Three kitties, six faces? How? You guessed it, Cubism.
I would like to tell you a little about my Cubist-style cat paintings. So, lets begin at the beginning.
I grew up looking at art books. Cubism was one of my favorite styles. I was intrigued by the different approach to perspective. I wanted to know how they did it; what was it all about.
As you might imagine, I looked at the masters of Cubism to get an idea about how I might create a face. Naturally, I looked to Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque first. But, in one of my art books, I found some sculptures and drawings by Henri Laurens done during his Cubist phase. Aha! Cubism is sculptural! Yes, I’d read it, but now I could see the link and could imagine 3D on a 2D surface. “Regal Kitty” is inspired by Henri Laurens works; “Star Gazer” and “Merry MsMaggie” by Picasso. (You might notice that I included a different version of “Merry MsMaggie” in the previous post).
To over-simplify, one of the Cubist ideas was to show different sides of something, say a cube, as if all the sides were on the same plane. Imagine a cardboard box before the sides are folded in, stapled or glued to make a box. Conversely, imagine a cardboard box with all of the sides un-folded. Its a flat object.
That is one of the ideas behind the double face seen in Cubist portraits, for example. One is looking at a three dimensional object flattened as if it was two dimensional.
Cats Look And Don’t Look
Hmm, I liked this idea and thought that a cat would make a perfect subject for a Cubist style face. I love the way cats look at you but they don’t. They can accomplish this feat without moving a muscle. To show this way of looking or being, I figured the double face would be perfect. That means a half face is superimposed on a full face. The viewer needs to be able to see both the half face and full face. The ambiquity of which view dominates can be fun and mysterious.
What I’m showing you today is three variations on a cat showing how I resolved this problem of the double face. I created the design for “Star Gazer” first, followed by “Merry MsMaggie” and “Regal Kitty” in order.
Can You See It?
Can you see the two faces – looking sideway and looking forward? In the first two designs, the sideway or profile view is to the right; the head-on view merges left and right. The last design, “Regal Kitty” has the profile half to the left; the entire head makes the forward or head-on view. I tried to use color and tone to differentiate the views.
I hope you enjoy my kitty paintings! Thank you!