Saturday, December 16, 2017

Playing with Mr. Epps

Playing with Mr. Epps
10" x 10", oil on linen, 20177

A recurring narrative in my work involves one of two cats: Mookie, a grey tabby, and Mr. Epps, a black cat. Mookie belonged to my son for eighteen years; Mr. Epps to someone I knew in my 20s who had named him after Preston Epps, the bongo player. 

In the drawings for this composition, I was thinking to use Mookie, but when I painted the woman's dark dress I thought the counterpoint of a black note worked better then a grey note.

The composition is based on a triangle - a classical solution that helps creates weight and solidity - and I went with a background of light muted warm tones to further enhance its strength. The ball is the only bright color, and is echoed by the dark red of the chair upholstery and the light red of the horizontal line dividing the upper and  lower sections of the wall.

Playing with Mr. Epps (drawing #3, final)
10" x 10", pencil on paper with pastel tone on reverse, 2017

Besides changing the cat from Mookie to Mr. Epps, the only other significant change from the final drawing to the painting was eliminating the treat on the table top and giving the woman a red ball to hold ... and having both paws on the table instead of one.

Playing with Mr. Epps (drawing #2)
7 1/2" x 7 1/2", pencil on graph paper, 2017
Playing with Mr. Epps (drawing #1)
6 1/4" x 6", pencil on graph paper, 2017


  1. Andrew, I really enjoy reading your posts. The background information on your process adds to my enjoyment of your work. I never would have seen the triangle placement on my own. But I also love how she is leaning forward to Mr. Epps.



"There is more power in telling little than in telling all."
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the mystery of the instinctive in the human race.”
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