oil on panel, 2009
5" x 7" (12.7cm x 17.78cm)
The nocturne... it's origin, mid 19th century French from Latin, nocturnus, meaning 'of the night'.
A perfect subject for the nocturne, the cat. Surreptitiously slipping through the hushed night without a sound. Low to the ground, quick light steps with a purpose. It's shadow the only thing to keep pace.
My sister's cat Lucy. I spent what seemed like forever trying to capture the night shot, no tripod, hand held, just clicking away... far more challenging than the daylight, especially a moving subject. I would get the shot but not the action, the action so familiar to us... fleeting, almost unseen.
I got it and put it to paint, a simple image in composition. The more simplistic an image the tougher it is to pull off. Without the shadow, without the hint of reflected light under her chin, and perhaps the three subtle flashes of light, the image would fall apart. I decided no real hard lines too, the softer edges of the long shadow, the dark mass above, the lost edges of tail and paws all add to the haunting effect.
The challenge with the simplistic is that the few elements that are included carry more weight. The graphic pattern of light and dark, texture, edges, whatever... it all has to work harder towards an end. This is true regardless of medium. Sculpture, design, photography, dance, music, etc., it's all the same.32
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