Actually, I was guzzling the VegaMeataVitamin by May.
Here on the north shore of Long Island we have had spectacular sunrises, thanks to smoke from the wildfires on the west coast. The sun hangs in the air like a huge, brilliant, fiery, orange ball — I haven’t seen anything like it. As it gets higher in the sky, it bleeds out and becomes the hot white star that we usually see but oh! Those first 40 minutes of the morning, it is spectacular! Sorry, California, Oregon, and Washington.
So I’m sitting here at my computer, wishing I had not paid attention to the news and looking for a shot of some VitaMeataVegamin, and my little helper comes along:
I am pleased to announce that we have given Car Cat a real name. I present to you: Kimmy.
Kimmy keeps me company whenever I am at my computer, and I am at my computer a lot.
She is bouncy, pouncy, flouncy, and trouncy. . .
. . . and she is full of fun, fun fun.
I thought that I did not want a kitten but it turns out that I really needed a kitten.
Before we get into the reason why #HitlerYouth is trending on Twitter this morning, let’s do some painting!
Meet Benji, who lives in New Jersey with Stromness Rock host and Dear Reader Carol:
Adorable, right? But if you’re going to paint him, you’re going to have to deal with several quirks of Benji that could go horribly wrong when you paint him, especially if you decide to paint his entire body because you live to make yourself miserable.
Actually, I don’t usually paint entire bodies because of the parallax problem in working from reference photos. But this is the rare photo where all of Benji is in focus and is in perspective, and he’s very graphic and appealing, so what the heck. I like to make myself miserable. Here are the BIG problems with Benji:
One: He’s entirely back-lit. The light is behind him and his adorable ears are glowing but his body is in shadow — how are you going to paint that?
Two: He is, and I can’t stress this too much, a white cat. How do you paint a white cat??
Three: He’s white, but he as some very specific black markings that you have to get just right or it won’t look like Benji. Got that?
Four: His face is in shadow, which you are not going to paint because, hello, it will look crappy to have a portrait where the sitter’s face is eclipsed by shade. So you’re going to have to figure out how to fake it so his adorable white face shows.
Five: He’s got a big fluffy black tail in the foreground. It’s big, and it’s of a shape and color that will be very hard to paint so it doesn’t look like a turd. Don’t make it muddy, don’t make it look lumpy, don’t make it look like shit, OK?
Thanks, Carol, for the challenge.
OK! Let’s get at it!
As always, I start with the eyes. In a white cat, the eyes are ever more crucial since that’s pretty much the only things that are going on in the face, and I spent a lot of time on Benji’s. I layered light washes of color, layer over layer, to get a color that is greenish-yellow but is also a bit muted, since the face is in shadow:
I even put in some blue shading in there, and I added white enamel paint as highlight. I also shaped the eyes very carefully, since they are so expressive — I even got in there with a pencil to do what I can’t do with even my tiniest paintbrush. They are the soul of Benji.
I must remind you that I’m working very small here:
Coming up, ears that glow. Again, I layer the paint: pink, peach, another pink, and even a little yellow to get a translucent effect:
Now to blend in those black markings:
I forgot to take a photo of how I cheated on Benji’s face and only painted him in half-shadow (sorry). I also decided to use a blue-grey color for the shadows on his damn white fur:
I never use a brush this big, but I wanted to have a casual feel for the big shadows on his body.
Once in a while I get a smart idea, and for the tail (AKA, big black blob that takes p the whole foreground of the picture) I had the thought of letting the paint and the paper do all the work. I used a lot of water, and I mixed the paint and water on the brush so that each time I paint, I got a different saturation of paint/water that will add interest to this large area of paint. I am going to let the water and the paint do their thing:
Below: This is what I mean when I say I let the water and the paint (and the paper) “do their thing” — all I did here (below), is let a very watery wash dry on good Canson paper:
Although Benji looks finished here (below), I still need to add more fluff. He’s a very fluffy cat, so I’m going to go completely fake here and “draw” with paint, using a very thin brush to outline the fluffiness of Benji’s fluff:
Now, I promised that I would explain why #HitlerYouth is trending on Twitter this morning. It’s because our dips hit president announced yesterday that he is signing an executive order to promote “patriotic education” at American schools:
This is in retaliation for the widespread adoption into middle and high school curriculum of a body of work known as “The 1619 Project” . The year 1619 is the year that the first enslaved Africans were brought to the American colonies, and The 1619 Project, through a number of essays and texts by outstanding scholars and historians of all colors and ethnicities, educates students to the systematic racism that has permeated American culture and government for over three hundred years.
So, Trump wants to create a TrumpYouth program, even though the federal government has almost no leverage in the actual curriculum of any school, which are all run by local governments: cities, towns, villages all decide what to teach — not federal edicts.
So, in response, Twitter is lighting up with comments about this latest attempt to polarize our country by the Republican nazis. Like this:
(Ben Shapiro is a loud mouthed conservative crackpot.)
So, things are going to get crazier and crazier, as if they weren’t crazy enough already. Sometimes I wish I could go to sleep and wake up on November 3, vote, and go back to sleep until Joe Biden takes the oath of office.
It is going to get very ugly. Be ready.
And now let’s see what else is happening:
I didn’t get around to Bill Barr, the Attorney General who thinks he is Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, and that having to wear a mask curing a pandemic is the worst violation of civil rights since slavery because I just don’t have the energy and . . .
Hey! I found some Dad jokes!
Have a great weekend, everyone. Hard as it might be, stay sane. This, too, will pass. We hope. Maybe. You never know.
And, before I forget: