Tag Archives: Mixed-Media

I’m Hearing Voices

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Heee-hoo. Heeee-hooo. That’s the sound of chickadees in my neighborhood repeatedly calling to one another from the treetops. They’ve been so insistent (heeee-hoo) that I decided that they must be trying to tell me something.

Pencil drawing of chickadees

Pertinent chickadees. Pencil drawing from my sketchbook.

I recently posted about looking for inspiration in color palettes of artworks. After I wrote that, I went shopping and had a lot of fun choosing fabrics to use as future book cloth. Even so,  I was still a little “meh” about any real direction. I didn’t want to just fall back on the same cats for imagery.

(I know! I can’t believe I said that. I love cats, but it can’t be all cats all of the time, can it?)

That’s where the chickadees come in. But how to print them? The lamp in my Thermofax machine burned out and, despite calling every rare bulb dealer in the US, I’ve yet to find a replacement. That means no easy way to screen print. (If anyone knows where I might find a replacement lamp for a 3M Secretary with 15 amps, let me know!)

Chickadee drawings, fabric, printed fabric

Upper Left: Fabric for soon-to-be books; Upper Right: The inked version of the drawing above; Lower: Birds printed on fabric using ink jet printer

As a possible alternative, I tried my ink jet printer to print the chickadees on the fabric. This isn’t exactly a new idea for me, I kind of re-remembered it as something I tried once and liked. I’m satisfied with how the birds appear on the cloth, but I’m not certain about how archival this method is, or how durable it will be as a book cover.

Ultimately, I want more complex patterns. And I’m not sure if I would print the whole book cloth cover, or perhaps cut out individual birds and sew them to different cloth, or both. Or, something else entirely.

Heee-hoo. I’m waiting for the chickadees to give me a sign.

 

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

 

 

Guess Who Just Got Their Teeth Cleaned

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My vet recommended Vera for a cleaning because her gums had become inflamed, causing pain and discomfort. Cats can have similar dental issues to people that can impact overall health and well-being, so, we loaded a grumpy Miss Vera into the carrier and took her to the kitty dentist!

Smiling Cat

Look at my sparkly, clean teeth!

The procedure requires anesthetic so the teeth can be thoroughly cleaned and inspected. This also allows the vet to do any extractions or other procedures while the cat is safely asleep. The medical staff makes a complete record of the cat’s mouth, and, just like the familiar work-up from a human dentist, a digital x-ray record shows all of the teeth, and allows the vet to analyze any hidden complications. For example, Vera has a tooth that is showing evidence of resorption, but is not a problem at this time.

Cat dental x-rays

Here is a close up of Vera’s jaw. A pretty good check up!

Miss Vera came out of the anesthesia with no issues. She now has sparkly clean teeth, and her gums have returned to a healthy state. Another bonus is that Vera no longer offends her other cat friends with bad breath!

Special thanks to Dr. Jill Erickson at VCA Cherry Bend Animal Hospital!

 

That’s a Lot of Cats

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Cat Drawing with 100About ten years ago, I decided that I wanted to improve at drawing cats, so I followed some art advice from a teacher. That is, if you want to get really good at drawing something, you must draw it at least 100 times, so I am celebrating my 100th blog post with 100 cats. Okay, it’s maybe not exactly one hundred cats, but it’s A LOT of cats, all of them drawn, or painted, or printed by me over the last 5 or 6 years, almost all from my sketchbooks. Thanks for celebrating with me!Drawings of Cats

Drawings of cats by Carol Parker MittalCollage of cat artWatercolor sketches of catsCat drawings and printsCat drawings from sketchbooksCat drawings

Collage of cat drawings

Handmade Monday Block Out

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I am assembling small printing blocks because I enjoy…

  • Multiples: Being able to reproduce the same, or similar image repeatedly and in variation so that there is more than one.
  • Repetition: I am naturally attracted to patterns. There is beauty in organization, design, and structure. Can be organic or geometric.
  • Layered imagery. Inspired by the effects fabric artists get with cloth and my long-time experience in using watercolor. I want to create depth through layering of color and image.

    Rubber stamp print

    Simple rubber stamp made with Speedy Cut. I used this to give a faux linoleum print feel.

I used Speedy Cut for the large square block, and sticky-backed flexi cut, which is a thin, easy-to-cut rubber material, mounted to a square of thick binder’s board for the shape blocks.

Handmade cat stamp

Relief blocks made out of sheets of flexi-cut mounted on heavy binder’s board.

Blocks were then printed onto a piece of handmade 100% cotton rag paper that I previous painted with watercolor and left to dry covered in bubble wrap. The resulting image leaves the circle pattern of the bubble wrap in the dry paint.

Block print pattern. Person holding block print pattern.

Top: Different trials with stamps.
Bottom: Me with the final result.

This paper will get used as a cover for a handmade book, so stay tuned! More about that, later.

15 Minutes of Fame on Caturday

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I’m doing some printmaking featuring Lucy as the subject. Thoroughly unimpressed that she is the art star of this Caturday, Lucy snoozed on the cat tree through all phases of the process. The base paper is Italian handmade cotton rag stained with Windsor and Newton Ink. Additional layers include sewn-on collage elements, acrylic paint, and textile screen printing ink.  Vera supervised the work, complaining the whole time about the mess, and at the injustice being left out.

Printmaking process with cat

In the cat tree, Lucy snores loudly as I toil away to create her 15 minutes of fame.

Cat in Art Studio

Vera pouts about not being the famous cat.

Telling Your Story

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#blank book #journal #sketchbook

Hand made journal or sketchbook. Suede, stitched cover, watercolor paper. Carol Parker Mittal

I’ve always kept a blank book around. I started my first diary when I was 10 years old. It became a habit that I would follow my whole life. My diaries have evolved into sketchbooks over the years and I can’t imagine not having a place to put my ideas, solve problems, draw pictures, or make lists. That’s why I make hand made books. My blank books are for people who need a place to pursue and store their personal expressions. Check out my new Etsy shop and see what I’ve been up to at Attack Cat Studio.

Caturday in the Spring

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Cold still. Predictions of snow prevail for Easter Sunday. The cats and I continue to enjoy the intermittent spurts of sun, which is convincingly warmer with each day. Daylight lasts longer and the cats feel the pull of the out-of-doors looking for the dogwood and cherry blossoms to decide it’s finally spring.

Carol Parker Mittal mixed-media

Yellow Cat With Blossoms.