Hibiscus, 2014


Hibiscus is a portrait of a pair of real cats.  The original was commissioned by a private client.  The piece was done as a memorial to a friend of the client who passed away.  The cats were his cats.  The client told me that besides cats his friend had liked wine, good friends, and Hawaii.

I tried to work some of those things into the image.  The yellow hibiscus is the state flower of Hawaii.  The mountains in the background are on Oahu.  The open wine bottle completes the image.

Of course in reality the cats would probably be either eating the flower or looking out the window.  That’s where artistic license comes into play.

Hibiscus was challenging because I did not have many photos of the actual cats for reference.  I had to get on the internet and look for photos of similar cats.  I don’t know if the cats are a specific breed.  I did find some other long haired gray cats that looked like them.

I created the pose myself.  I could not find a picture of two cats sitting in just this way.  I had to improvise, putting together different photos until I had something workable.  I thought it was important to create a pose that was interesting.  I didn’t want both cats on the same level as I thought it might make the image too static.  I like it this way, with one higher than the other.

I spent a bit of time searching for photos of hibiscus flowers.  They are actually quite large I found out.  The hibiscus in the image may be a bit on the small side, but I didn’t want it to overpower the picture.

The wine bottle looked a little small to me at first, but the proportions are about right.  Not having any cats of my own when I made this, I had to do more research to find out how tall a cat is when sitting.

I also spent hours pouring over pictures of Hawaii trying to decide what to put in the background.  My initial thought was a beach, but that wouldn’t work with the placement of the horizon.  The water would be obscured by the window frame.  That led me to mountains.  I thought this particular mountain range lent itself to the composition.

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