very laid back. He became the subject of my painting. As I spent my first hour thinking about how to capture the essence and vibe of the place, I watched and interacted with the cats and took some pictures.
The concept that I thought of was to portray the life of a cat in the cafe by using the cubby-squares as the back drop. To ensure that the boxes don't look like cages, I did two things:  The holes that they passed through had to be visible within the perspective that I drew it in. The second was to draw a cat walking through 2 of the boxes. 
The cats you see are images of just one cat. The color doesn't represent the cat's fur but it's temperature, ramping up from cool and calm to active and alert and back to just being chill. Click on the image to view a bigger size. 

Sunday, December 13, 2015

THE BEER AND THE BEAUTIFUL

The Vancouver Urban Sketchers was at the 33 Acres Brewery Pub joining the crowd for some onsite sketching, drinking and food. It was a rainy Saturday afternoon and the place was buzzing with activity.


I didn't have any lunch yet so a doughnut and coffee was all I could get. This was an earl grey's doughnut with what I thought were chili flakes. They were actually fresh rose petal sprinkles.
This was the beer paddle ordered by a couple of urban sketchers. It's a good way to sample different flavors and hop levels. 

I couldn't stay too long as I had an appointment to keep, promising my 6 year old nephew that I'd come over to play video games with him. I painted just two beers and planned on finishing it when I got home. It was a long day for me and arrived home at about 1130pm. I must have caught a second wind since I was wide awake and could not wait to paint. So that's what I did. After my nightly rituals, I set off to paint at around 1245 and took my time. I believe a pizza was ordered and consumed in between and I finished at around 430am.


Saturday, December 5, 2015

HANGING OUT AND HANGING UP!

Somewhere in Vancouver, on a Friday night, a "Hang Up" party was happening. 

Backtrack to a week ago, we were invited by our buyer and friend, Lea, to her home for what she called a Hang up" party. It's a small gathering of friends, snacks provided, for the unveiling of the painting that we did live in 80 minutes, at the Battle of the Brushes competition in November. I was pleasantly surprised to know how she created an entire event just to welcome the painting in her home. I was more than happy to come by and see it all unfold.
On the night of the party, upon my arrival, this long brown fabric draped over the painting was in the center of the living room. I brought with me an envelop with an original Certificate of Authenticity and colored print of the "behind the scenes" chronicle of the painting.
We had the chance to tell our story to everyone, how the idea started, the revisions and versions that it evolved into, how my painting partner and I started working together, our journey from joining this competition being handicapped from having totally different styles , and never having tried painting in acrylics.
The "behind the scenes" chronicles was passed around the room and it was just a privilege as an artist to see and witness the moment when your art is seen in this regard, hearing the response and interacting with the people. 
I was so glad to be part of this reception. She added that the painting will help warm up the place and get them through the cold winter season. 
 Here's a 15 second video I made of the unveiling.

video

If this one painting can make two people smile, why not make another one? A bigger one, but this time, getting more people, the people of Vancouver involved in the making of the painting.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

PAINTING FLOWERS

This next onsite painting with the Urban Sketchers was in a flower shop in Kitsilano called Aria. The place looked nice from pictures off the the internet. I actually almost didn't make it that day. However, when the sun is out, it would be a shame not to partake in the outdoors and sunshine.
        vancouverflower.ca
I arrived a bit late and met Jason and Michelle, the owners of the place. They were very congenial and gave me a quick tour of the place. They had chairs around the room for us to be sit on when sketching, a tea station and a platter of biscuits and chips. The reception was very warm and the energy in the room was flowing.
I asked about a few flowers that say "Vancouver" and Elantra, from one table away was kind enough to stop what she was doing to show me the flowers. She was one of the flower experts in the shop. After a brief chat, she offered to arrange those flowers that I asked about. She did such a fantastic job with the flower arrangement, this had to be in the center of my painting. They are Sunflowers, Calla Lilies and Snap Dragons.
I had an idea of how I wanted to compose the painting. It was a matter of mentally choosing the type of flowers, the length of the plants, size of pot, trying to "see" how the colors would match up beside each other in my head. I took pictures while I was doing the exercise and when I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted, I started sketching. When I was done, I had only about 15 minutes left to partially paint the center piece 
I deliberately stayed away from any Christmas themed flowers and went with the ones that can represent the shop in any season. I wanted to capture the personality of the place by just the flowers alone, with an exception of a teddy bear for added interest because how can you give flowers without them? From the left: Teddy Bears holding 3 pink roses, Bromeliad, Antherium, the Center Piece, Moth Orchids, Spineless Cactii with Ilex Berries, succulent.


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