Behind the Scenes: HRH Java

Miss Java was my loyal fur friend for 17 years. Always patient, she put up with a live-wire kitten that turned into a bossy “sister” and with an interloper who arrived in 2015 and never left.  She moved from apartment in La Mesa, CA to apartment in Austin, TX to dorm room in at SDSU (we were dorm “parents” for 3 years) and finally to her dream home in Lemon, Grove — where she finally had her own place on the couch she didn’t have to share.  She ruled our home and hearts with a velvet paw. Miss Java as a kitten Her Royal Highness, Princess Java When my husband commissioned her portrait, I knew I had to do something amazing to honor my sweet and beautiful friend, a very special painting that incorporated not only bits of maps of all the places we had lived, but also some of her fur which I had saved from her brush before she crossed over the Rainbow Bridge. Java’s fur along with her favorite paper to rip — the packing from a Sephora box. Paper made from Java’s fur, some ripped up packing paper, and lint from her blankets. It starts with a sketch and painting in the color. The basic colors and shading are painted in — they act as a guide for the collage. I put in the background and started on the body. You can see some of the fur paper as it is laid down. More and more layers of hand-painted paper are glued down to create the portrait. HRH Java, Princess of Hearts

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A backstage peek at my process

As I was preparing my application for Spanish Village Arts Center, it occurred to me that you might like to see how I make my pieces. I chose a prickly pear for my application piece because it’s a local flower, I have one in my backyard, and I knew I could paint and collage a small painting in one week-end. The timing bit was actually critical since I had not planned in advance to make a piece just for the storyboard until I reviewed my photos and realized I didn’t have enough! So, here’s how it happened: I chose an image for its simple compostion and how it captures the essence of a prickly pear.  I had a ton of other pictures, but none seemed simple enough for this painting.  I drew a sketch and decided to go with this image. I love doing collage on wooden panels, but the surface needs to be primed before I start.  I use a gesso for acrylic paints to smooth the surface and make it easier to draw and paint.  After the surface was primed, I sketched out my cactus flower, deciding to zoom in from the original concept. I thought it might make the picture more dramatic to be closer in. I started the underpainting which will act as a roadmap for the collage.  I chose purple for the background because it is opposite of yellow on the color wheel — and I just love this purple. I decided to change the background to show sky and earth, but left a bit of purple showing through.  I painted the image to wrap around the sides as well as on the front. First I had to choose what paper to use in the background.  Even though it will be almost impossible to tell

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Happy New Year!

Greetings to you as we start this bright new dawn of 2019! I wish you the gift of fur, purrs, wiggly tails and sloppy kisses — the special love only fur friends can give. A few highlights of 2018:The birth of Poppyfish Studio!3 pieces in the Catnip Connection Art Show, June 20 – July 2.2 pieces in the Doggone Art Show, November 14 – December 3 I’ve really appreciated all your support last year! I will be creating and sharing even more work in 2019! Looking forward to more art shows and events, including CatCon 2019, June 29 and 30 in Pasadena!  Other goals include creating fun products from my art images and stocking my online shop with lots of goodies. I’ll keep you posted! Whether you respond to an online work, come to a show, purchase a painting. or read my posts, you make a difference. Keep it coming! I love hearing from you. I love your stories and comments, thoughts and ideas. Thank you for being a part of my journey and it is an honor to be part of yours! With love,Natasha  

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