Tuesday, June 18, 2013

How Did The Cat Get In There?

Here is another painting for the show in October, completed at the end of May. It does not have a title as yet, although I guess the title of this post could work as well as anything else. (I apologize for the blurriness of the photo, it was taken, without benefit of a tripod, with my very basic digital camera.) It is based on a photo of a charming old fresco in an Italian house, from the book Italian Style by Jane Gordon-Clark, with photos by Simon Upton (the original illustration appears in the page previews in the link.)

I attempted to give the scene a little twist with the addition of a cat lurking below the fruit tree, watching the birds. However, after adding him, I realized that he kind of throws the whole thing off, since the painting follows the rather primitive style of the original fresco, but the cat is done more realistically. But I like his furry face so much, I couldn’t bring myself to redo him in a more “cartoony” style to match the birds. So I have decided that the discrepancy is part of the humor of the painting. How did a “real” cat get into a fresco? Viewers will either get it, or conclude that I can paint cats, but not birds.

I love to look at ancient art for inspiration, and of course, for sheer delight. The “primitive” look is deceptively difficult to render, even without requiring perspective and chiaroscuro. The original artists were still the highly skilled painters of their time, and their designs are often as sophisticated and complex as anything out there today.  

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