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Sitting sideways with Alfie

After painting the landscape "Et in Arcadia Ego" I wanted to see what I could transfer from what I had developed doing that picture into a painting of a person. There is a sneaky self portrait in the photo frame on the credenza. There are more objects there in reality but I just needed the one small rectangle, so that is what you see. This painting comes from a particular moment in time, even though I see this pose every day around 11.00 A.M. What caught my eye on this occasion - the charismatic prompt - was the violet scarf at the sitter's neck. I thought that was sufficiently sparky to justify the picture being put together from what are everyday elements.

Everything you see in the picture exists, although I have edited for composition by omitting superfluous narrative detail and changed colours for harmony. - so, for example, the reading light has had its support omitted and the overall yellow tones were selected to relate to the indigo blue of the blouse rather than reproducing the actual cream. Indigo was extended from the blouse into the shadow area of the hair, which in turn suggested the strong yellow highlights. The cat does not wear a red collar but a black one, but the red has more impact, adding a spot of contrast in the way the violet scarf does.

These chairs are rather wider than standard arm chairs and we chose them because they allow you to sit sideways, something the sitter likes doing, so this is a characteristic pose. Alfie the cat is never slow to take advantage of anyone who sits down and this position where he can sit back and be cradled by an arm suits him just fine. Notice the leg he has extended over the sitter's arm to prevent her moving it away.

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