This morning a watercolor student brought a photo of her Maine Coon cat and a couple of paintings she’d made of him. Her paintings were delightful and full of personality but she wanted to learn more to enhance her cat-painting abilities.
I thought it might be fun to play a sort of duet with paint, sitting side by side, painting together as if at a piano. I set palette and water between us, pinned the photo to the bulletin board in front of us, and we set up our boards with watercolor paper. I did some “thinking aloud” to demonstrate how I consider various options (glazing, wet-into-wet, layers or direct painting, etc.) to make a plan of attack before starting out. Then I tested out a couple of ideas on a piece of test paper and finally demonstrated one step at a time as she painted along.
We got about 2/3 of the way through painting the kitty before our session was up. I think my student got the help she needed to successfully complete her painting at home and I enjoyed finishing mine this afternoon.
I took some liberties with the background colors as you can see from the reference photo below and I’m not sure you’d necessarily recognize Toby from the painting but I sure had fun painting him.
Maine Coon Cats
I was curious about the Maine Coon breed (thinking erroneously about raccoons) and found some interesting tidbits. Maine Coons can be the size of small dogs, weighing up to 20 pounds, and are highly intelligent, playful and friendly, with big tufted feet. The legend says that British Captain Charles Coon sailed up and down the New England coasts in the 1800s and took some of his seafaring cats with him when he came into port. Those cats mated with resident felines and people referred to their offspring as “Coon’s cats.”