Most Successful Exhibitor Award

Hello everyone – out-of-left-field, this award has come my way!

When I learned the annual Canungra Show was a couple of weekends away, I toyed with entering some of my paintings.   Believing they were already well known, I nearly didn’t bother.   Of course they are only known to those who know my website and on the basis I wouldn’t be boring everyone to tears I decided to bravely submit a few pieces that were already framed.   I also asked a few clients if I could borrow back their commissioned pieces.   At the last minute I had “Molly” framed as there was a Monochromatic category and she would be perfect for that.

Duly done, Friday lunchtime saw me lining up to register my pieces.   I saw some lovely work being submitted by truly gifted artists and was pleased the standard was high.

Judging took place on Friday night before the show opened on Saturday.   I wasn’t able to get to Canungra before 2.00pm on Saturday and when I did the show was fully underway.

It’s interesting the nervousness I felt as I entered the art exhibit building – it was like being a small child again and approval being so important and risking failure – knowing adulthood is attained through that experience.   I didn’t feel very adult to be honest.

Nothing prepared me for the shock when I turned the corner and saw nearly everyone’s favourite painting “Deejay” front and centre on the awards board with the ribbon displaying “Most Successful Exhibitor”.   That’s when surrealism clicked in.   Obviously I had to see which of my painting awards constituted that amazing outcome.   As I rushed around trying to find them all – it turns out they all did!

If this is my 15 minutes of fame…….I will savour the moment for a little bit longer.   Yay!!!!

“Silver Ghost” – the Barn Cat

His real name is Gaston – he has that  certain ‘Je ne sais quois – non?”

Gaston is a beautiful silver/blue Maine Coon and is completely unaware of his platinum good looks.

Gaston’s focus in life is to explore and find great places to climb so he can watch the world go by and he loves roaming the big outdoors and that is what Maine Coon cats need.   Large cats need big spaces.

Totally accommodating – a true Maine Coon trait – he is also a great friend to have and also loves to sit in on human activities.   Bed making is a favourite and it is always made more interesting when Gaston jumps in under the blankets or rearranges the sheets to something more interesting – mostly a mountainous and lumpy mess which he then plonks himself on and falls asleep.

Gaston in this picture was caught in the window of an old barn – the bleached wood perfectly capturing his natural colouring and making an almost monochromatic painting.

 

Five-minute “Molly” – study in monochrome

Molly is my youngest cat – the mischievous teenager and a ball of energy and destruction.

She is also Ed’s taunter and how he puts up with her, Lord only knows!   Ed is my big Maine Coon and easily two and a half times her size.   She’s forever ambushing him and using him as a hurdle or as target practice.   Somehow he puts up with her just fine – none of the other cats would though.

Anyway – this is a quick sketch using only white pastel on black paper capturing her in an unusually quiet pose.   She is basically grey and cream striped with a hint of apricot sprinkled in the cream.

I’m not sure whether to leave it as a study or develop further.   If I do develop it further I’ll add in a little brightly coloured toy fish under her right paw.   It will break the monochromatic theme and add a spot of vibrancy.

Big Bushy “Bear” – study in black

Bear was a loner when he came into my life.   Formerly belonging to a couple who could no longer care for him the way he needed to be looked after as he is quite a senior citizen now, when common sense decreed he needed to be re-homed, it was me who won the prize.

He is now around 20 years of age, yet remains agile and active, has a beautiful glossy black coat and a great appetite which maintains his solid weight around 7kgs – which for an old cat is just amazing.  He’s also the most vocal of all my fur babies and often sounds like a cross between a parrot and a dog when racing around the house – the weirdest thing!   It cracks everyone up when he does it – no one believes he’s the age he is.

I’ve done a number of studies of Bear because he’s so black and detail is so hard to capture – I keep looking for that magic formula.   His bright yellow eyes glowing out of his round chubby face are the only way I can tell front from back at a distance and even close up sometimes.   But in the sunlight – what first seems like an amorphous mass of black fur is in fact a rich mahogany undercoat with platinum highlights defining his proud shape with a rich depth of colour.

I will do a proper portrait of Bear one day but this was a lot of fun just playing around with sunlight and shadow and introducing Bear’s toy mouse for a bit of additional interest.

 

“Edmund” – Maine Coon

Edmund (Ed or Eddie) the Maine Coon is really a German Shepherd in disguise.

Massive build, powerful presence and with marvellous, rich colouring, he is to the cat world what the Shepherd is to the dog world.   A magnificent, intelligent and super-aware animal and quite the king of his realm.

At 10kg he’s naturally no feather and yet his gentle nature and ability to sense when things aren’t right with me or I’m stressed is simply amazing.   A soft paw on my arm taking me completely by surprise or his big face peering into my eyes as I wake in the morning after a restless night is gentleness akin to the brush of a feather.

Big and robust in size, he’s the most patient and tolerant of all my cats and puts up with my kitten Molly giving him the hardest of times.   She can be frankly annoying as she pesters him, tussles with him, ambushes him, uses him as a high jump.    All the while he puts up with her and in so doing, leaves her in no doubt that while she thinks she’s in control, he is absolutely her hero.

He was the first of  my cats to be painted because he is also the first member to arrive of my current cat family – the others all came after he did.   Plus, he’s also the most devoted.

Edmund – the cat you have when you can’t have a dog!

“Gus” Gustave Augustus – the First

Silver-tipped Chinchilla, Gustave Augustus the First is a very long-winded name for a beautiful ball of fluffy white nylon.   I just call him Gus.

Fluffy white nylon is exactly what he becomes when his coat is fully grown – complete with lots of knots.   With our sub-tropical climate this is totally impractical and he gets clipped at the start of every summer.   He’s actually very slender then and looks delightfully funny with a very narrow small body and a full tail, fluffy boots and a wide semi-mane around his face – it’s a clip called the Lion Clip.   The painting shows him with his coat half-grown back.

Gus was born for no other reason than to be beautiful, because he doesn’t do much else.   Eats and sleeps – that’s it!   He’s not fond of cuddles so picking him up for a hug is a waste of time – he just squirms frantically to break free.

However – I love beautiful things anyway and with his sweet nature he has a well deserved place in my heart.

Rag Doll “Splodge”

This is Chesterfield Whillowby also known as “Splodge” because his registered name is simply too long and impractical.   He is a beautiful Rag Doll/Himalayan cross and I was inspired to paint him because of his beautiful caffè latte colouring and intense blue eyes.

He’s a timid cat but became quite brave long enough for me to capture an image I could paint in my current favourite medium – pastel.

The addition of an object of his focal interest keeps the picture balanced and the eye moving around the painting.   This was pure pleasure to paint.

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