Watercolor: Stealthy Mischief (& a video clip about a John Singer Sargent painting)

watercolor portrait of a cat

Stealthy Mischief 11×4 watercolor portrait of a tabby cat

Cats Who Model for Artists

This is Jack. That’s him in watercolor above. He’s not my cat, but we see each other constantly and we’re quite fond of each other. He’s as affectionate as he is mischievous. He’s expert at negative-attention harvesting; swatting at glass vases to munch flowers, grooming himself on the kitchen table, darting between legs to get outside (he’s an indoor cat living in coyote country).  He usually makes his escape while you’re carrying armloads of groceries & cat food into the house, etc. He’s either sprawled in your lap, soaking up the love, or sharpening his claws on the leather chairs. And he makes a great model for painting & sketching. I love him.

tabby cat in the art studio The Two Sides to Jack; Rug-Ruiner and Purr-Bomb-Cuddler

cats in the art studio and fur in the paint

Art Studio Jack – holding a pose long enough to inspire sketches and loose studies

When to Put the Brushes Down for the Day

As a Card-Carrying Member of the Noodle-the-Details-Artist-Club, I loooooved this 3.5 minute video clip narrated by Erica E. Hirshler Croll, senior curator of paintings, Art of the Americas, at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.  She’s talking about John Singer Sargent’s painting Daughters of Edward Darley Boit – painted in 1882 – and measuring 87 x 87 inches. (If you’re as math-challenged as I am – that’s a smidge over 7 ft x 7 ft.)  This short clip carries a heap of swoon for Sargent’s mastery, and the message applies just as easily to watercolors. Three minutes is crammed with a whole bushel of inspiration to get your edit on: leave out the details. If the video doesn’t show, you can watch it on YouTube here

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Art Quote
I met this last week a young Mr. Sargent about eighteen years old and one of the most talented fellows I have ever come across; his drawings are like old masters, and his color is equally fine. He was born abroad and has not yet seen his country. He speaks as well in French, German, Italian as he does in English, has a fine ear for music, etc. Such men wake one up, and as his principles are equal to his talents, I hope to have his friendship.
~J. Alden Weir 1874

How to name your art

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6 Responses to Watercolor: Stealthy Mischief (& a video clip about a John Singer Sargent painting)

  1. Belinda Del Pesco 09/08/2013 at 8:13 pm #

    @James, the first time I walked up to a large Sargent painting in a museum and saw the mastery of single strokes of color, with no scumbling or fussing, *and* almost no resolution on the subject till I walked away again, I wept. SO MANY LESSONS. Now, we just have to remember those lessons while making. 🙂

  2. James Snuffer 08/30/2013 at 5:00 am #

    Love the Seargent video as well. I am in awe of how painterly and how realistic his paintings are.

  3. John Brisson 08/25/2013 at 7:36 am #

    Fantastic eyes in your painting!

  4. Dan Kent 08/24/2013 at 4:19 am #

    Excellent painting of Jack!! I love these elongated paintings.

    I had a print of a Sargent hanging in my office for years – and I would stare at the brush strokes in dresses and a fountain of water. He is definitely one of my absolute favorite painters. Great video – thanks!

  5. william mccoy 08/24/2013 at 12:03 am #


  6. Barbara Muir 08/23/2013 at 8:35 pm #

    Love your painting and the video.
    MmmmHmmmm. Message heard.

    Those pinafores have always been amazing to me. Actually the whole set up of the portrait would still be considered daring.

    William Kuhn, who wrote Mrs. Queen Takes the Train, a wonderful read, is writing a book about Sargent. I can’t wait to read it.

    XOXOXOXO Barbara

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