Sunflower Still Life with Black Cat

FISH VASE - CAT 1000 Heni Sandoval
Sunflower Still Life with Black Cat – acrylic painting by Heni Sandoval

Sunflower Still Life with Black Cat is a painting that I’ve just completed.  I felt like doing a new still life and wanted to use the fish pitcher that my twin sister gave me on our birthday last year. It’s one of her many unique thrift store finds,  she’s got a great eye and is always coming home with fun items.  She thoughtfully passed it on to me as I like to paint both pitchers and fish. The pitcher usually stays out in the screened in back porch; I brought it in and filled with sunflowers to paint.

I decided to add a black cat to the painting to continue the still lifes with cats series.  It’s the fourth one in the series and with the two other cat paintings I now have cat note card six pack for marketing purposes.  I’m pleased with the cat, he’s standing for a change which I think works in this painting and it’s also bit humorous that he’s right next to the fish.   I had been wanted to paint sunflowers for a while now, as they radiate warmth and happiness.  The sunflower papier mache bowls I used to make were always quite popular.

It took a while to balance all the elements but I’m happy with the result. Our daughter is coming home for spring break next week, we’re looking forward to her visit.  It’s gotten chilly again today, hopefully it will warm up by next week during her break.

Bounding Bunny

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Bounding Bunny – acrylic painting by Heni Sandoval

I have just completed a new painting, Bounding Bunny.  The lovely springlike weather we are enjoying here in Atlanta has inspired me to have some fun playing with color around a leaping cottontail rabbit.   I’m pleased with the sense of movement that the painting conveys.

When looking back at a similar painting done last year, Two Rabbits in the Meadow; I remember my struggle with the foreground, having to rework it many times.  I prefer the new painting, there’s more movement in the sky and the little bunny is leaping.  This new painting came together easily.

As I wrote before, the rabbit symbolizes good luck and abundance.   In the past few days I’ve sold four items from my two etsy shops, which is  encouraging as Etsy sales had slowed  down last year.  I’ve also gotten new framed prints up at the Fly Biscuit Cafes.  I have some other ideas for marketing and like this bunny I am ready to leap ahead.  March is here which means spring is just around the corner.  I hope all are enjoying these days!

Bonfire

FIRE SALAMANDERS 1000
Bonfire -acrylic painting by Heni Sandoval

Bonfire is my most recent painting.   I had been thinking about the fire element in the last few weeks.  On Valentine’s Day when the news links about the Parkland High School shooting began to appear, I found myself feeling very sad and angry on the special day marked for love. As usual the politicians offered thoughts and prayers, while acting as if nothing can be done about this continuing problem.   Remarkably over the next few days, as I looked at the various social media sites, I could sense a shift.  The teens and their parents were acting on their grief and anger to take back their power and those of us on the sidelines were adding to this energy of change that is starting to happen.

When my daughter was a senior in high school, there was an incident were a student skipped class and stole a cache of guns and ammunition from a home in an adjacent neighborhood.   As the information about a lockdown came through, we began to hear sirens and helicopters overhead.  At that point we were not sure if there was an active shooter in the school, it was frightening.  The police handled the the situation and all ended well after several hours with no shooting.  When my girl graduated I was relieved that that worry for her was over, even though she heading to New York City for college!  I feel for all the moms and dads and children that still have that fear that it could happen one day at their school.

Each of us has an inner fire that we can call upon for standing up for what we feel is right.   Traditionally the fire element represents action, power, passion, and creativity.  In medieval times salamander nature spirits were thought to provide the spark for starting the fire.  When looking into a fire and seeing all the movement of the colors, it’s easy to see why they thought of salamanders.  I decided to add them to the fire.

It is inspiring to see these teens coming together and owning their power encouraging us to do the same and  it will bring about positive change.  This Bonfire is for them!

The Jaguar

JAGUAR 1000
The Jaguar – acrylic painting by Heni Sandoval

The Jaguar is a new painting for my rainforest series.  Jaguars are the largest cats native to the Americas and third largest cats in the world behind lions and tigers. The jaguar once roamed from Argentina all the way up to the Grand Canyon in Arizona. Today, jaguars have been almost completely eliminated from the United States.  This endangered cat hangs on in remote regions of Central America and South America.  My niece spent time in Costa Rica on a college research trip and was fortunate to see a black jaguar in the dead of night.

Jaguar is a Native American word meaning, “he who kills with one blow.”  In  pre-Columbian America the jaguar was seen as a god in Peru, Mexico, and Guatemala.  The Mayans saw him as the god of the underworld.

The idea for this painting came to me a couple weeks ago.  My daughter is spending a semester abroad in Prague, and has taken advantage of her free time traveling to many exciting places,  She’s been to Paris, Rome, Naples and now, Vienna and is having a great time on her adventures.   We are excited for her because she’s broadening her horizons by learning about and experiencing other cultures.  It’s brought back to mind wonderful memories of my travels.   One of those memories was a trip with my husband down to the Oaxaca, Mexico region.  In a small arts village, I  bought him a bright hand painted and carved, wooden jaguar that he keeps in his office for good luck.  This jaguar painting is also for my husband and a reminder of our happy memories of Mexico.

Tide Pools

Here are two paintings I’ve done for my sister’s upcoming birthday.  She and her family live in Seattle and she wanted a couple of prints for her bathroom.  She was looking through all my fish prints and trying to decide what to use.  The thought came to me to do a new painting for her with sea life from the Pacific Northwest.  Her shower curtain had oranges and blues and tans so I worked with those colors.

Years ago we lived in Oakland California where I worked as an outdoor program specialist for the San Francisco Bay Girl Scouts.  I drove a van throughout the bay area leading special programs for girl scout troops.  Every so often I would meet a troop out on the coast where we would explore the tide pools.  The Northwest coast can be pretty gray, chilly and overcast; but the tide pools are just bursting with color of the various sea creatures.  The stark contrast made it exciting, like finding a treasure.   I loved teaching about how the sea creatures had adapted to their stark environment, opening and closing with the tide changes.

It was a fun and challenging painting the tide pools, and it helped that I did them both at the same time.   The paintings brought back happy memories that I had not thought about in years.  I feel they turned out pretty well and hope my sister will like them and that they will work in her space.

 

Mer-Cat

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Mer-cat – acrylic painting by Heni Sandoval

Here’s a new painting for my Heni’s Happy Painting Etsy shop.    Earlier in the summer I painted The Brothers of our cats Tuxie and Truffle.  I then thought I’d like to paint our other cat, Tiggy who passed away a few years ago. With the warm summer weather I was also thinking about painting a mermaid in an underwater scene.  I put these two ideas together and created Mer-Cat.

Back in May when I had my show at the Phoenix and Dragon bookstore, Candice, the owner mentioned that they have  an art show in October where they have paintings of cats from various local artists which is another reason why I’ve done these cat paintings.  The bookstore has three cats that live there full time.  When I set up my show, they all came into the gallery to hang out with me.  It was very sweet. There are many pet oriented gifts in the shop and I’ve bought some cat gifts for my daughter there.

My daughter has been in Prague now for just over a week, it’s pretty quiet around here, I think our kitties are missing her and all her loving attention.  Enjoy the rest of the weekend!

The Brothers

TUXIE TRUFFLE - 1000 (1)
The Brothers – Acrylic Painting by Heni Sandoval

The Brothers is new painting of mine, a portrait of our two cats.  Truffle and Tuxie were rescue kitties from a feral mother that we adopted  six years ago.  We just love them and their very different personalities.

Tuxie, pictured on the bottom is full of energy and a terrific hunter.   I can’t  recall all the times he’s brought chipmunks into the house.  We usually catch them and put the little critters back outside much to Tuxie’s dismay.  Tuxie is always letting Truffle know who is boss until Truffle can’t take it any more and goes after him.  Truffle, pictured on top is a gentle soul, for although he’s afraid to  sit in our laps, he soaks up affection and would happily be pet for hours. He is  large and chubby;  I had to stop leaving dry food out for he ate his and Tuxie’s portion.

I’m pleased with the painting and feel that I captured them pretty well.  When Tuxie was  about a year old, he came home with a broken tail which was very traumatic for him and us.  We weren’t sure if he would have get the tail cut off but luckily it healed and now he has this quirky curl.  He loves to lay on his back and lift his paws to get affection.  He’s so adorable. Truffle lounges around curled up sleeping most the day.  He, unlike quirky Tuxie, has perfect tuxedo cat markings.  I used the cooler peaceful colors around Truffle since he is sensitive and mellow.

The painting also shows the lush colors of the southern summer.  We’ve had a rainy few weeks here as summer began, the garden is doing well.  There’s an overflow  of zucchini and the tomatoes are almost ripe.  I hope everyone is having a good start to the season!