Category Archives: Painting

All the Sparkly Things Remember

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The ornaments on my tree all have an origin story. Some belonged to my mother. Others were made by my husband, or by me. Many more were gifts from friends or former students. Each decoration has meaning, and evokes the giver, the event at which it was acquired, or the location of purchase or creation. The Christmas tree, then, becomes a receptacle of memory, representing the strata of my life, and that of my family.

Watercolor painting of a cat ornament. Carol Parker Mittal

Do not eat. Not a real cookie.

As a cat person, I receive a lot of cat Christmas tree ornaments as gifts. This one, though, I purchased myself while celebrating a birthday dinner on a riverboat in Hannibal, Missouri. (Yes, the Hannibal that is famous as being the hometown of Mark Twain.) I liked this cat  for the whimsical arch of its back, and that it looks like a frosted gingerbread cookie. I’ve been staring at it ever since our tree went up a couple of weeks ago. This morning, I was compelled to document it.

I just want to say Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukah to everyone, if that’s your thing, and, at the very least, Happy Solstice! This is as dark as it gets in the Northern Hemisphere. Be warm, safe, and thoughtful this holiday.

 

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Philosophical Fragments

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Hardly anyone I know ever saw this painting. I created, Zeno, for donation to a local art center for a fundraising event, the kind where local artists hand over a piece, then, during an invited members-only reception, the artworks sell to the center’s patrons.

Zeno tiger measuring tape crow gourd

Zeno, a Greek philosopher and mathematician, believed that the world of the senses was merely an illusion.  Watercolor painting by Carol Parker Mittal

I was excited to have a piece in this show. Being new to the area, I saw it as an opportunity to have a lot of people see my work. On the night of the occasion, my then-boyfriend and I arrived at the reception early but I couldn’t find the painting anywhere! I quickly discovered that Zeno was one of the first pieces that sold that night. I never saw it hanging in the gallery, though I did locate the orphaned label, and the empty space on the wall. I never even signed the front of the work.

We strolled through the galleries, looking at all of the art. Despite the swanky surroundings and champagne, some of my enthusiasm for the event had waned. Plus, the food options for vegetarians were next to nothing. We left the party early. While I was excited that my piece sold, I was disappointed that I didn’t get to see it in the gallery– nor did anyone else– because it disappeared so quickly.

That art center stopped hosting fundraising events in the same way the year after, so unknown artists like me were no longer invited to participate. I’m grateful for the opportunity to have sold my work for a good cause, but I still wish I’d kept this painting and donated a different piece.

As it turns out, this night lives as one of my favorite date nights ever. I recall many details, including what I wore (I went shopping for an entirely new outfit,) who we ran into (people from work who did not know we were dating,) the souvenir glasses stamped with blue stars, (still have one of them,) and the lovely desserts we found after we left the reception (at a place to which we returned frequently.) As luck would have it, the then-boyfriend became my husband. Things don’t always turn out as planned, sometimes they turn out better.

 

Getting All Christmas-y

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When I work on illustrations of cats, I use a reference because I’ve never been an artist who remembers the details of an object from my imagination. A lot of times, I can work out the surroundings, or take a quick look at something, say, a table, and draw it. But, for the main subject, kitty!, I usually work from a photo. I like photos not so much because I want to capture every whisker, but more because there’s usually the placement or angle of a pose that I want to capture.

Watercolor painting of a cat with presents with the comparison photo of the same cat used as reference for the painting.

My sweet, long-suffering Emily was just waiting for me to finish working  in the studio one night when I took this shot. Later, I used it as inspiration for the painting on the right.

For my holiday series, I  first come up with the idea for the composition. Then, I search through my hundreds (literally) of cat photos for the poses that I think will best fit my idea. On the rare occasion I don’t find what I am looking for, I might go in search of a willing model, but it’s hard to get a cat to pose! That’s why I take pictures frequently to use for reference later. That way, I almost always have the exact look I want.

Side by side comparison of a drawing of a cat before the watercolor and pen work is added.

On the left is an example of the drawing I made for the finished painting on the right.

In the beginning, I block out the composition in pencil, finally adding the details with watercolor, and sometimes adding in pen for contrast and definition.

I have quite a collection of Christmas Cats at this point. So, I thought I would have some of them printed on greeting cards. I use a local printer who works with me to accurately represent the original color when translated to the digital reproduction. I’m so happy with how they turned out, that I decided to offer them for the first time in my Etsy shop and at the local holiday markets!

A collection of Christmas Cards featuring Cats from Carol Parker Mittal at Attack Cat Studio

My collection of Christmas Cats! You can find them at Etsy, or just send me a private message for special orders.

If you want your own, find them at Attack Cat Studio: https://www.etsy.com/shop/AttackCatStudio

 

 

Art Visits Katz

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When you get a chance, prowl on by the awesome and comprehensive Katzenworld site to see my occasional guest entry, the Friday Art Cat, where you’ll find some arty cats drawn or painted by me!

Black cat and tuxedo cat

This is a fan painting I made of Nubia and Oliver, just two of the felines you’ll find in the World of Cats that is Katzenworld.

There Be No Werewolves Here

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Powerful and mysterious, the moon tugs at the oceans, determines our calendar, and causes mischief when we see the sun’s reflected light during the full lunar cycle. I always welcome that illuminating glow and the moon’s transformative luminosity. The succession from full, to waning, to half, to waxing is a comfort and a beacon, connecting me to my friends all over the world because we all gaze upon the same moon. So, today’s prompt, Beware the Full Moon, is more like an invitation for contemplation than a warning against danger.

Cats on a branch.

Danger, Cats!

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My answer to today’s prompt, Rise of the Robots is an astounding development in the world of cat waste removal. Everyone is aware of the automated, self-scooping litter box. I’ve seen a few myself, but have never tried one out. When I saw pictures of this particular box, I wondered what made the designers stick so closely to a robot look, for a cat box. Is there something I’m missing? Apparently, cats everywhere are amenable to these, but I’m pretty sure my cats would not use this device. First of all, it’s covered, a sure recipe for peeing outside of the box at my house. Plus, it’s a small dark hole from which would emanate a mechanical noise as soon as they exited– double scary. So, Drawlloween today? Rise of the Litter RobotsScary!

Cat with Litter Robots

A curious, space-age litter box. It looks scary to me.

At Midnight, or Late Afternoon

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Boogie Man always makes me think of the song of the same name by KC and the Sunshine Band. Traditionally, the Boogeyman is invoked by parents as a warning to mischievous children, as in, “You’d better behave or The Boogeyman will get you.” For this entry in Drawlloween, I decided to take the traditional route interpreting the prompt Boogie, Man. But, I confess, I was tempted to include some disco lights.

Cat in a Bag

What is it about cats and bags?