In Painting I at Mississippi State, we painted in oils. The first project was a composition full of circles. The second painting was a Seurat dot painting with complementary colors side by side. The third project was composed of collaged imagery – that is parts combined together and then transferred to canvas.
This project was different from the others. The art professor showed us paintings from a wide range of artistic movements, styles and traditions. He stressed that point that we were to make this particular painting more personal than the other projects. We should make this piece our own.
For this image I chose two photographs. One was an image of a slide in my backyard from my younger days. The other was an image of my brother’s Siamese cat, “Bobby.” During the process of painting, the instructor suggested that I paint the cat multiple times to imply motion on the slide. This gave the cat a Futurist look – the Italian movement, Futurism. For the background I decided to include Impressionistic water - a la Monet. When it came to the critique, the art professor fussed about the mix of styles. I let him know I really liked what I had done.
oil on canvas, 29" x 37 3/4"
There is one sad note about this painting. Around the same time, “Bobby” passed away. He had feline leukemia. Water in the lungs is what finally did him in, unfortunately. He was thirteen years old when he passed away. He was a difficult cat to love. He could be sweet one minute and then suddenly bite or scratch. I guess being subjected to three young kids in his earlier years made him that way.
Of all the paintings I completed in college, this one marks the first time I enjoyed personal creative freedom. The mixing of the styles as I did places it in the Postmodern tradition. In my last semester, I was invited to show with a sophomore art student at the Veterinary School. Every month a new show hung in a big lobby space. A staff member from the school offered $100 for this painting, but that price would only cover the cost of framing the painting. The painting now hangs the front room of my house.