Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The Jacket But Not the Cat...

The Jacket But Not the Cat is a 20x16 oil done from life by Shirley Fachilla.

This is an example of an insider title (works on the same principle as an insider joke); you must know about another painting to understand it. The title refers to a wonderful portrait by Cecilia Beaux of a man in a white linen suit with an orange tabby cat in his lap. Her painting is filled with light, beautifully colored light complimented by rich dark shadows. When I saw our model at open studio dressed in his linen jacket, I immediately thought of Beaux’s painting.
Beaux was a contemporary of John Singer Sargent and in my opinion, Sargent’s equal in portraiture. (Please note I limited my comparison to portraiture. Sargent's watercolors and figurative pieces are something else again.) 
Supposedly her man with the cat was in fact, her man, a fellow who proposed to her on more than one occasion. (She did not accept.)  Looking at her painting, I think I can see that Cecilia greatly liked him but any discernible love may be directed toward the cat!  

P.S. Someone brought to my attention that the link to the available Chestnut workshops in the previous post didn’t work. I’ve corrected the link. Once upon a time, it did function and now it does again. Or you can simply click here to see all of the available day-long workshops including mine. 


  1. Perfect light hitting him....Excellent portrait, Shirley!!

  2. Very interesting post. I will look up more of her work, but the man in the linen coat is amazing! Your man in the linen coat is charming. Love how you softened the edges of the coat and the lighting is beautifully rendered!

  3. This is a lovely painting and the title is quite fun, especially after seeing the reference to it. The Beaux painting is simply beautiful. I can't help pondering if the sitter's wild mustache/muttonchops might have contributed to his failure as a suitor. He looks to be a patient and kindly man, and would be attractively trim and handsome without that feature.


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Pieces by (clockwise from left to right) : Susan Harlan, Janet Garner, Shirley Fachilla, Mike Martino and Topper Williams. So many ...