Sunday, January 10, 2010

"Sasha"

"A cat has absolute emotional honesty: human beings, for one reason or another,
may hide their feelings, but a cat does not." - Ernest Hemingway


"Sasha, Oil On Canvas, 16"x12", is a portrait of my Russian Blue cat Sasha. This painting will be a cat-themed show called The Cat's Meow in Hamilton, Ontario which runs from March 1-31st. The show will be held at Intolerant Gallery, located at 239 King Street East. More details about the exhibition can be found at the end of this entry.

Cats, and moreover, any animal that shares our lives with us, truly become a part of the family. They love unconditionally. They adore us when we are at our worst and at our best, they do not judge, they simply are what they are. They sport no pretense, ulterior motives or artifice. This innocence is what I love so much about them.

I have had many cats in my life, and Sasha is the most recent addition to the family. Being a Russian Blue, I wanted a Russian name for him and found that Sasha is an endearing form of Alexander. I was sold. He is my partner in creative crime, sitting on my shoulder while I paint and helps me make crucial artistic decisions. He learned quickly as a kitten that my palette was off limits after he stepped in paint a couple of times. My life would would not be the same without him. I am sure you can understand as most of us have had the good fortune to be loved deeply by a companion animal.

Clients often commission me to paint dogs, and I have worked for a couple of dog magazines off and on over the years as an illustrator. Cat lovers however, are a more elusive breed. In 2010 I will be completing one of the first cat commissions I have had and I look forward to this experience very much, especially because it will take me to the far north, Whitehorse, in The Yukon Territory. There is nothing more satisfying than combining adventure, exploration, art and the opportunity to meet new friends and make new connections! I think it is funny how society tends to divide people into two groups...if you love cats you must hate dogs and vice versa. Not true! I have never had a dog but the way that people explain their connection with their dogs, it sounds as though their devotion is almost unparalleled. Cats, I believe, are just as devoted, they just express their affection in more subtle, or different ways.

I captured Sasha sitting by a window one day last year and as soon as I took the reference I knew I would do a painting of it. Painting fur is always a challenge, but I tried to not get too fussy with it and simply paint the more general tones of his fur without making him look too spikey. I liked the vertical lines of the window frame, Sasha's tall posture, and how those elements echoed one another. I tried to capture the pale green of his eyes in the bright light and had fun painting the reflected tones underneath his head.

Here is some information about the upcoming exhibition. I may be out of the country at the opening reception but if possible, I will be there! I hope you can make it to the exhibition as it is on for the entire month of March! Here is a description of the exhibition:

The cat, what can one say about this glorious creature? With its majestic form, formidable meow, rhythmic purr, and its uncanny ability to hear a can of tuna being opened from three rooms away? One cannot help but fall madly in love with such a glorious creature. Therefore, and quite happily, we as avid cat fanciers have created this homage exhibition consisting of paintings, drawings and transfer art to express our love for the cat. The show was inspired by two cat lover art friends and their cats, Zorica Krasulja and Claudette Losier, who then invited their other cat loving art friends to participate in their show: Heather Horton, Amanda Mckinney, Cathy Peng, James Wylie, Carolyn Endacott, Gisele Grenier, Theresa Dinsmore, and Patricia Robertson.

The Cat's Meow
March 1-31st, 2010
239 King Street East, Hamilton, Ontario
Opening Reception March 6th at 7pm

Have a beautiful day and take good care,

Heather

"Minnaloushe creeps through the grass
Alone, important and wise
And lifts to the changing moon
His changing eyes." - W B Yeats

2 comments:

Melody said...

Cats are such loving and generous creatures. My guy Simba is there to greet me when I arrive home every single day. He lays on a blanket in my studio and continues to be the best company an artist could wish for. The painting is exquisite Heather.

Peggi Habets said...

Gorgeous painting, Heather. I have a dog and love her goofy personality, but I am fascinated with the way cats relate to people. They seem so in control!