Monday, August 2, 2010

The Guardian of Ra WIP 1

I'm still experimenting with different ideas for the water section of the self portrait so while I am deciding which approach to use I thought I would begin the other painting that I have drawn out.

I had the idea for this painting when I was sat outside a couple weeks ago in the sunshine and a beautiful white cat came over to say hi. Looking at her in the sun she almost seemed to merge into the brightness of the sky behind her as, facing the sun and capturing the light in her eyes she basked in the sunshine. It made me think about the Ancient Egyptian beliefs.

The Ancient Egyptians believed that cats captured the glow of the sun in their eyes and kept it's power safe during the hours of darkness.

They believed that at sunset, Ra, the sun god, would die and descend through the underworld in the west, to be born again in the east, at sunrise. During the night, however,they believed that Ra was in great danger, as his enemies, headed by the great serpent Apophis would not hesitate to attack him, thus putting the whole universe in danger. They believed that cats who looked into the sun in the day would keep its rays in their eyes throughout the night until the next glow of light lit the sky, for they have eyes that reflect in the dark. With that fire burning in their eyes, they would go forth and kill the serpents of the night and keep Ra safe until morning.

I just had to convey this idea in a painting and... well you know me... i just can't resist painting eyes... I LOVE them.

You will have to imagine that the rather grey paper is white. I couldn't get a good photo  in the lighting conditions I have at the moment. Its grey and overcast and I think we are about to have a storm.  I wanted to experiment 'high key' style and maintain as much of the white paper as I could, minimally suggesting the cats outline while really focusing in on her eyes.. I have now painted both eyes and suggested her nose and mouth. I am starting to add in suggestions of her fur in the shady areas. I have a lot more of this to do on the shady side. Her whiskers on this side will be the white of the paper. They are just masked at the moment to help me preserve the white while I complete the fur.

I will be working on both this painting and the self portrait over the next couple of weeks and will post updates on both as I progess. I really enjoy your company as I paint and love reading all your comments  whether you write them by e mail, on facebook or as a comment on this blog.



  1. I love cat eyes and you certainly know how to paint them.

  2. Pulling up a seat next to Vicki!! wave

  3. Wow !!! Those eyes are amazing. How do you get that shiny surface and all that colour in them?