Saturday, May 21, 2011

Kitten and his toy - DPW challenge, 6x6 oil

My Favorite Toy
oil on 1/4" board

As a devoted cat lover, I couldn't resist painting this week's Daily Paintworks challenge subject of this adorable tabby kitten, posted and hosted by Dreama Tolle Perry.   Dreama says this could qualify as a still life as cats spend so much time sleeping!  I would be inclined to agree.  And, the legless "bread loaf" position is always a favorite resting position for felines.   Cats are simpler to paint when they look like a bedroom slipper.

Nelson has his favorite toy, which he carries around and brings up on the bed with him.  So, I decided to use one of the toys in the other image she included for the challenge and add it to my version.

On a semi-related note, I went to our local art store yesterday and purchased some Grumbacher refined linseed oil.  This, as per my previous post/rant about the paint problems I was having.  I used it for this painting, and I believe I may have solved my problems with the tacky, sticky paint; a small amount worked very well to soften the stiff W&N Artisan oils, and never tacked up.  I was even able to do some minor adjustments to the painting this morning as the paint was still wet.   So, I will conclude that the walnut oil I was using was probably the culprit in my troubles.

I also purchased a small jar of Gamblin Neo Meglip, as it sounds like something I'd like.  It is a synthetic, modern replacement for the original meglip medium, a soft gel produced from boiling lead in linseed oil combined with mastic varnish and used by painters like Turner to achieve the luminous quality of his work.  Unlike other glazing mediums, such as Liquin, this maintains the body of the paint.  I'm excited to try it, and will report my impressions here when I use it.

And, since we are on the theme of animals, here are some photos of Canyonlands creatures, from our trip.  No mammals or birds, unfortunately, but the warm weather brings out the little reptiles of the desert out for basking and feeding

Unidentified species, posing for a photo
Lizards always delight me when I see them on hikes.   Some dash off immediately, and others, like this one,  maintain a cautious eye while maintaining their position.
Bee Fly - Heterostylum
I saw several of these fascinating insects on our hike, and I became somewhat obsessed with getting photos of them.  They have these incredibly long pollen or nectar-gathering proboscis, and never actually land on the flowers; their long legs appear to stabilize them while they are feeding.  As scary as these look, they are harmless and do not sting.  

Common Sideblotched Lizard (Uta stansburiana)
Unidentified species of lizard

What on earth is this??
While checking out the one and only location of water along the hike, I noticed what first appeared to be a piece of grass or a thin twig floating in the water (not flowing), but then watched as it began to move and twist itself into loops and knots!  It was close to 12" long and 2mm in diameter.  I did an internet search, but can find nothing.  It was the only one of its kind in the water.  Some type of desert worm?  
Eastern Fence Lizard (Sceloporus Undulatus)


  1. Sonya, when I was a child I found one of those hair worm things!!! You're the only other person I know who has seen off to find out what the heck they are...........

  2. I love your little kitten. Well done, Sonya! And your photographs are spectacular, too. It is always so enjoyable to visit your blog. :)

  3. Sarah - isn't that odd? I didn't want to touch it, so I carefully lifted it out of the water with a stick. It had no discernible head and was limp out of the water. If you find out what it is, I know you'll LMK!

    Hi Darla -Thank you for your kind comments about the kitten painting and my photos - I appreciate them, and your visits!

  4. That worm thing in the water is grossing me out!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Aaack.

    Funny post. Bread-loaf kitten. We have that same cat toy but it's not very popular here.

  5. Jala - hahaha! I found it fascinating, but it jeebed me out as well. There is no way I was going to touch it, that's for sure.

    The only cat toys that are popular in this household are either stuffed with catnip (aka "cat dope") or are fabricated from genuine animal fur. Fake fur mice just don't cut it ;).

  6. That bee pic was super awesome!

  7. Thanks, Sorcerer; I got several shots, but this one was probably the best. They are tricky to photograph!

  8. Hi,
    Just saw your post and the pic of the worm. My guess is that it is a horse hair worm ( They live as adults in wet places, but as larvae they are parasites in crickets and grasshoppers...

    Hope this solves your worm mystery!

  9. Thanks, anon - a local friend who saw the photo, and had seen one of these worms, identified it as the same after a Google search. Quite fascinating! Thanks much for stopping by with the info.


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