So, it’s Friday evening and I’ve poured myself a nice cold of Pinot G., and I’ve met my deadlines for the week (yes, Dear Readers, sometimes people actually pay me to write.) and you and me can discuss the crucial issues of the day.
Namely, Summer is over. I watched it go, sitting in my backyard, at 4:44 pm Daylight Savings Time on the Long Island Sound Sunday, Sept. 22. More of a bummer this year than usual. Don’t get me started.
I did not pick up a paintbrush this whole past week (spent all my time wordsmithing, you know) but I do have something worthy to show you from a spot of painting (let us all now assume English accents) from yonder fortnight.
Two weeks ago I was working on an illustration of the beloved children’s tale, Peter Rabbit. Beatrix Potter is my idol when it comes to illustration, and I have a chapter on London Gardens in my work in progress, the Damn Garden Book, so I was not going to miss the opportunity to reference my childhood infatuation with All Things English, starting with Peter Rabbit.
You know the story. For my illustration, I had to get the lay of the land, namely farmer MacGregor’s garden:
The wondrous Beatrix illustrated it as a walled garden on the edge of a woods. And my favorite scene:
Voila, Le Chat. (they call them moggies in England, by the way.) See how this ties into our whole Paint a Cat saga?
So, here is my interpretation of Peter Rabbit at this most crucial part of the whole story of Peter Rabbit:
(I have blocked out the left hand side for future text, FYI.)
As soon as the paint dried on this thing I knew there was a problem with the cat but I didn’t know what.
I put it away for 48 hours, took a fresh look at it, and it hit me like Thumper:
The cat’s head is too small. Of course!! That’s why it looks more like an ermine than a C-A-T.
But the thing had already been painted, and it’s watercolor, so o lordy, what to do?
I am now going to tell you, Dear Readers, a Trick of the Trade.
All I did was paint a new (right) cat on a separate bit of Canson 90 pound cold press paper (the only paper I use — I love love love this paper) . Then I cut it out, and glued it over the ermine, like thus:
Here’s a close up:
I know from experience that when this picture is scanned for print and published in a book, the fact that it’s a cut out will never register with the reader:
In fact, if I am not about tell blab about it right now, you probably would never have noticed that Peter himself is a cut out, pasted in front of the MacGregor garden in the background:
And you know what? I feel A-OK about this because I have recently discovered that our darling Miss Potter did the exact same thing back in the day when she was watercoloring her way to immortality.
Take a look at this illustration below:
See that DoG? Look closely:
Yep. He’s a cut out. Underneath that Pomeranian, probably, is some small-headed Pug that gave the delightful Miss P. second thoughts.
And if Miss P. can do it, then I can do it.