This is the first painting I did with this style in mind. I had sort of developed this idea over the months prior of how I would make a painting. Before this, it had been about 10 years since I’d painted and at that time, while some works were decent, it was very amateurish.
I had been studying Seurat, Gauguin, Paul Signac, and Van Gogh and began to synthesize my own style with a sort of blend with these 4 artists in particular in mind. My first piece was this hummingbird. I painted it on a thick plywood and it’s about 12×12 inches. I only had it in my possession for about a week and it was sold.
The hummingbird was obviously the focus and the rest of the painting I had not really fully thought out, so chickened out on going all in on the pointillism. So the idea was to just make a blurry background of some sort of field area with tall flora.
Next I decided to get ambitious and really test this out and see where I could take this idea, particularly painting on wood with a pointillist style and allowing for the color of the wood to be a part of the composition. So I had a large, 3ft x 3ft piece of plywood that had been just laying out in the garage, so I brought it in and decided to paint my cats.
First I made a rough sketch of Chili, the orange cat…actually that’s all there was for a long time. I didn’t know how I should do this to have an end product that I believed I was going for, so each dot is incredibly deliberate and I contemplated each one for several moments before making a mark.
Once I got Chili sort of situated, I worked on the teddy bear. This was painted around Christmas and this bear is a Christmas bear that I’d had since I was a kid…I think it was from a store called Heronimous…maybe. I wanted the bear to be holding a book…I just wanted a very cozy looking scene. I considered what books are well known and might be recognizable by the cover, but nothing totally obvious either. So I decided on a Wrinkle in Time. The idea was that one book cover was A Wrinkle in Time and the other one flipped upside down was Brave New World.
I finally got the balls to start working on Pepper, the grey cat. I think she turned out well and both cats are portrayed accurately.
The green blanket is based on a real blanket but was red and white. I thought it would look better in the composition if it were green. As you can see, I was still wavering on using pointillism here and opted to make the blanket solid. As with the chair, I pined over the chair for a good long while trying to decide how to use this style and portray the chair so it looks like it belongs and is also inviting.
I wanted the dots to feel like they were flowing in an orchestrated and logical manner – not lined up like Ben-day dots, but also not just chaos either. The end result is almost like a mosaic.
When I first started, I had to listen to the same music to stay in the same head space throughout the entire painting…sometimes I’ll listen to the same song hundreds of times in a row. For this painting I was listening to Frank Black and the Catholics Dog in the Sand. It’s a great album, but this painting took about 60 hours to complete and by the end, listening to the album was literally making me physically sick.
While I do have this painting listed for sale, it’s listed as a bit over $5,000. For one, I don’t care if it sells because I like having it here, if it does sell, great, but it does mean more to me. Only this painting and the Woman with a Drink are priced in this way. All of my other works I priced generally consistently by size. But also, this painting is on a heavier plywood and would cost a lot to package and ship.
To date this is definitely in my top 3 favorite paintings I’ve ever done and the success I had with it shaped my style and motivation today.
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