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  • Writer's pictureKaaren Poole

Cat Appreciation Tea Party

I was able to put more time into this art journal spread this past week and even finished it (except for one teensy open question)!

Here's how where I left off last time. All I'd done was paint the entire page splotchy green then glue down the collage pieces.

The first thing I wanted to do was get rid of elements I didn't want by painting over them. I cut out part of the background from the tea setting before I glued it down, and now I needed to paint over the remainder of the tablecloth that was showing on the right side of that element. And I also needed to paint over the text on the far right cat's chest. There were some things in front of his lower chest, so I painted over them, imagining what that part of the cat would look like.

Also, I found the jumble of flowers behind the black and white cat distracting and a little too spotty and colorful. My solution was to wash over the area with thinned gesso. I gave the same treatment to the large pink flowers over the gray-and-white cat towards the middle of the piece. I knew I would put 'fascinators' on the cats' heads, and those would need less bright colors behind them so they'd show properly.

I used a thin black waterproof pen to add little fur strokes to the edges of black fur on the black and white cat. This got rid of the sharp lines the scissors left when I cut her out. I also added outlining on parts of the yellow and gray-and-white cats. Then I thought outlining the tea set would help bring it out.

Finally, I brightened the cats' eyes.

Now for the fascinators: cut out leaves, stems, and more flowers. I cut the leaves and stems from dark green parts of magazine pages. There's a little variation in the greens, but I kept them dark for good value contrast.

At this point, I needed to push back some of that dark green, especially the large leaves behind the gray-and-white cat. For this, I used thin washes of gesso.

Then it was time for my favorite part - dots and line work with acrylic paint pens. I added veins to the leaves, highlights to the flower petals, and spirals of dots - one of my favorite motifs. The stems at the lower left seemed too strong, so I ran a line of lighter green along their centers to lighten them a bit.

I couldn't resist adding 'pearl' jewelry with a dimensional pearlescent marker.

The tea set seemed a little lost, so I added white to the background behind it.

And finally, the text. "INTERNATIONAL CAT APPRECIATION DAY" and "HIGH TEA - FASCINATORS APPRECIATED" I did both text blurbs on deli paper, the first with stamps and the second by hand. After gluing them on, the deli paper disappears more or less, depending on how light or dark a part you're putting it over. After the glue dried, I had to go over the white lettering again to strengthen it, and I added some dots on the raggedy edge of the deli paper to give a sort of lacy effect. Oh, and a few white dots on the baked goods to suggest sugar.

In the end, I'm pretty happy with it. I mentioned right at the beginning that I still had a tiny open question. Should I glue a bow on the right side of the black and white cat's fascinator? The down side is it would be bulky and make it harder to close the journal. So, probably not. And originally I thought I'd glue on some butterflies, but I don't think I need them after all, though if I had some at hand I'd probably go ahead. I tend to be a 'more is more' person.

I'm always enjoy hearing about the processes of other artists. So, in that spirit, I hope you've found this interesting or helpful in some way.

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