Monday, August 27, 2012


Kind of felt like I was doing it right :-)
Just a small experiment with Pastel blocks. A rather messy affair but still a lot of fun. As I don't really know one medium from another I have this massive urge to experiment with them all. I tend to get pulled in by the colour ranges and how pretty and perfect these sets look displayed in the shop. I have owned this box of pastels for about 7 years now and they are still in pristine condition. Well, that was until yesterday when I decided they were mature enough to be played with.

I picked out a picture of a steel grey kitten and doubled his size on the paper. His eyes look too human I think. I'm working out how to 'cat-ify' him some more. So until then I'll leave you with his dry pastel beginnings.

Human-oid Kitty

Friday, August 24, 2012

Getting Hammered.

Ok, I'll admit, I didn't draw this one but it may leave its artistic impression on our little island. Strongest typhoon to hit Okinawa for 13 years. We are the teeny tiny land mass just to the NorthWest of Typhoon Bolaven.

"Clowns to the left of me, Jokers to the right. Here I am, stuck in the middle........"

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Before and After

Sorry no weight loss or plastic surgery pictures here. Only a colour explosion :-)

BEFORE: This charmer is from the oreo post.

AFTER: Same furb, with just a lil' chili added!

Monday, August 20, 2012

An Oreo approach

Quick question..... How do you eat your Oreos? (or any similar sandwich style baked goods) I unrepentantly rip the two sides apart and go straight in for filling. The manufacturer's concept of just the right amount of cookie to balance the sweetness of the frosting is wasted on me. I go for the good bit. If it is any solace to those taste engineers over at Nabisco, I do spend my time meticulously removing the the center from the side it has landed on.

I have found my approach to portraiture is the same. I want to do the details first especially the eyes. Like the Oreo it is a guilty pleasure.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Story of a portrait

Paul is a precious kitty. I know I hear you say "Sure, aren't they all?" Yes, that is true but Paul is particularly precious because he is a survivor. Not only did he and his siblings get rescued from Fukushima's no-go zone at weeks old by the wonderful Japan Cat Network, he was also the only member of his litter to look parvo square in the eye and beat it. He now lives a life full of love with his doting humans. When he is not entertaining them or being adorably cute he surveys his demesne from the safety of his lofty coffee table in the catio.

Paul's guardian commissioned me to draw Paul via a local animal rescue's July campaign I offered. I took photos along the way to show each step as I progressed. I took three days to render this fine boy in total about 15 hours. I was thrilled with the final result and probably held on to the portrait a little too long after finishing it because ( Yes, I am about to unabashedly boast :-)) I just loved it:-) It is in the post now and should safely arrive Chez Paul in the morning:-)

He has the most gorgeous eyes. I couldn't resist getting detailed very early on.

Up close stage 2

Starting on the tag and body

Finished Paul

It is all in the details:-)

First steps

My last formal education in the arts was at the tender age of 12. At that time our two major projects were to produce a drawing using perspective and a self portrait. The next thing I remember I was a grade higher and in a German class because ostensibly I was "good at languages"and the option had been art or German. I spent the next 6 years providing a source of disdain for all German teachers who had the misfortune to have me on their roll. I survived and even put several college professors through the same wringer all the in the name of being "good at languages". At 22 and several German language teachers later I admitted defeat and have consequently spent the last few decades ruing that 12 year old's decision to choose German over art. I recently came to the conclusion I should give it a whirl again. After all isn't that what mid-life crises are all about. Checking if you still have it??? hahahha.

I have just spent the past 6 years in one of the most demoralizing not to mention blatantly racist, work environments of my adult working life. It was with relish I welcomed the last day of the contract but a sense of trepidation about the months of unemployment that loomed.

You may know me in another incarnation as an animal lover and if you didn't....... well, I am. It was only natural that the first thing I drew after my 20+ years art hiatus would be some kind of four leggeder. It was.  I can't remember which came first, the cat or the dog, but they knocked on my doorstep and I produced over 200 cartoon notelets to raise funds for Doggies Inc. NPO. Every single one of them was hand drawn because I hadn't got my head around technology.......hmmm still haven't!!

Notelets for Doggie Orphans Great and Small

Then the appeal went out for a character to advertise a fundraising concert for Japan Cat Network (JCN). Again I found myself responding " ahh, sure I 'll give it a whirl" thankfully there was enough time for them to say "ehm yeah..... thanks but no thanks" and find someone else to do the honours. Thing is, they stuck with me. They liked Jayceen. (did you pick up the really clever cat name? that was Anna's genius) So the guitar hauling rock cat was born and he donned the posters advertising the charity event. Yup, one thrilled Kate in Okinawa.
JCN's Jayceen.

My next inspiration came from one piece of paper. It just happened to be a 100 dollar bill. Yes, yes, yes, my unemployed self is weak and has twinkles in the eyes that are lit up by green notes.....guilty.
I swore I would be giving it back. I had no confidence in myself. At 40 I had drawn nothing for close on 30 years. I will graciously accept your monetary support but are cartoons and stick figures ok? My bill waver had confidence in me and for that I am eternally grateful. I'm 3 months in and I have a waiting list of 5 commissions. I found a niche. I'm still pinching myself that it is actually my niche but time will let me know if I'm welcome to park myself here for a while. I'm thrilled to be on this roller coaster it was worth the awful six year waiting line. The predictability, monotony and rote of that line was leaden, the only guarantee whilst in that hamster wheel was that I would face certain uncertainty at the end of it. It is from this uncertainty and freefall state I find myself in that art came alive for me. Thank you to the powers that be, here I am.

Ah-chan a 16 year maltese poodle cross.