Category: cat art

“Night Fishing with a Cat Named Antibes” – A Narrative Cat Portrait of Sorts

Painting by artist BZTAT in tribute to Picasso's painting "Night Fishing in Antibes"

One could argue that all art is serendipitous in some way. No matter how well planned out an artwork might be, there is always an element of chance that brings about a surprising outcome. Some artworks are more serendipitous than others, though.

Such is the case with my recent painting, “Night Fishing with a Cat Named Antibes”.

I created the piece for a show that I curated at the Massillon Museum in Massillon, OH. For my parting act of a two and a half year stint working at the Just Imagine Gift Gallery in Canton, OH, I coordinated the “Artist to Artist” project that resulted in a fascinating display of artwork from various artists in the community.

The “Artist to Artist” exhibit paired noted professional artists in the local community with nontraditional artists from the Just Imagine Gift Gallery in a unique collaborative arts experience. The Just Imagine Gift Gallery is an arts program offered by Twi that empowers adult artists with developmental disabilities to explore their artistic talents. Although they are not as well known as their counterparts in the exhibit, these creative individuals are true artists with amazing talents. 

I have long thought that the artwork from the Just Imagine artists could hang next to that of any other artist in town and hold its own. This show proved it.  

Over a span of a few months, professional artists met with JI artists, and they studied each other’s works, learning about each other’s techniques, styles, subject matter, and purposes. They shared ideas and inspiration. Then they returned to their separate studios and created new artworks, each inspired by their encounter with the other.

I was one of the professional artists as well as the curator for the project. “Night Fishing with a Cat Named Antibes” was my piece created out of the experience.

My paired artist, Scott, creates colorful paintings full of whimsy and narrative storytelling. He also draws heavily upon references to Picasso in his works, and he often has leaves playfully placed throughout his landscaped compositions. I wanted to incorporate all of those influences into my artwork. It was a challenge. My works tend to be snapshots in time with simple shapes and composition. Adding narrative, references to Picasso and a more complicated composition pushed me to a different level.  

I channeled Scott’s fascination for Picasso by studying two of the master’s artworks. First I looked at a painting Picasso had painted of a cat, (of course I HAD to paint a cat!), and then I looked at one of my favorite artworks by the artist, “Night Fishing at Antibes”. I looked at many of Scott’s paintings, as well. I created a fantasy-like landscape, as he often does, and I added many leaves, fluttering about in the painting, in the same way that Scott often paints in his paintings. 

The cat is a bit different than my usual fare, as I added the Picasso-esque style. I made the cat with tortoiseshell markings, because torties have natural Picasso-esque faces. I also added textural elements to make the piece come alive. The title is a play on words with Picasso’s painting title.

Now for the serendipitous part. On the day before my last day working at Just Imagine, a strange sequence of events occurred that, completely by chance, brought the painting around full circle.

Early in the day, I had stepped outside to greet a coworker who had stopped to pick up my mail. As we talked at the curb, a man came from across the street and said, “Excuse me, but a cat just crawled up inside your van’s engine block.” We went to the van and opened up the hood, and I crawled underneath to see if I could see a cat. I could not. As we walked back to the building, however, a woman on the sidewalk said, “That cat just ran inside.” I had left the door open, and apparently the cat saw an opportunity.

My coworker and I went inside, and we looked and looked, but we could not find a cat. I began to believe that this whole cat tale was a myth.  But when I came in to open up the next morning, which was my last day there, I heard, “Mew! Mew! Mew!”

A cat named Antibes
Antibes in the Just Imagine back room

All day, we heard the mewing, but we couldn’t see the cat. Finally, I moved some things around in the area where the mewing was coming from, and a brownish ball of fur shot out like a rocket! The cat scrambled around the studio floor, and it found its way to the back room. I got a look at it, and SHE was a beautiful little tortie girl that LOOKED EXACTLY LIKE THE CAT I HAD PAINTED THE PREVIOUS WEEK for the “Artist to Artist” exhibit!

Ending my work at Just Imagine was very hard for me. Working with that amazing group of artists was one of the most fulfilling experiences of my life. The last thing I thought I would be doing on my last day there was chasing a cat around the studio. But serendipity happens when you least expect it.

I have many wonderful memories from working at Just Imagine. And now, purely by chance, I also have a Cat Named Antibes, whose portrait I painted before I even met her. It certainly was a surprising outcome that has taken me on a whole new adventure.

A Cat Named Antibes - BZTAT
A Cat Named Antibes

Life is an Adventure!




Colorful Cats Coloring Book – It’s almost here! In the meantime, I am auctioning one of the originals!

Cats on Bicycle Coloring Book Drawing  by BZTAT
Drawing by BZTAT

This Auction has closed.

If you are on my mailing list, or you follow me in social media, you probably have heard that I am making a coloring book. It is a coloring book geared for adults. Although the imagery is family friendly, the designs are a bit too detailed for children to color.

The book is designed for adults to enjoy coloring as a relaxing and creative activity, and for people who enjoy my art. (You can read more about the genesis of the coloring book here.)

The drawings for the book are almost complete. There will be 25 black and white line drawings in all, including the one you see here, which I have colored myself.

In the next few days, I will begin taking pre-orders for the book. Stay tuned!

To prepare for the upcoming launch of the Colorful Cats Coloring Book, and to get you in the mood for coloring, I went ahead and colored this drawing myself. As a special treat, I am posting the original drawing for auction. You could own the artist’s own colored version, then buy the book and color the drawing for yourself. This is a one time collectible!

The original is smaller than the coloring page. It is 5″ X7″ and colored using Prismacolor Pencils and permanent markers, and it comes with an acid free mat ready for an 8″ x 10″ frame.

Proceeds from the auction will be donated to a fundraiser for a friend whose bicycle was stolen so that she can purchase a new one.

The auction is short lived, so get your bids in fast and watch closely!

Enter your bids in the comments below.

Here are the details for the auction:

5″ X7″ Prismacolor Pencil and Marker Drawing on paper by artist BZTAT

Comes with an acid free mat ready for an 8″ x 10″ frame

Leave bids in increments of $5 below in the comments section.

Minimum Bid $35 USD

Shipping: $8 USA $18 International

BUY NOW OPTION: You can buy this piece now for $50 as long as no bids have been made in the comments below. Simply write BUY NOW in the comments and send a payment of $60 + shipping via the ChipIn widget in the right sidebar.

Highest bid at 10:00 pm EST on Friday 8/14/15 wins the piece.

Winning bidder will receive instructions for payment.

Please allow 4 weeks for USA shipping.

Adding a newspaper texture to my pet drawings.

Above the fold: pet drawings on a newstype image.
“Favorite Resting Place” Drawing by BZTAT

The Canton Repository, Canton and Stark County Ohio’s long standing newspaper, is celebrating it’s 200th Anniversary this year with a number of celebratory events. One of them is an art exhibit/contest entitled: Above the Fold – Newspaper as Art.

Organizers have asked artists from all over Stark County to submit artworks for the exhibit that somehow include newspapers in the creation of the work, either thematically or in the actual materials of the artwork.

I initially began a collage/assemblage piece using scraps of newspapers and other miscellaneous found objects that I had around the house. The piece is far from finished, and it took a very feminist turn, which is not what I wanted for this exhibit. So I got out my Prismacolor Pencils and markers, and I came up with this cat, inspired by a photo a friend shared on Pinterest.

As I drew it, all 5 of my cats attempted to disrupt my process in each of their individual ways. It occurred to me that these interruptions to my creative process were fitting with the theme. Do not all of our cats attempt to perch themselves above the fold as we try to read the paper?

So you know how I created it… I first saved an image of some nondescript news type and printed it onto my drawing paper. I then drew the cat on top of the news type. From there, I inked in shapes forming the cat with markers. I then added color and texture with the Prismacolor Pencils.

Westie (West Highland Terrier) Dog Drawing by Artist BZTAT
Drawing by Artist BZTAT

I really liked how the texture added to the simple cat drawing. I liked it so much, I decided to draw a dog as well. I enjoy Westies (West Highland Terriers) so I created this one from one of the photos submitted for my Six Westie Portrait Painting.

There is a jury process for the Above the Fold Exhibit. If the piece is accepted, it can be purchased at the Joseph Saxton Gallery in  Canton after April 3, 2015. The framed piece is priced at $100 (size 5″ x 7″ drawing in a 12″ x 16″ frame and mat).

The Westie can be purchased unframed for $50. Let me know your interest in purchasing it in the comments below or send me a message.

I am not certain, but I might explore this direction further with other animals. What do you think?

By the way, I will let you know when the collage/assemblage is completed. it is one of those that will be created in spurts I think.

Life is An Adventure!