I have a few peculiar neighbours. One elderly couple who lives in the building next to the next one has a cat. Very cute cat. In the warmer days, they let her out but she has a leash from her collar tied to the rail so she won’t get away! The poor little soul sits in the front porch looking a bit lost. Tourists come and pet her and take photos of her. Everytime I walk by, I chat with her in Japanese asking her if she’s ok even though we live in Holland. And now! There is this elderly man downstairs who is also a bit eccentric too. He recently got a cat since his wife passed away. And he likes to sit in the front porch reading his paper with his cat next to him. Again this cat is also tied to the rails! I’m starting to think this is a Dutch thing. Mind you, we live by the canals in Amsterdam which may make the cat owners worried that their loved ones would wander off and accidently fall in the canal. I really don’t know. So I thought I’d stretch my imagination a bit…
Little One loves kitties as well as doggies. The other day, she noticed how her neighbours attach a leash to the collars of their pet cats. “Interesting!” she muses. So she asks kitty and doggy their thoughts. “Poor kitty is being tied to a post. Tell you what, let’s take kitty for a walk instead!” they concluded. Doggy lets her borrow the leash and try it on kitty who is also curious about this new venture. So the three of them set out. Kitty had a lot of fun but prefers her freedom. Of course, you don’t know till you tried! And so I decided to do a watercolour painting of this.
From another project, I had some leftover Sap Green liquid watercolour. Dr. Ph Martin’s Hydrus Watercolors certainly don’t come cheap so I brushed the remainder of it onto the sides of a page from Strathmore’s Visual Journal for Watercolours. Then I started my pencil sketch. It is not very often that I get to draw the side view of Little One so thought I’d do something different today. Surprisingly, it was not as difficult as I imagined. I should draw from this angle more often!
I dug out my pan of Gansai Tambi Japanese watercolours and chose a slightly olive green colour for the rest of the background. It was quite a challenge trying to blend the olive green into the sap green so I decided to leave it as is for now. When I am almost done with the entire painting, I can always go back and work on it. Now is the time to focus on Little One and the gang!
I continued using the Gansai Tanbi watercolours. I love that the pigments are derived from natural minerals which in turn render a natural finish. With more experience and thanks to my Friday afternoon art classes, I’m starting to get the knack of watercolour painting. I used two shades of brown for the hair, switching back and forth till I got the texture right. For the dress, I used pink with a bit of violet to enhance the arm, Kitty is now orange, and doggy a light shade of grey. I’ve yet to master more the concept of dimension like light and shade but it’s getting there. I mixed in some green to add shadows to the subjects. Once all done, I managed to blend in the background better with a wet brush. What I love about watercolours is the dreamy mood they give!
For the fine details, I used some watercolour brush pens. One of my favourites is Akashiya Sai Watercolour Brush Pens which I bought in Japan. I try to avoid using black so went for browns. greys and blues. In retrospect, though, I feel using the pen may have given a harsh effect against the rest of the soft dreamy painting. Perhaps in future I may like to continue with the watercolour pans using a thin brush rather than a pen. I considered watering down the pens with a wet brush but was afraid it may ruin the painting by making the lines thicker so I shall leave it for now. Still a happy and cute illustration and certainly puts the point across about Little One’s adventure with her little friends!
This time a sweet simple watercolour illustration with a funny story behind it. I found this session quite grounding after a long day. Although I find creating art therapeutic, just sketching or painting with only watercolours seems to be more relaxing as you’re not running around looking for various items to use. It is also fun to get inspiration from something unusual in your everyday life and paint about it. Who would have thought of Little One walking a cat?