March of the Wildcats

Okay, what in the world was I thinking when I started this? Someone suggested that I submit an application to be one of 30 artists creating artwork from “wildcat” statues, similar to the cows in Chicago, or the boots that were done in Texas.

Each artist had to submit a proposal to the University, find sponsorship, get approved, materials. But honestly I thought it sounded RG and the Traditionlike fun.  There were some ideas on painting the cat, but when it came down to it, I wanted to paint it “en plein air”. That’s what I do!

So a plan was forming, painting my Wildcat live on campus, but what? To KSU I went to search for interesting subjects for the project. I finally decided on a place I always loved the look of and that’s the old Memorial Stadium, built of native limestone. It had a lot of history in this building, and it had good access all the way around for painting the cat.

We have the canvas, that’s the cat, now we need an easel that could make this possible. I toyed with a number of crazy ideas, a hydralic stool on wheels. kitchen cart. No, no and no. A wagon? Yes! Not just any wagon, but we found a garden wagon that would hold up to 800 pounds, had collapsible sides, and some awesome tires. I created a platform to attach the cat to on the top of the wagon, so it would not slide off, loaded it and all my painting gear in my van and headed West to Manhattan.


To keep a long story short, I took the cat on campus, carting it around in my wagon painting scenes around the old Memorial Stadium on my wildcat. I’m used to painting in populated areas, but nothing drew so much attention as painting a Wildcat on a street corner. The weather was wonderful for all of my trips to campus. The people were all very friendly, stopping to talk or get their pictures taken with the cat, or of the cat. The news media were out a couple times, I’ll see about getting the little video clip from Fox 4 news up here.

It was a great experience, though a very difficult and challenging subject matter. While I was in the process of painting “Tradition” I came across problems that I had not foreseen  and swore I would do something different if the opportunity arose again. Now looking at the finished piece, I’m pleased with the results, and I would do it again… sort of.