Tiggy

Tiggy – acrylic painting by Heni Sandoval

I’ve just completed Tiggy, another new cat painting. In December when I was working out how I was going to paint Katniss, the last painting, I sketched out a cat laying on the page. Once I saw the photo of Katniss sitting on the wall, I decided to put the first cat sketch aside and do a new sketch of her sitting. My daughter, who was home for the holidays at the time, suggested I use that first sketch to paint our beloved cat, Tiggy. So, that’s what I’ve done and this painting is for her.

Tiggy and his sister came into our family when they were tiny kittens. We got them from our neighbor for our daughter who was three at the time. They grew up together. Tiggy was a wonderful cat, loving and patient. Through the years he was patient and present with all the kids who came in and out and he loved our daughter. He also loved being outdoors,spending hours outside laying in the front yard. Neighbors walking by would stop to pet him. He was majestic and kind to all, everyone knew him. Here’s a picture of my daughter with Tiggy.

A few years after we lost Tiggy’s sister, we brought home two new tuxedo kittens,Tuxie and Truffle. It took him a month to adjust but he soon became like a father to them; again, he was patient and kind. At thirteen, he became ill and we knew it was near the end, but he still loved laying outside. He died a week after our girl graduated from high school. It was almost as if he waited for that, he actually went up into her bedroom and passed away. I think of Tiggy as such an evolved being and know he’s somewhere up in heaven where all our beloved pets go. That’s why I did the fanciful background as if he is in a heavenly sphere.

Katniss

Katniss – acrylic painting by Heni Sandoval

Here is my new cat painting, Katniss which I plan to give to my chiropractor. Back in April when I had just started seeing him for my neck issue I brought him a few of my note cards which included some of the cat images. He then told me about their big, beautiful tabby cat, Katniss that he and his wife adore. He saw me once of week for several weeks and generously gave me a price cut. He is a true healer and helped me get through the six months of my slow recovery which I so appreciated. I decided to thank him with a portrait of Katniss.

I tried to capture her look from the photos of her he had emailed me. This image is from their neighbor’s back patio wall. I liked the composition and how it showed her adorable plump look. I’m going to bring the painting with me to my next appointment in in early February. I am hoping that they like the painting of their much loved kitty.

Galaxy

Galaxy – acrylic painting by Heni Sanoval

Galaxy is a new abstract painting for my space theme. A few weeks ago, I saw a photo that showed brightly lit stars upon stars filling the space with a caption that said something like “how space actually is” That gave me the idea to paint an image of lots of stars on the page.

I laid down colorful spirals and and curving lines and then put in spheres in small to larger sizes as if they are expanding out into space. It was fun to paint getting to play with lots of color. My next painting is going to be more subdued. I’ll be making a cat painting for my chiropractor who helped with my neck injury. His healing energy helped me get through the experience and I’m thanking him with a painting of their family cat.

I put up holiday decorations early this year because we had a holiday artist open house here in early December. It was fun, I sold prints from my etsy days and and also picked up some lovely unique gifts. I like getting all that done early as now we can relax and do a bit of entertaining. On Monday our daughter will be flying home for the holidays; we can hardly wait to see her! I hope everyone is enjoying this festive season.

Cardinal in the Tree

Cardinal in the Tree -acrylic painting by Heni Sandoval

Cardinal in the Tree is a painting that I recently completed. I’ve done many dove and crow paintings with the sun or moon in the scene and I got the idea to try my hand at creating a similar whimsical painting of a song bird. I chose the cardinal since I felt like using bright red paint.

We have a couple of cardinal couples that hang out in our yard. One late afternoon while in my husband’s upstairs studio, I looked out the window and saw a beautiful cardinal high up in a tree branch, this surprised me because I hadn’t realized just how tall particular accent tree had gotten. I planted 15 years ago and it has tripled in size.

With that scene in mind, I started the painting. I know that many people think when a cardinal appears it can symbolize a dead loved one is thinking of them. I like that idea and every time I spot a male cardinal, I like to think that my dad is winking at me. He and my mom loved their backyard with all their song birds. I hope all are enjoying this Easter and Passover weekend.

Truffle on the Green Chair

Truffle on the Green Chair

Truffle on the Green Chair is my new painting. The image is from a photo that I texted to my daughter for her kitty fix. I liked the composition and the space around Truffle so I decided to paint it. I am inspired by the British painter, David Hockney. I love his interiors with their vivid colors and how the colors help define the space, so I decided to have some fun painting in a similar style. In this painting were a number of smaller parts within the space that required time and detail. It was a good practice for me.

Truffle is such a cutie-pie, many times he has an uncertain look in his eyes when I take pics. He likes to sit on top of the chair when I’m cooking in the kitchen. We just love him! At Christmas he started limping, his front paw had a spot on it that I thought would heal but then the wound cracked it it bled profusely. The vet checked him out and told us he has an autoimmune disease where his paws get soft; she gave him a steroid shot. I had recently changed his kitty litter to a lightweight corn based brand which I think aggravated his condition. I changed the littler to unscented clay brand and began feeding food containing probiotics. His little paw healed, luckily the condition is not fatal, it’s something he just has to live with. I wonder if that’s why he has been fairly stationary much of his life compared to his rambunctious brother, Tuxie.

Black Hole

Black Hole – acrylic painting by Heni Sandoval

Black Hole is the newest painting for my abstract outer space series. It’s darker than a lot of my paintings. With the challenging world events going I was in the mood to bring in more darkness contrasting with the light. I experimented with various colors, playing with dark planets contrasting with the light and the lighter planets against the dark space. I like the way the black hole looks a like an eye.

It’s horrific and shocking viewing what is happening in the Ukraine, the brutality of Putin’s war all over social media for everyone to see. It seems that the whole world may be coming together to say no more, I hope anyway. I’m beginning a new painting to distract myself and continue to hope for a peaceful resolution.

Cosmic Egg

Cosmic Egg by Heni Sandoval

A few weeks ago, I was chatting with an artist friend of mine who told me she works on several paintings at a time. I liked that idea; my studio is not ideal for that because it’s a small room off the main bedroom. I did, however start working on two paintings at a time; one larger abstract with more overlaid colors and the smaller looser tiger painting from last week. This week I completed the abstract which I’ve titled, Cosmic Egg.

I chose the cosmic egg because it helps me to have concrete theme as I paint abstracts. On Instagram I had had recently seen a post on geometric patterns using the vesica piscis symbol of the interlocking circles that I had used for the water element painting. The inside shape has also been said to be a cosmic egg, a common motif in mythologies. With this idea in mind, I started the painting with two interlocking large curves and kept layering colors and eventually forming the egg shape in the center.

The Cosmic Egg is a major creation symbol used in myths throughout the world. It is a metaphor of potentiality and held within chaos, prior to becoming the creative cosmos.

Water Tiger

Water Tiger – acrylic painting by Heni Sandoval

After last week’s fairly complex cat still life painting, I felt like painting in a looser style. The Chinese New year began on the new moon in early February and the astrological sign of the year is the water tiger. I was inspired by all the fun imagery of the water tiger celebrating the new year that I’d seen on social media. It then occurred to me that one of my very good friends and several of my daughter’s friends are water tigers and that sparked my interest. I don’t know much about Chinese astrology but I see my good friend as someone is who is fiery and fun-loving yet also kindhearted and sensitive, it’s a nice mix. With all that in mind I started the painting and Water Tiger is the result.

Year’s ago, back when we lived in California, I worked in the education department at the Oakland Zoo one summer for their day camp program. It was a lot of fun leading a bunch of city kids helping them to learn more of the natural world. I also got to see how the zoo was run. The highlight of the week was a fun tour that the children loved called Behind the Scenes where they got to see how the animals were fed and cared for. There was a lone tiger is a fairly large fenced in area with a small pond to swim in. The children got to see the caretaker feed him big slabs of raw steak. Tigers unlike most cats actually enjoy the water and they swim to cool off.

The painting was fun to do and I’m pleased with how it turned out. I’m now working on an abstract. The weather is starting to tease us with some warmer days, I hope everyone is enjoying the late days of the season.

Brothers by the Window

Brothers by the Window -acrylic painting by Heni Sandoval

Brothers by the Window is my new painting. A few months ago, I rearranged the furniture in our living room placing a side table in front of the big window and it soon became a favorite hang out for our kitties. I placed a pillow there which Truffle enjoys. Tuxie will sometimes join him by sitting on the edge but he tends to look a bit irritated at Truffle having more space. It also makes Truffle a bit nervous but he holds his ground. I tried to show this dynamic in the painting.

I took a picture with the boys together and sent it to my daughter who loves to get daily updates on the cats. We both noticed how striking it was with the light outside and the dark interior and I thought to myself, here’s the subject for a new painting. Mom’s birthday was last week; I generally do a still life painting around this time of year in her honor, and so I began the new still life with the cats.

It was a fun and challenging painting to do. I wanted the interior to be dark but also light enough to show off the beautiful antique table. I included the houseplants on either side of the cats to show the warm tropical greenery in contrast to the cold winter day outside. I’m getting better at depicting Tuxie who has interesting asymmetric markings on his face making it challenging to get his looks down. I’m glad to be back to painting and have started a new one that I’m working on this weekend.

Jupiter

Jupiter – acrylic painting by Heni Sandoval

Jupiter is a new painting for my planet series. I started this painting a few months ago and have only now completed it. We were busy during the holidays and prior to that were updating our kitchen, opening up a wall to the dining room and then I painted the upstairs hallway and my daughter’s room, which had been a bright purple color from all the way back to her middle school days.

It felt good to get the house updates accomplished but I’m happy to get back to painting. Last weekend while waiting on the snow storm I started reworking this painting. It’s done now and I’m ready to start a fresh painting.

Jupiter is the fifth planet from the sun and is the largest planet of the solar system. It is a gas giant with lower density than earth and covered with rapidly moving bands of white and brownish storm clouds. Jupiter has four large moons and more than seventy smaller moons. The famous red spot is a big storm that is the size of Earth.

Jupiter as the largest planet was named after the Roman king of the gods who ruled the sky and thunder and was in charge of laws and social order. In astrology Jupiter represents the principles of growth and expansion.