Carl Sandberg’s “Fog”


Carl Sandberg’s “Fog” Commissioned as a gift by a client who’s friend recently lost a beloved cat.


The fog comes on little cat feet.

It sits looking over harbor and city on silent haunches and then moves on.

Carl Sandberg

The original sketch felt too predatory, too threatening. The second sketch nailed the idea down. Below, is the beginning of painting the Cat. The Whiskers will need to be Masked because painting around lines that fine just isn’t a good option for me. I’m using Windsor Newton Masking Fluid and a metal pointed pen to draw in the Whiskers. The Fluid is a little gloppy, but the metal pen can keep the lines fine.DSCN5017DSCN5031 DSCN5019

Dried Masking Fluid is shiny and it resists liquid. No paint can adhere to the paper underneath the dried Mask.


Cat, Layer One. Viewed at an angle. There’s a tinge of Orange to suggest the Tabby, and to have the Cat advance. The second pass begins with the dark tip of the tail.


And the center stripe down the back.

DSCN5023 And the horizontal stripes off of the center line. Detail on some of the M shaped markings over the Cat’s eyes, but the area is too dark. That will be lightening that later.

DSCN5026 Test the dryness of the paint with the back of the hand. A still-moist painting will feel cool. A dry painting feels warmer. The back of the hand is more sensitive to temperature than the fingertips, and easier to use than the wrist.


The next layer can be painted now without worrying about the moisture crawling into an almost dry under-layer.


The foggy Harbor begins to emerge.


Checking this wash to make sure it’s dry. I don’t want the brown of the tail to bleed into the grey mist of the harbor.


Wetting the tail with clean water


Calligraphic contour lines painted onto the wet tail bleed a little which softens the lines and makes them look more fur-like. By the time  the last mark (far left) was made the underneath surface was almost completely dry, so that mark is more hard-edge.


Little Calligraphic strokes begin the Tabby markings. DSCN5042

Once the Yellow was painted on the eyes, the whole thing got more intense.


And some more Calligraphic details.


And some of those cute spots that Tabbies have near their stomachs. Now the  landscape. It needs to stay soft and neutral. A  slightly Bluer mixture of Grey allows this to recede.


The pale Grey sky was painted next, leaving a lighter area above the bridge to suggest the fogged over Sun.


The land mass needed to continue to the left edge of the paper

DSCN5046 With the Mask removed, the White of the paper is revealed. Some of these lights will need to be softened. I’ve lightened the area over the Cat’s eyes and added the M detail.


Preliminary lettering for the poem. It’s got to fit correctly. It’s lettered into the margins of the paper that the painting is on. Because there’s a paint film on the paper where the lettering will eventually go, it will reacte slightly differently than it does on the unpainted paper. It can be an issue, but I don’t expect any trouble.


Placing the text.


Tick marks show approximate placement of the lines.


Almost done. Lettering in place. Mask removed. But the edge of the cat where it meets the water and the land mass is too harshly white. Also, the Whites in the ears and the top of the head have to be adjusted.

DSCN5055 All done.