Cat o’clock

by maggie

This is the view over my mums back yard when ever the cats decide to wake me at stupid dark o’clock.

The street light catches the side of the building and the foliage across the road. It a view that has been fascinating me as I try to capture it.

In my first attempt I got the shape of the buildings wrong and everything too pale. Maybe because it’s a view that I’ve looked at from any where from 1 to 7 am of a winters morning. I’m learning about paint as well as I go. So not only am I trying to settle on the best composition I’m also trying to work out where the brush will take the colour. Of course this image is digital, but it’s still surprising to learn that bright orange is the lightest colour and you can keep piling on the shadows a long time. With real paper and wet paints I’m learning planning and patience. But who knew you could use any method you liked to get the paint where you want it – like a mask to cut off the brush strokes.

I’ve stood and made drawings of the gardens and houses in attempt to understand how they fit together. I since made more than half a dozen attempts at this view (with its geometry twisting out from under me) close ups of the gap, and wide dark back gardens. It makes you realise what a great synthesiser the human brain is, editing out the boring bits. Of all those attempts this is the one that is the most successful. It captures something of the middle of the night feeling. It’s a struggle for me to let something so fluid out – surely the picture should be representative. The gap between the houses is opposite a T-junction, with more trees and houses. In this story though they don’t count so it’s ok to leave them out. What is important is the creeping orange glow finding you out in the misty small hours.