I finished “Virgo” last night (for the complete painting, please see Under the Constellations) and noticed something about my cat painting career. Every time I paint a cat, it usually looks cranky. Now, maybe you’d look cranky too if some lady had her hand around your neck.
I tried painting a group of barn cats once before in acrylic, but every one of them looked as though they ate a bad mouse and had indigestion. I covered up that old canvas with a garden scene. Much better. I painted the backside of my mother’s cat, staring up at a bird – he generally looks unimpressed, so one could say I nailed that one.
I love cats. Some would even venture to say that I’m a crazy cat lady, and I’m actually ok with that moniker. There really is only one possible solution to this problem: practice more cat painting.
I created a beautiful blend of bath salts scented to soothe coughs and colds, and it just begged to be named after the great north! So I’m calling it Corona Borealis – The Northern Crown. It seems that here, in Canada, we’re so blessed with a lengthy cold and flu season. The salts are made with Rosemary and Eucalyptus oils, well known for their uses in easing sore throats, opening stuffy noses, and helping one breathe deeper. Now that these bags are resting in the cupboard, every time I open the doors I take a deep breath and feel such delight! I’ve made a few shower melts in the same fragrance and can’t wait to share!
I rarely take out my watercolours to sketch. Last year, for my birthday I received a terrific watercolour sketchbook, and I’ve barely filled a quarter of it. Since I was already making some labels for some bath salts, I thought I’d make use of the wet paint on the palette and just let my imagination run.
I have a hard time sketching from imagination. When I was painting, I realized what the problem has always been: perfection. I always paint or draw from an image right in front of me, and I like it to be perfect. But this exercise was much more intuitive. I had nothing to go by. I just used the colours that were there – violet, blue, Payne’s grey. I had to make a scene from my imagination, and had to abandon the idea that it HAD to be perfect.
So the picture above is not really what I imagined. And it’s not the perfection I imagined, either. But that’s ok. That’s why it’s practice, and why it’s in a sketchbook. But I’m sharing it in this post to show everyone the process, and that we all have barriers and hang-ups that can hinder our creativity if we let it. The trick is to just create anyway.
Lately I’ve been working on crafting bath salts scented with essential oils. I truly love nothing more at the end of the day than a soak in a hot bath with scented epsom salts. As Sylvia Plath said, “there must be quite a few things that a hot bath won’t cure, but I don’t know any of them.”
I’ve been thinking about connecting my scents to my art, and realized that there are so many great connections to be made here, as there are in my art concepts. My Perseus & Andromeda painting, a steamy and spicy couple dancing a tango, has been reproduced into a peppermint and rose blend. What a great Valentine’s Day bath for couples, indeed!