A Little Dapple Do Ya.

In my short life (nine years) as a professional illustrator, there is one thing that I can’t paint, and that’s what we will be painting today. Yay. I can feel the excitement from you Dear Readers already.

But first, we need to lead with the cats:

From top top bottom, that’s Bibs, Taffy, and our next-door neighbor, Dennis, on November 25, 2017. Bibs is hoping that something is going to happen between Taffy and Dennis, but Taffy just walked past Dennis and “didn’t” see him, while Dennis happened to be looking the other way and “couldn’t” see Taffy. It’s like my kitchen patio is high school and Taffy and Dennis are the popular girls.

And this just in:

Prince Harry is going to marry his American sweetheart! I, of course, watched the video of their engagement announcement on Monday in London and it was clear that these two people are smitten. She’s gorgeous and intelligent and fun and kind (so I read), and Harry is a Prince and I’m happy for them and they make a beautiful couple.

But I also  noticed the height discrepancy and had to look it up.  Prince Harry is on record as being 6’1″.  Meghan Markle is supposed to be 5’7″ (that’s one zillionty-two centimeters for those of you who think metric, but maybe not; I’m not good at math). Meghan was wearing heels that added at least three inches to her height (I looked it up; her shoes have a 4.1″ heel…YIKES), so that would, in theory, make her 5’11” in this picture.  Well, I don’t think so.

This is why I love the internet: I found a site called celebheights.com and it has been discussing Meghan Markle’s real height for about three years. The inside info is that she’s maybe 5’4″ TOPS, but someone who worked with her PR people says she’s only 5’2″, but she’s very slim, so that makes her look taller.

So, yeah, I have a lot of free time on my hands if I’m looking up stuff like Meghan Markle’s real height. But I also do productive stuff, such as solving the problem of the day.

Back to the problem of the day:

Before Claude Monet gave up painting genre pictures to concentrate of doing abstract water lily landscapes, he was quite good at painting sunlight:

Claude Monet: The Parc Monceau, Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC

I would love to be able to paint sun-dappled grass like this (see above).

Or, I’d love to be able to paint sun-dappled shade, like this:

Claude Monet, Luncheon at Argenteuil, Musee d’Orsay, Paris

But my problem is that I can’t do the dapple.

Dapple: the light that flickers between sun and shade.

It’s very hard to paint. Really, really hard.

Now, I’ve done a Triscuit or two, in which I have achieved a small dapple effect, one from Monet’s own garden at Giverny:

The Triscuit, at left, is a watercolor painted by me; the Triscuit at the right is a delicious baked wheat snack cracker made by Nabisco which is especially tasty when topped by a slice of cheddar cheese and heated to melting point in a toaster oven.

This next Triscuit dapple is a scene from my own village here on the Long Island Sound:

I have also achieved a semblance of dapple in several other small illustrations and studies for other projects:

So last week I attempted to do a dapple in the part of Monet’s garden at Giverny that is called The Ladies Circle (if you’ve been to Monet’s place, it’s that semi-circle of benches under the pawlonia tree at the bottom of the apple orchard):

I lied down a thin wash of yellow and bright green before I dappled it with dabs of darker green (working wet-in-wet):

The I sjuzzed it up by swiping at the still-wet blobs with my size-00 brush, because I had a recollection that this had worked for me in the past:

Suffice to say, it was a fiasco. And it was fiasco when I did it the second time, and the third time, and the fourth time:

These are all my attempts at doing The Ladies’ Circle, and all of them stink but some of them stink less than others.

I tried to find other watercolor painters on the internets who have successfully achieved dapple but not surprisingly, I couldn’t find a single one. No one who works in watercolor can do the dapple on green grass. It’s strictly an oil paint thing.

So I decided to go for a more, um, impressionistic look and this is what I got:

I painted this picture in true proportions to my photo reference, but those benches just don’t look right as they are. They need to be embiggened, even if they are not so in the real world —  so I will be be re-doing this pic in the near future. But I did manage to do a nice study of one of those benches (the design was Monet’s own favorite), and the tea table that I put in front of it is a quote from one of  Mr. Monet’s own pictures:

I never cared for one of Monet’s fellow impressionists, Pierre-August Renoir, but he’s been in the news lately because of this:

Maybe you heard about the fake Renoir that der Drumpf has hanging in his glitzy Trump Tower apartment? The one that he still brags is “real”, even though the Chicago Institute of Art has had the authentic Renoir painting on display since 1933 and can substantiate its provenance from 1881, when the artist painted it and sold it to a dealer in Paris. It’s called Two Sisters on a Terrace and I don’t care for it at all, except that I LOVE it for being evidence of der Drumpf’s delusions that even his nut job fans can’t possible defend. I mean, even a nut job crypto-Nazi half-wit has to believe his own eyes, right?

Just remember this the next time you hear der Drumpf claim that the news is fake, that he turned down Time magazine’s cover for Person of the Year, and that voice on the recording isn’t his. I hope and pray that no one from der Drupf’s family is invited to Prince Harry’s wedding, oh lordy, the next thing you know der Drumpf will be telling us that Harry wanted him to be Best Man because of his close friendship with the late Princess Diana.

Luckily, as the Prince is only 5th in line to the throne of England, I think the wedding will be a personal rather than a state affair, so the happy couple will be free to exclude any head of state whose every word is a nugget of steaming puss oozing from its filthy rotten lying orifice, or any creep they just don’t like.

As you see here, Renoir couldn’t dapple either.

Have a great weekend, Dear Readers. It’s beginning to feel like Winter here on Long Island, so wherever you are stay warm and cozy…

Another configuration of the Two Cats/One Space Principle.

…or stay cool, whichever make you feel dappled and drowsy and groovy.

See you next Friday!

23 Comments, RSS

  1. Margaret

    Wonderful post!
    Cats, painting demo, Monet, royalty and a poke at Trump -what more could a woman ask at 00700 (uk time) except perhaps a tea bag?
    Thank you for getting my day off to a good start!

    • Vivian

      Margaret, you’re always welcomed to start your day with a cup of tea at my place. I’m sipping Tetley’s English Blend with Long Island honey as I type this, and fending off thoughts of having a second round of toast to go with it. (I love toast, lots and lots of toast.)

  2. Perfect dappling:)
    Charming charming couple..have watched all of Suits for years..amazing how some people thought she was canadian because she lived in Toronto while filming..she is tiny and petite…and utterly gorgeous.A smile that lights up the room..like a Julia smile but different.
    I Google people too..had not watched the Today Show since Katie left and even before..when the news..announced the latest on MLauer..I had to go read what I could.

    • Vivian

      I actually spoke with Matt Lauer on the phone once. I was heading up the Watches and Clocks dept. at Christie’s, and I sent him a complimentary catalogue for an upcoming watch auction. I saw that he had admired Bryant Bumble’s Rolex on TV once, so I advised him that a Patek Philippe was a much better watch, and we had a pleasant discussion.

      I also once spoke with Bill Cosby on the phone about a piece of furniture he wanted and he was a jerk.

  3. You certainly did better dappling then I could do or for that manner many could do. Love the painting with the benches and tea table and dappling. Is that a word? I guess so, it isn’t underlined or anything. And yes, sweet kitties. Love Prince Harry and Meghan and most definitely skip the invite to T. I can’t even imagine that.

    • Vivian

      This just in from der Drumpf: “Harry asked me to be bast man but I said only if he has his wedding at Mar-a-logo, which is much classier than Buckingham Palace, that dump, believe me.”

  4. Megan

    We can learn a lot from cats, imagine if people could just ‘not see’ other people. Maybe we would feel that nuclear annihilation was less of a chance. Got to love a nice roll on cool lush green grass. Dapple or not I think it is a charming painting.

    • Vivian

      Thank you, Megan, for endorsing my dapple. I learn a lot from my cats every day. Today I learned that napping is, indeed, a full time job.

    • Vivian

      Der Drumpf’s base of idiots still love him, and as long as Fix news spews “What About” alternatives (“What about Hillary’s emails”, for example, and it’s been years since the issue was seen relevant) his base will always crow and cheer his every move. They will never give up on their hate and racism.

  5. Kirra

    I love the lead in with the cats, hilarious how they snob each other off! I do love your final painting with the bench and tea table, I agree with your thoughts on making the other benches bigger. That is just classic Drumpf to have a fake Renoir in his apartment and go on saying/thinking it’s real when it’s not. I am happy for Prince Harry too, lovely to see him and his brother marry for love after their poor mother’s horrible royal experience. I shall be lounging in the sun this weekend, it’s not cold here.

    • Vivian

      I saw a story on the Australian news about a wombat who was so hot that she had to find a nice cool, tiled bathroom floor on which to doze. O lordy, that would make my day, if I moseyed into my bathroom and found a drowsy wombat making full use of my cold corner.

  6. Anyone else notice the startling resemblance between Meghan and Pippa M? They could be twins! Well, I’m glad Harry is happy and they’re awfully cute together. Seems like a jolly good match and cheers to them!

    As for the dappling — well, even your epic fails are far better than anything I could imagine! And I love your painting with the bench, but yes, you are right about the bench issue. Not a biggie but it will be even better!

    Honestly, he’s too much. Someone in Congress, please dig out the 25th amendment and see what we can do about him? In a lot of ways Pence is just as bad except I don’t think he’ll blow us up or alienate the entire world. Can we have a 2016 do-over please? The cats don’t know how good they have it. They just don’t care.

    • Vivian

      Thankfully, der Trumpf recently re-tweeted some racist nonsense from a far-right gal in Britain, so there goes his hopes for a meeting with the Queen. I believe the Brits are sane, and will not invite a known racist panderer and mentally unstable autocrat for a visit to their green and pleasant land.

  7. I have no doubt you will crack the code on dappling! That said, I thought your attempts were better than anything I could produce. Harry and Meghan make a lovely couple. The UK can be very proud. Regarding DT, I just hope and pray he doesn’t get us in another war.

  8. We have two kittens to bring ups post-apocolyptic-election joy! Right now, they can share the top platform of their cat tree, but it is small and they are growing fast. Soon we will see how they work out the two cats in one space problem.

    The kittens are so lively and funny that they help fill the huge gaping void that reminds me each of my Golden Retriever who had to be euthanized because of severe hip dysplasia. He was just 2 1/2 years, purchased from an unethical, ignorant low-life breeder in Texas.

    Aren’t we all just dancing in the streets at the thought of the tax cuts we will get? A little green in our pockets will make it so much easier to ignore the destruction of the earth through corporate greed. I mean, isn’t the entire GOP wearing blinders that prevent them from seeing the long-term? Money in the hand, dead birds in the bush. What’s there to worry about?

    I was so hoping just one or two more Republicans would remember they had backbones. American hasn’t seen this much corruption in the White House since when? Nixon? Actually, I think The Dumpster’s administration is in a category all its own.

    I love you grassy green scenes! I am hoping we get to see some of your beautiful snowy winter paintings, and a chilling bottle or two in the snow.

    • Vivian

      I feel your sorrow about your sweet pup. Golden are the most loving DoGs, and that’s saying a LOT because all dogs are pretty much 80% love and 20% love for Livasnaps.

      Oh lordy, do not get me started on the perversity of der Drumpf’s Republican party. Yes, when O when will any one in that party find a spine??

  9. Patricia

    I am using you as an example of someone with lots of cats who lives a nearly normal-ish life despite being insanely talented and award winning. My cousin just rescued her fifth cat (and has a pug) and is rather afraid of her daughter (currently tucked away safely in Scotland until after Christmas) finding out.

    Since she posts copious photos on facebook, I’m pretty sure her daughter will shortly find out indeed. What number of cats must you be owned by before you are officially a “crazy cat lady” and need to buy the T shirt? I suggested she crowd source the medical care for all her rescues…

  10. Now, I am seeing a dapple effect in many of your watercolors. Perhaps your definition of a dapple is different from mine? It’s not as sharp as Monet’s but it’s definitely there, and given the medium I think that makes sense. I think they look great!

    I had not heard about Trump’s Renoir! That’s hilarious. The guy is delusional.

    • Vivian

      I know! Why isn’t Fox News reporting this? I sincerely hope that der Drumpg paid a butt load of money for his fake…or that he paid peanuts and now his trophy wife Melania, who thought she was wooed by a guy who owned a real Renoir, now understands that she bought the glitter that she thought was gold.

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