Friday, April 16, 2010

Barn Cat - Early Oil Painting


Barn Cat, 9 x 12, Oil on Canvas
© 2004 Cindy Revell

This year has been one of much introspection with regards to my art and the hows and whys of life in general. Yesterday I was thinking of serendipity and how the smallest of events can have a huge impact on your life. In 1989 I took a job as a graphic designer/illustrator and stuck around for about 8 years after which I freelanced as an illustrator. Gina, the woman who hired me back then, and I become friends and kept in touch. One day she told me about her oil painting classes and I shared my own first less that stellar attempt at oils which were done to invigorate my illustration by trying a new medium. Gina suggested I try her oil painting class. I did so in May 2002 but I was very busy and stressed with the demands of illustration and a husband with cancer and didn't love the classes right away. They were simply a way for me to learn what was then a rather vexatious medium. I hung in and a year later I was completely hooked and knew that something very special had taken over my life.

So how does the Barn Cat fit in with all of this? When I was working as a designer/illustrator I was sent out on a field trip with some kids to take some pictures for an annual report. I spied this lovely Buddha like cat who was serenely lording it over the chicken coop, I snapped his picture thinking that I'd do a watercolor of him sometime. The photo hung in my office for years and I took it with me when I left, Gina loved that picture. As I was learning the oils it struck me that the time had come to finally paint that cat. At the time it was all I could do to manipulate the paint and the composition suffered from a too literal reliance on the photo. I changed a few things but missed a few critical ones which as an illustrator I should have spotted right off the bat. In spite of it's imperfections Gina fell in love with the painting and became one of my first collectors.

Art had always been a fairly major force in my life and while illustration is still a big part of my days my obsession with oil painting fills nearly every other available moment. How I oil paint has changed hugely but looking back I'm amazed at how it all started.

All because someone needed a graphic designer way back in 1989.

17 comments:

Terry Elrod said...

A stunning painting and moving comment. Thanks.

Cindy Revell said...

Thank you Terry. Makes one wonder about all the other serendipitous moments in our lives and the 'what ifs'. What if I hadn't applied for that job, would I have made my way to freelance illustration which led to oils? Without Gina would I have found that particular class which was so inspiring to me? Would a different teacher have turned me off oils? Really makes you wonder about the incredible connectedness of life.

Gail Bowen said...

I've sent my daughter, Hildy's email address so she can see your work, too, Cindy. It really is impressive.

Cindy Revell said...

Thank you Gail!

jyothisethu said...

cindy,

the story behind 'the barn cat' is interesting...
your life's story is inspiring and interesting too...

i like the lighting effects the anatomy and the originality of the picture...
congrats...

Deb Schmit said...

Amazing how one moment in time can move us to the exact location of where we were meant to be.
Lovely work Cindy!

Cindy Revell said...

Jyothisethu, Deb,

Thank you both very much.

LeAnn Whitacre said...

I love this painting, Cindy! We have 4 outside cats, and this reminds me of our oldest cat, Tiger. He's almost 10 years old, and he knows he's the ruler. Great job on this - the lighting, the different textures. It's just really fun to look at.

Cindy Revell said...

Thanks LeAnn, he was such a placid looking fellow. I sold or gave away nearly all of my early paintings but loved this cat's calm expression so much that I had to make a copy for myself.

r garriott said...

WOW, what a beautiful painting of this sweet little cat. Masterful. Graphic designers often have a design advantage when they turn to paint, and it really shows here. (I have to love the 'butter cookies' tin, too, because I have a cat who loves baked goods.)

Thanks for your supportive comment earlier this month, it was very much appreciated.

SYLVIANE said...

Lovely painting, and beautiful story, I started to look attently at your blog, and I'll come back!

Cindy Revell said...

Thanks so much Sylviane.

d. prizzi said...

Beautiful painting Cindy!

myfrenchkitchen said...

This is a stunning piece Cindy! Our roads have so many twists and turns and what amazes me most is the amount of u-turns we sometimes have...going back to what we've thought about years ago and then suddenly ...it works.
ronelle

Diane Hoeptner (hep-ner) said...

I just love this post, Cindy. Thanks much for sharing, it is amazing how life unfolds and moves forward in ways you can't anticipate. Nice painting too, much character. (:

Jose Ramos said...

Wonderful art Cindy , i like this one a lot

thanks!

Constance McLennan said...

I am happy to have found your blog recently and fascinated to see another illustrator who paints completely differently from her illustration style (and very well!). I have illustrated for many years and likewise am now completely obsessed with painting. I hope you will continue posting new work.