Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Cat's Eyes on Cat's Eye

Acrylic polymer emulsion on gessoed hardboard, 12 x 12"
Painted - Nov. 19 - Dec. 5, 2007, #139.

This painting is part of an on-going series that celebrates authors in a visual way. In the past, I've explored imagery with books by noted Canadian authors as Carol Shields and Yann Martel. I read Cat's Eye by Margaret Atwood in 1989, and it remains one of my favorite books. This work of fiction tells the story of painter Elaine Risley who is returning to Toronto for a retrospective of her work, the city where she was born and fled after her first divorce. She becomes obsessed with events from her childhood, adolescence, past relationships with men, friends and family she left behind. It is a brilliant introspective novel filled with humor, compassion and wisdom.

The cover art was done to reflect one of the paintings (Unified Field Theory) that is part of her show as described in the book . This illustration is by Jamie Bennet. The figure on the book cover is the Virgin of Lost Things. She holds an over sized cat's eye marble at her heart level. The title for this painting actually came to me before I actually did the photo study for the painting, here again it's a play with words.

Margaret Atwood is regarded both by the public and critics as one of Canada's literary treasures. She has been awarded the Man Booker prize for her novel The Blind Assassin, the Giller prize for Alias Grace and the Governor General Award for Handmaid's Tale. Cat's Eye was a finalist for both the Governor General and the Man Booker prize. Mrs. Atwood lives in Toronto.
-private collection


  1. This painting is a wonderful and unique representation of the arts, Alvin! Thank you for including the write up about the book, its author, and the explanation about the illustrator and illustration on the makes your painting even more meaningful. I love the "cleanness" of this painting - the beauty and clarity of the marbles, the bright colors in the cast shadows on the book's jacket. Once again you have accomplished a true work of art. Congratulations.

  2. Very Impressive Alvin! You're an inspiration to me!

  3. Alvin: you are now the third blog artist I have been viewing this evening that often paint on a 6"x6" format! I started out with McChristian, then Dragonette, and now you. I do a lot of plein air work in acrylic, so small is great to capture the fleeting light. I have just never gotten smaller than 10"x12", and I most always complete my work in the studio. I want to complete outdoors! I think smaller may be the way to go. Can I ask what your 6 inchers sell for?

  4. These marbles really bring back memories for me. I think I had about a million of them around the house at one point, when I was a kid. They're beautifully rendered, and I love the incorporation of the book, it gives it so much more interest and meaning on top of being well-executed.

  5. Thank you Joanne, Jean & Ambera, I am touched by your comments.
    Hi David, the price for one of my 6x6" is currently $260 (Can) from the galleries.

  6. I've been looking for a book to take on holidays and thanks to your review Cat's Eye is now on my list. An intriguing painting.