A cat I know

Cat having nap

I have a cat. His name is “Charlie.” He is sick and not eating. Cats need to eat regularly or they get very sick and die. Up until a few days ago, eating was not an issue. He ate plenty, even too much. The vet can’t figure out why he is not eating now and that is a source of big worry. It is amazing how these little creatures get under your skin. As I think about it, the whole house revolves around Charlie. When he spent the night before last at the vet’s, I kept looking for him and thinking about him. And, I did a picture of a cat that has many of his features. Big tummy. An orange tabby. Likes to sleep. That drawing (above) shows a cat under some shrubbery. Charlie is an indoor cat but would like to be an outdoor cat so “under some shrubbery” made sense. I don’t usually draw stuff that is too obviously close to me. I abstract things, create little worlds and have little interest in photo-realism. Creating photo-realistic work is a skilled trade like plumbing. Why waste time drawing a photographic likeness when there is a perfectly good camera close at hand? Unless, of course, a client is paying big bucks for it. The way I see it, a photographic likeness is not fine art as its intent is to copy reality rather than to portray something an artist is trying to say about themselves, their vision or their relationship to the world. Some, I’m sure, would disagree. But, even if you look at Norman Rockwell’s stuff, which many see as photo-realism, you can see how he abstracted and transmuted what he was seeing (even though he painted from staged photographs). The same for Sargent’s portraits. He painted them from posed and paying subjects to fool the eye and to create his own vision of them and their world. He made buckets of dough doing it but yearned to be known for his non-portrait work as it was “real” fine art. The above picture is 18 x 24 inches on 64-lb. Strathmore charcoal paper and done in charcoal and pastel.

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