A selection from Madhuri’s huge collection of cat paintings.
Here’s what I love about painting cats: everything about them is curves, except for the straight, almost invisible lines of the whiskers going out from either side of the muzzle; and sometimes eyebrow whiskers going up, above their eyes.
These curvy lines are what come naturally to me – I’m no good at proper geometry or straight-ruled lines.
What I love about cats is that they are beautiful – they seem to be one of the basic elements of the universe: iron – hydrogen – carbon – cat. They are elegant and regal, yet can be very silly (to their own dismay – generally they take themselves very seriously, which makes them great comics).
And when they are happy, nobody can be more relaxed, more fulsome in purring expressiveness. They show us how to roll, rest, and relax.
How do I paint them? I don’t know. I don’t really know how to draw or paint. Sometimes I draw from a photo – sometimes from life – but usually just from imagination – without thinking at all. My hand makes the swoops and curls, and a beaming kitty appears.
I use everything I can find to paint with: watercolour, ink, magic marker, acrylics, nail varnish, coloured pencil, highlighter, crayon, glitter, fabric paint, poster paint. I just play. Often there is a background I have already layered with paints, and I just improvise around on top of that. Sometimes I sketch on plain white paper and then colour it in here and there.
But it’s all just for fun. Just what comes naturally.