Tag Archives: cat

If I Were a Beer Brewer…

…I would be in Seventh Heaven here, watching my hops vine climb merrily over the fence, across the neighbor’s deck, and up onto their garage roof.  I may not be able to keep a sunflower plant from being chewed to bits by unknown cooties, but my hops are phenomenal!


We’ve reached the point in the Willamette Valley spring where if you don’t like the weather, just wait an hour… anything goes!  The sky was gorgeous one warm afternoon last week, here seen from under the bridge just south of Corvallis: 

"Willamette Spring", mixed media by Kerry McFall

“Willamette Spring”, mixed media by Kerry McFall

The week before that, a mean little hailstorm attacked my baby lettuces, but they survived with bruises and spots.  

"Hailstorm Sketch", mixed media by Kerry McFall

“Hailstorm Sketch”, mixed media by Kerry McFall

Now the question becomes, did I jump the gun this morning and plant my tomatoes too soon?  Time will tell.  In the meantime, I’m just sketching away every day, finishing up assignments for my online Sketchbook Skool, and preparing for the next class.  Here are a few of my recent sketches:

A Multi-Cat Day

This morning when I sat down to begin my “sketching warm-up exercises” (which I have to say are far less painful than the Yoga Plank thing I tried recently), I noticed my old cat Baby catching the sunrays in the front window.  Given the lack of other nearby inspiration, she had her portrait done.  In pencil.  Then I added watercolor.

Next came a flip through the pages of a design book about Art Deco, and the Mean Keelah was born.  “Mean Keelah” was what our little neighbor used to call one of our cats when he was learning to talk… Skyley, aka Mean Keelah, was the original Grumpy Cat.  Only meaner, and with bigger teeth.  As I worked, following the style of G. Darcy from 1920, Mean Keelah was reincarnated.  Reincarnated several times, as I experimented with this and that, including a digitally-enhanced version.

Then I got to wondering how that mean kitty could become a cute kitty – what is it about those lines that implies such evil?  So I messed around for a little longer, using the same approach and style.  Meh… the technique works for “cute kitties” as well as mean, but the cats are just more in a long line of simpering felines – nothing is new under sun.  I like the Mean Cat #2 best, the rest got a bit too dark with additional paint layers.  Although, that digital version does have some distinct Halloween possibilities…



Essence of a Kitten: Stealth and Raisin Pockets

"Stealth", mixed media by Kerry McFall

“Be vewy, vewy cawefoh…” lisped Elmer Fudd as he snuck up on his victim.  I always hear that ridiculous phrase in my head when I see kittens preparing to pounce. This kitty was rescued recently beside a highway near the Oregon coast – she is so young (maybe 3 weeks?) that her eyes don’t really seem to focus, and yet she instinctively creeps up on potential prey.  She currently resides in a house slipper at Wendy’s friend Lisa’s home.  Thank you to Lisa for the photo that this was based on.  Ooh, dangling participle… sorry, but doesn’t it just sound friendlier than “upon which this was based?”

Wait, you say, What’s a Raisin Pocket?  I grew up hearing that phrase in my friend Ellen’s house.  A raisin pocket is the tiny flap at the outside edge of a cat’s ear… in this sketch, you can just see a little pink area – and obviously it’s sized for one possible purpose: to carry a raisin in. ( In which to carry a raisin, if you prefer.)  All cats have them.  Not all cats understand the true intended function, however.  I suppose you might also be able to squeeze in one kitty kibble.  Kids – don’t try this at home!


Shadow Cat


"Shadow Cat", mixed media by Kerry McFall

This is a cat who is no longer a kitten, a cat of unexpected consequences.  I set out to sketch from a photo I stumbled into online of a fluffy yellow kitten, all wide-eyed innocence.  (I would credit the photographer, but I can’t find it again on the Internet and I vaguely remember it was by someone using a pseudonym that had the word flowers in it.  Sorry!)  I saw the photo and immediately thought – hey, cool shadows.  Very exaggerated.  Wonder if I could make that work?  Without even making so much as a pencil guideline for placing the eyes, I grabbed my Pentel brush pen, drew a border, and slapped on a couple of whiskers.  Footdang – too bold to capture the kittenish fluff.  But I was already committed, so I kept going.  Not bad, but with each stroke the cat got older, further and further away from generic cute kitty.  Closer and closer to a real personality.  Interesting.

I switched to colored pencil, then watercolor.  The watercolor wash wasn’t dark enough, and the paper wouldn’t take another wet layer, so I let it dry and switched back to dark colored pencil.  Still too pale.  Back to the brush pen – bingo!  I don’t think I’ve ever felt as good about contrast in one of my sketches as I do about this one.

As usual in a portrait, there’s something not quite right about the mouth, or rather the chin.  But what a sense of accomplishment.  And next time, I will draw those few pencil lines just to get my bearings before I bring out the ink.



sketch of annoyed cat in suitcase


Yesterday I found Sparky reclining in my husband’s suitcase. (He
packed early to do a “rehearsal week” to be sure he had everything he’ll
need.)  Disdain is the only word to describe her attitude. “Seriously? This whole travel thing just isn’t working out for me.  And leaving me with some strangers who have a DOG!?  I don’t think so.  By the way, while you’re up, could bring me a handful of those kitty treats… thanks.”