Saturday, October 16, 2010

A Tail of Halloween

Okay, so I didn't use Hartung! But, can you believe the sweetness and fun of Mainzer's cats? It took me a very long time to make a decision on what images to use for the little kitty's trunk. As I browsed over and over again, the postcards on ebay, I was simply struck by the wonderful imagination and spunk these two artist's possessed. At great expense, I won and purchased three vintage Mainzer postcards. This one of a Halloween street fair couldn't be resisted! Just look a the little cat in the Dutch costume! I have always loved things Dutch. I think it stems from a pin my auntie gave me when I was a little mouse. It was an enameled pin of a little Dutch girl and boy. I used to look at it for hours thinking about their costumes and where they lived, what Holland was like. So for Halloween, I am sharing this darling postcard by Mainzer, printed in Switzerland. If you have a few minutes, do take a look on ebay and see what these artists came up with.

Kitty now has one half of her trunk painted. I think its always fun to see a work in progress, but its also fun to have a look at the materials and studio where the piece is being created. My work in acrylics hails from a background in oils and a love of watercolor. Acrylic is not the easiest medium to work with since it dries so quickly and builds up a texture. Yet, many layers of thin, watercolor from acrylic can produce the nicest effect on a tiny trunk.

In the front of the trunk, I've painted a little kitty girl handing a freshly picked rose to a mama kitty in a yellow striped apron. This vignette was inspired by one of Mainzer's postcards. The garden displayed kitties pruning, hoeing, planting vegetables, and one silly cat watering another by mistake. In all of Hartung's and Mainzer's paintings, there is always a calamity or two occuring. As I continue to work on this little trunk, it is the sweetness that I am pulling from the pictures to create a kitty child's plaything.

In all honesty, the ginger cat and tabby fur was very difficult to render. The mind plays tricks on you and you have to concentrate on shape and color, rather than what you know the thing to be. Also when painting this small, an artist has to be careful not to overcrowd the scene, yet include enough to tell a story and create a pleasant presentation.

The entire trunk is being painted with this one brush you see in the photo. It is a Windsor Newton Sceptre 0000, synthetic sable. Even at that, I've removed several bristles to give it a finer point. Little pools of watery acrylic have dried on the wax pallette showing the colors, some mixed, used to paint the front of the trunk. It is my dream that one day someone will value my tools and scrap pallettes as much as the finished work. sigh!

Happy Autumn, Happy Halloween! And, back to work for me.


Miss E. Mouse


  1. Your little cat doll and her trunk are delightful! Cute postcard too. I can guess why you like Dutch things so must be the cheese! And I'm not going to tell you people don't actually dress like that in Holland...;)
    Greetings from the country of cheese, tulips and wooden shoes, Josje.

  2. Dear Miss E. Mouse, Your tiny trunks with dolls are my favorites of everything you do, and this dear little trunk for a kitty is so precious and sweet. I adore the imagination behind this whole set and your painting skills and placement are so much fun to look at. It makes me feel like a little girl staring at storybook scenes, but of course the dolls and accessories bring the whole set more to life in my mind! Thank you for sharing this, it's on "my favorite's list" now!!!

    Happy Painting, Love Lori