Continuing the trend of ice skating cats, I moved into the second of three final projects, and stuck to my original idea of following the Olympic podium from these past games in Pyeongchang. This meant tackling the intricate costume and endearing persona of silver medalist Shoma Uno, who is known not only for his flying quad jumps and skating energy, but also his tendency to look perplexed in almost every photograph (finding this one was a surprise). From the start of this painting, I knew exactly what I wanted compositionally (Shoma-cat up close and off to the left side to mirror my Yuzu-cat), but I wasn’t sure what was going to happen with the actual content and color scheme of the painting. Nevertheless, I couldn’t wait to get started!
Not long after I sketched the painting, I found a picture of Shoma skating in the Olympic Gala (which isn’t a competition but a performance) and was really inspired by the lighting of the spotlights. I decided I would change up the ice in my second painting and try to mimic the spotlight and the darker ice instead of going for the bright competition lighting I went for in my last piece.
At first, I wasn’t so sure about the spotlight effect once I had it down on the canvas–I felt like it was a little hard to tell what was going on. But I decided I wouldn’t make any judgments on it until I started to add the actual cat in, since that seemed like the most logical reason my perception of the lighting was being thrown off. And lo and behold, once I got the basic colors of the clothing in, as well as the cat face and tail, things started to feel a little more cohesive. I was pretty excited about the face I was able to create, as I feel I was slightly more successful than I had been with the first painting (probably because black and white cats always give me grief for some reason). The sleeves of the shirt bothered me because I felt as though they didn’t quite have the depth that I wanted them to, but I also had to once again keep in mind that they probably only looked wrong because I hadn’t added the designs onto them yet. I didn’t want to go overboard with the wrinkles on the sleeves, because I planned on filling the entire space with the sequin design and most of what was underneath was going to be covered up, anyway.
Surprisingly, the details of the sleeves and back of the shirt took the least amount of time out of anything else this painting had handed me. In fact, now that I had a process down for the various parts of an ice skating cat painting (ice, face, clothes, sequins…), I realized everything about this work was going along more smoothly than the first, because it was something I could now say I had practice in. The sequins went on in an hour or two, I quickly added in the little black skates, and he was complete.
I don’t know that I’m more or less satisfied with this second painting as compared to the first. On one hand, I’m more sure about the way the ice and background turned out on the first painting, the Yuzu cat, because of the strange spotlight I was trying in this one. I don’t regret taking on the extra challenge, and I like what I was able to do with it, but I still feel like the purple ice was a little more successful. However, I like the way the actual cat turned out better in Shoma’s piece, as the fur texture looks more believable to me, and the sequin pattern on the shirt is a lot more intricate and thus satisfying to look at. As a set so far, I think they work well–the compositions and colors compliment each other well, and they were both painted in a consistent style. I’m hoping I can keep up the momentum as I move into my final piece, and can display them all together with pride. I’ve had more fun with this assignment than any other so far in my college painting career; I think I’ve finally hit my ideal blend of humor and precision.