A study of winter sunlight, because there’s a cat in it, one of my very first watercolor paintings. It’s a very simple scene: a black cat having a bath in front of a white painted kitchen cabinet with chrome handles, and a yellow and orange patterned carpet, but the play of light has fun with the colors and objects.
Brilliant light streams in the window at a long angle in the late afternoon seeming to point to the cat having a good bath in the sun. It’s Kublai, wrapped around licking his hip in one of those only-cats-can-do-that positions, really the first painting I did of him, though I’d hardly call it a portrait. The mahogany tones in his fur gleam in amongst the black, and the highlighted areas are bluish in complement while his darkest shadows are an inscrutable rich velvety black. Sun shines through one ear coloring it coral.
The sun is so bright that the most brilliant areas in the carpet patterned as Spanish tiles are simply brightness with no pattern or color at all, yet the yellow-orange carpet reflects up onto the painted white cabinets leaving trails and smudges of yellow and cantaloupe and coral and orange, just enough to brighten up the cold winter light. Best of all, and one of the details that convinced me to paint this in watercolor, the chrome handles flash the reflection of sunlight while capturing a bit of the yellow and orange and reflecting Kublai, below.
I painted this from a photo a took soon after I’d gotten my Pentax K-1000 and permitted myself a few rolls of color film. I found the composition of the photograph very inspiring, with the strict horizontal and vertical lines of the cupboard doors and the strong diagonal shadows all leading to the very organic shape of Kublai, a little off-center, washing his hip among the shadows on the floor. The intensity of the sunlight almost makes the scene look abstract, and I found that very challenging in watercolor. It was a photo I held onto until I had the time to do it—about ten years—because I wanted to paint it as a watercolor but had no experience at all with watercolor at the time. I had done a few small watercolors prior to this, then a large seascape, but this one left large areas of the paper untouched and had all those soft edges that I didn’t know how to work in a watercolor. After producing a few muddy watery jumbles I sat down and focused and produced this painting. No better way to learn than to just do it.
And silly me, I was doing the humility thing and didn’t want to sign the painting in the lower right as is usual, instead I signed in one of the shadowed areas, as you see below. I’ve been intending to photograph this again for several years, and before I put it back in its frame I think I’m going to give it a real signature; for now I have a watermark signature.
To this day when I look at this painting, I expect Kublai to pause in his bath and quickly lift his head to look at me with his celery green eyes, and I can hear his little bell on his collar jingle when I think of it.
Purchase “Sunbath” Original Painting or Print
The original watercolor painting is 18″ x 14″, framed with white and light gray mats and an oak frame. It’s also available as prints on paper and canvas and as a greeting card. Click here for information and to purchase.
SHIPPING AND CHARGES
Shipping is included in the cost of each print.
Prints up to 16″ x 20″ are shipped flat in a rigid envelope. Larger prints are shipped rolled in a mailing tube unless otherwise requested; flat shipping is an extra cost because it’s oversized.
The giclees are printed on acid-free hot press art paper for a smooth matte finish using archival inks. Giclee is the highest quality print available because the technique uses a dozen or more ink ports to capture all the nuances of the original painting, including details of the texture, far more sensitive than any other printing medium. Sometimes my giclees look so much like my originals that even I have a difficult time telling them apart when they are in frames.
I don’t keep giclee prints in stock for most of my works. Usually I have giclees printed as they are ordered unless I have an exhibit where I’ll be selling a particular print so there is a wait of up to two weeks before receipt of your print to allow for time to print and ship.
Digital prints are made on acid-free matte-finish natural white 100# cover using archival digital inks. While digital prints are not the quality of a giclee in capturing every nuance and detail of color, texture and shading, I am still very pleased with the outcome and usually only I as the artist, could tell where detail and color were not as sharp as the original. Digital prints are only available up to 11″ x 17″ so I trim a bit off each end to fit, and also offer the half-size 12.5″ x 11″.
Because the standard size canvas prints are not proportional to the original painting, canvas prints of this painting will have a portion cropped off of each side.
I usually have at least one of the smaller sizes of canvases on hand, but order larger ones as they are ordered here because customers often want a custom size. Smaller canvases are a 3/4″ in depth, Canvases 12 x 16 and larger are 1-1/2″ in depth. I set them up so the image runs from edge to edge, then the sides are black or white or sometimes I slip in a color that coordinates with the painting. This canvas mirrors the edges of the image around the sides.
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