“For thirty years people have been asking me how I reconcile X with Y! The truthful answer is that I don’t. Everything about me is a contradiction and so is everything about everybody else. We are made out of oppositions; we live between two poles. There is a philistine and an aesthete in all of us, and a murderer and a saint. You don’t reconcile the poles. You just recognize them.” - Orson Welles (1915 – 1985)
I never liked this first set of 2 cats that I painted. I thought them too sweet. Yesterday I was talking to a friend about polarities, after that conversation I knew exactly what I wanted to do to these small compositions that I was struggling with. It’s the same cat on the front and on the back, taking up the same area on the paper. Maybe I call it Two Sides to Every Story.
As of now, this first one is my favorite. It’s organic. The cat itself is somewhat modeled after Bansky’s rabbits. I set up the skeleton in egg tempera and the cat in graphite, underneath is casein muscle structure. The background came about while I was trying to obliterate it.
I guess I let go of the self-imposed set up, the idea of one side in pure casein and one side in pure egg tempera wasn’t working. I got another set of designs and reworked them too. The graphite took so well to the prepared paper, how could I not use it. I brought in hard and soft pencils, an eraser, sand paper, a scratch tool, and gesso. And I mixed the casein and egg yolk. The cat above and the rat below, are pure and painterly egg temperas. But their other sides – mixed-media.
I began all this the first week of May after Carolyn brought me a sheet of prepared paper. The first 2 images in this post are that sheet, it’s the lightest in weight and the most flexible and was the most precious. I was going to paint cats – for the fun of it. Obviously I enjoyed the surface of the paper, and all the mediums. I pulled out all my longer and softer paintbrushes. I painted.
- 3 sheets of prepared paper – 1 bird, 4 cats and 1 rodent later, my studio is a mess. It’s too hot to have egg yolk lying around, it smells. I’m done for now with the experimenting, drawing a day or a week thing. Time to pause, look – and reorganize.