The old lady and the cat…

December 13, 2022

I find myself less and less interested in painting everything that is present in a reference picture faithfully and completely. Especially when I am playing around with something that is not a dedicated portrait. It is a neat development to go through for me – trying to create something with just minimal sketch lines to start with. It produces a lot of artistic freedom, that I am not yet entirely comfortable with, but it sure is a lot of fun.

This painting is based on an intriguing reference picture. There is a general atmosphere that breathes a weird mix of old-age loneliness and companionship, don’t you think?

Paint still a bit moist, causing some ‘glare’ in the left upper corner, but you get the picture… ‘The old lady and the cat’. Mounted canvas, ready to hang, 60 / 40″. Based on a photograph of Margriet Markerink.

Overall, the scene was pretty dark and I had to lighten the reference picture quite a bit with Photoshop, to see which of the many essentials I wanted to include. Ah, the luxury of painting versus photography! Once I started to put brush to canvas, I found that the image offered quite a few riddles. For instance: the table with the oriental rug. I had to pull out some books about perspective and ask the photographer to clarify in order to understand what I was looking at.

Further down on this page is the sketch of the situation, after I had figured it out… So you see, creating a painting, even from a reference, can be quite mathematical and planned. It’s not as if I am like the Swedish cook from the Muppets, randomly throwing paint at the canvas in the way he adds ingredients to his meals 🙂 Oftentimes I look more like ‘Beaker’, the left Muppet character in the screenshot below, when putting the wrong paint on my canvas 🙂 Love those two!

Above: Lego ‘minifigs’ of my favourite Muppet characters on the wall in my office: Beaker (in a state of fear and panic) and Swedish cook (who I do a pretty good imitation of when I cook, even if I say so myself; thank God for husband’s willingness to clean up after me!)
The riddle of the table solved… The rug in the reference is in fact the far end of the table, seen from an extemely low perspective, hanging askew with the table only partially visible. See the part in the square. Phew. That was a hard nut to crack!

As usual, I am going to let this cure for a bit before fixating it. To see if anything needs to be retouched. But for now, here they are: ‘The old lady and the cat’. I had fun continuing the paint on the sides of the canvas. As if the work was mounted, after being painted on a larger surface….

Right side of the canvas
Left side of the canvas

2 thoughts on “The old lady and the cat…

  1. Margriet Markerink

    You’ve succeeded in re-catching this semi-tragic moment of the old lady and the cat watching TV. The old lady is a cat crazy widow, who, after her own cat had died, was adopted by a neighborhood cat… the cat and the tv are her present window on the world.

  2. Nicky Post author

    Thank you, Margriet. Thank you for letting me use your reference picture for inspiration. Happy to hear you feel I did it justice!

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