Tag Archives: Cornish Rex cats

Little Cats (or patience is a virtue)

I was led off the trail of birds this afternoon. I had an important task to complete that was overdue. Lisa S contacted me many months ago to ask about my Cornish Rex artwork and she has been waiting patiently in New York for a signed copy of Thunderstorm Dancing for a long time. Boy is she tired!

Because she has been waiting so long, she got some little bonuses in her bundle. Some Cornish doodles. Lisa has two Cornish Rex cats. One is black (Nigel). One is white (Finley).

Check out Finley with my Cornish Soliloquy drawing from last year.

Cornish Soliloquy cat

Here’s the title page from The Cornish Soliloquy


Here’s adorable Finley!

Today, I have finally wrapped up a signed copy of Thunderstorm Dancing for Lisa and it will go into the post tomorrow, bedecked with cats.

Tucked into the book:

White Cornish Rex on Endpapers JudyWatsonArt lores

A little white Cornish sketch painted on the endpapers of ‘The Book of British Villages’. I was going to paint him on a map of Cornwall, but I got engrossed in this one instead.

Black cat white cat

The little white cat with his friend the black cat, drawn on a (terrible) 1980s dress pattern

Thunderstorm Dancing all wrapped up:

wrapped copy of Thunderstorm Dancing

Ready for the post bag

And finally, a doodle on the envelope:

cat parcel awaiting stamps

parcel ready for stamps

When I was at the post office a few days ago, the only stamps they had were husky dogs… That’s not going to go down well! Fingers crossed there are some stamps there tomorrow that are more feline friendly.

Cartoon Cornish

Comic Cornish Judy Watson Art lores

The Scribble Cornish of yesterday, became a fully drawn and painted Cartoon Cornish after dinner last night. I started out to do an inky depiction, with wet edges, to suggest the fuzz, as per all of my work this year really. Fast and loose… But strangely I found myself taking the unprecedented step of using a sharpened Prismacolour pencil to draw in some detail, as the Prismacolour Artstick was frustrating me by going off rather too wildly on its own tangents.

And although, this picture is not exactly as I would want it, I have to say, I quite enjoyed being careful… relatively careful… for a few moments :-)

Anyway, Mr Cornish salutes you.


Blue Cornish Shadow Dance – a work in progress

blue tabby Cornish shadow dance

Thunderstorm inking is in progress this afternoon. I stopped to paint a cat on a discarded piece of paper (a piece of paper with two eyes cut out of it for Greyfur the puppet and a great deal of splodgy ink). This is actually a glorified-blob drawing. The blob suggested the Cornish Rex, and then I finished it off and put some shadow play in the background, experimenting with tone and shape in the way that I want to much more in the future.  The Greyfur eye holes (bottom right) can be seen but have been filled in with a collaged piece of watercolour paper behind.

But here’s the thing. The original hard copy looks like this (below).

Cornish shadow dance original in progress Judywatsonart lores

I’m reasonably pleased with this picture as a start. But it needs more tonal contrast and more definition in some areas I think. I shaded those blue areas over the top of this image in PhotoShop, almost without thinking, because I’m using PhotoShop so much to edit and enhance illustration work at the moment. I wanted to see what would happen if I added a further layer of colour and shape.

Now I can go back and add this over the real image if I want to. Or in a different colour and pattern. It’s a handy experiment that I hadn’t thought of before that might be quite helpful with my painting practice sometimes.


The Cornish Soliloquy or How to Deface a vintage Mills & Boon

Cornish cover

The hero… or is he a villain? of this vintage romance ‘Whispering Winds’, is the mysterious Mr Cornish. I sprang off from there to Cornish Rex cats, and 25 or so drawings later, here we are. With a Cornish Soliloquy. An artist’s book full of Cornish Rex drawings and paintings, tracing the internal conversation I had as I learned how to draw a new thing.

I don’t think I’ve ever met a Cornish Rex in person. I feel I know them a little now, and I’d certainly like to be introduced to one. Apparently they are wonderfully soft, and wonderfully curious. They have simply enormous ears, large eyes, a delicate build, a prominent roman nose and a crinkle cut hairstyle.

I won’t include all of the drawings here. Suffice to say it was an interesting journey. From fussy carefulness, through wild experimentation and daring (I should have been wearing my superhero mask for that bit) to lazy and half-hearted (before afternoon tea) and finally simple ink outlines, which are some of the ones that worked the best.

I’ve put them roughly in their order as they appear in the book. But this is not the order in which they were drawn. I wonder if you can work out which ones I did first and last.

Cornish soliloquy 26

Cornish soliloquy 25

Cornish soliloquy

wet on wet. Good fun.

Cornish for 'welcome'

Cornish for ‘welcome’

mission I set myself

no matter how unpromising resolve second pass

Cornish soliloquy 1

I made a hash of the drawing on this page and in the spirit of challenging myself to ‘save’ every spontaneous picture, I quickly followed Matisse’s example and ‘drew’ another cat with scissors. I was happy with the result, despite the fact that this fellow does not have the required roman nose. Other pictures were ‘saved’ less well.

Cornish soliloquy 24

Nice and simple

Cornish soliloquy 23

This has the cornish character.

brushy and quickbrushy and quick

Cornish soliloquy 21


This is just blatantly cute! I mean really!

This is just blatantly cute! I mean really! There’s simply no excuse for this sort of thing. Ha ha! But seriously, why is it that this looks horribly cheap to me, and the two ink kittens at the front of the book seem to me good? Of course, all is subjective with art. But perhaps some of it is the soft pastel used here, which sometimes has an association with sentimentality. The ink looks vaguely oriental, and perhaps more sure-handed. It’s all conjecture. But these are things that get me pondering. And it’s a constant source of friction when drawing for children’s books. How to make the work feel like genuine art to me, and not fall into any of the several mine shafts that say ‘sentimental’, or ‘cute’ or ‘sugary’ (aaagh!) or ‘mediocre’ (that’s a very easy one to fall into, and let’s face it, by its very definition, most of us will fall into that category much of the time.)… the mine shafts go on forever.

Cornish soliloquy 2-2

This was the first one I did and is horribly overworked. In fact, just horrible, full stop. Truly cringe-worthy. Good thing I continued on and improved… he he

collage funcollage fun

Cornish soliloquy 2

I could have improved this I think, with a different background treatment and a little more work with the swirling lines on the cat.

Cornish soliloquy 3

I quite like this one, despite the fact that he looks a little like a panther. At least he goes well with the ominous phrase picked out… ‘Mr Cornish is here, he wants to see you.’ Dum dum daaaaaa!

Cornish soliloquy 4

Corny cornish. Would have been less corny if I’d kept away from the colour highlights. She is ready for the chocolate box lid :-)

What the...?

What the…? Mad, but I don’t mind it. It’s a bit quirky. And I enjoy the effect of the lines across the text.

Cornish soliloquy 6

A mistake to colour the eye. Another corny cornish.

Cornish soliloquy 7

Very rough, but rather soft and expressive. I don’t mind this one.

Cornish soliloquy 8

This cat is lying down. I perhaps should have drawn a shadow. Then he wouldn’t look like a floating phantom. But it would have lost its graphic quality…I quite like him nevertheless. He’s a shape as well as a cat. These last two employ a chinese brush pen with a rubber tip. It’s quite nice to use, dries out quickly though, and the ink is so soluble that it’s rather ‘volatile’ when you add water later on. You can lose all your lines unless you work with care.

Cornish soliloquy 9

Here I used a fine liner pen, way too fine for the job, but it looked interesting once I added the ink with a brush.

Cornish soliloquy 10

DREADFUL. But if you’re experimenting, you’re experimenting. You have to take a risk or you get nowhere.

Cornish soliloquy 11

The cat is more interesting than the drawing. Quite a personality by the looks of him. ” ‘You look wonderful,’ he said. It’s years since I had such a glorious pet’ .”

Deep. Very deep

Deep. Very deep. he he.



Cornish soliloquy 14

Here I used a LARGE conté stick.

One of my faves. Jaunty little fellow.

One of my faves. Jaunty little fellow.



I think this is shorthand.

I think this is shorthand. (This was before my afternoon tea. Did you guess?)

What do you get when you cross a sheep with a cat?

What do you get when you cross a sheep with a Siamese?

This is my favourite. Love the library dates. They go well with the drawing gestures. All flicky!

This is my favourite. I LOVE the library dates. They seem to go well with the drawing gestures. Don’t ask me why. (One day later: Ask me why! Ask me why! I’ve worked it out. It’s the repeating verticals and hook gestures… Of course I did that on purpose. Phew!)

There are many more drawings and writings in the book. Something on nearly every page. I kept coming back to it, as it became quite addictive.

This book is supposed to be on exhibition at the Courthouse Gallery in Camperdown, western Victoria from next week as part of the community exhibition ‘Animalia‘. I’ve missed the post, but I’ll try to get it there in time anyway.