Finding my muse in a houseful of cats.
These are the cats with whom I've had the pleasure of sharing my life. It was through observing their feline grace and their individual natures that I found my muse as an artist and finally decided to get down on paper what I saw with my eyes and felt with my heart. While I render many other subjects now--wildlife, backyard birds, landscapes, people--it all began with these, and the hopeless affection I felt for each of them and all their moods and quirks and manners of affection toward me. This is the gift they gave to me, and I will be forever in their debt, spending a lifetime to pay it off by sharing them with others.
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For information on the Animal Artwork Display program, visit "Animal Artwork Display".
Find feline note cards and other items made from my artwork in the "Marketplace".
For feline photos, visit my photography area Many images are also available as cards, almost all are available as prints; see my marketplace page. In addition to cat art, I'm also concerned abut cat issues, and animal welfare in general. Please visit The Creative Cat for what's up with my feline family and links to issues, products and information of interest to cats, dogs and their people, as well as wildlife. And even in their passing they are an inspiration. I don't have a page set up for each one I've lost, but please read about Fawn, Sally, Moses and Sophie.
So let me introduce you to a few members of my family...
Click on any image to see an enlarged version.
Peaches and Peonies
MEDIUM: Pastel; SIZE: 16" x 23"; 2008, $1,500
There it is, that moment that turns on all the lights for me...one of my cats in the sun, the conditions that have inspired most of my portraits. Cats are creatures of habit, and Peaches chose this spot to have her after-dinner bath every day for a few weeks when the sun was right; I knew it was a keeper whether a photo or a painting, so I photographed it several times over a period of several days, knowing I'd use at least one photo or all the photos as reference to create one painted image. A painting this size and level of details is a significant investment of time, so I had to wait until my schedule allowed the night-after-night sessions with tiny sections of detail. I'm so happy to be able to share it with you. Full-size and half-size prints of it as well as greeting cards are available on my Marketplace.Read about the Senior Pet Adoption Donation Program through "Peaches and Peonies"
MEDIUM: Pastel; SIZE: 16" x 22"; 2005, NFS
As a background on this work, this is the guy who started it all--and nearly the last one to have his portrait done! He fostered every stray kitten and cat I ever brought into my home, and shepherded me through the ups and downs of the fifteen years he was with me. More intelligent than many people I've met, friends of mine will remember him as the cat who opened the refrigerator door, took out a container, opened it, and helped himself to the contents. I've used his image in other works, but I've finally decided that the best depiction of his personality is of him being silly, rolling around in the sun and making sure I noticed how handsome he was. I call it a "classic portrait" because I chose to work it in the greatest detail I could manage, and it's rather large, 16" x 22". Full-size and half-size prints of it as well as greeting cards are available on my Marketplace. Click on the image for a larger version.
Best of Show Winner in Butler Art Center's 2007 Cats N' That Show.
Waiting for Mom
MEDIUM: Pastel; SIZE: 19" x 23"; The subtleties, 1989, NFS
Fawn was a real live wire as a kitten--always swinging from something and talking about it--and was very attached to me; I had known her from her first moment of life, thanks to her mother, a stray, who honored me with choosing my home for the birth of her kittens. And even though, years later, we'd moved and changed the bedspread and dust ruffle, at least once a day when I went upstairs Fawn still dove under the bed and peeked out, waiting for me to walk past so that she could grab my foot. The challenge of not overdoing the cute kitten, plus the richness of the wood and the deep shadows and the multitude of reflected color in the "white" dust ruffle inspired me to render this one. Click on the image to see an enlarged version. (Read about Fawn here.) Full-size and half-size prints of it as well as greeting cards are available on my Marketplace.
MEDIUM: Watercolor; SIZE: 12" x 9"; 2007, NFS
Namir was a great model, and in the years he was with me I think he learned to intentionally strike a pose so that I'd take his photo or paint his picture. He may be posing here, but he's also engaging in a very cat thing, gazing out be back door at the sunrise, and for once my housekeeping comes in handy as the container of stuff that needed to be taken to the basement made a very nice still life accompaniment. He's also the subject of "Warm Winter Sun", below. Full-size prints of it as well as greeting cards are available on my Marketplace. Read about Namir's life in his tribute at "Not a Bad Deal on a Pre-owned Cat".
Holly on the Rocker
MEDIUM: Watercolor; SIZE: 8" x 12"; 2007, sold
I went to visit a friend and mutual "cat person", and her new kitten was such a doll, and my friend's house so beautiful that I had to paint at least one scene! Full-size prints of it as well as greeting cards are available on my Marketplace.
White Cat Reflecting
MEDIUM: Pastel; SIZE: 15" x 11"; Sally, 1998, NFS
My white cat was endlessly inspiring to me, and I would need two lifetimes to recreate all the images of her that I have photographed and saw every day. Sally was deaf and spent most of her days in her own little world in pursuit of her own happiness, which when possible included a rest, nap or long snooze in the sun. Here she alights briefly on the stool, reflecting the sunlight onto all that is around her while she reflects on the events of her day so far and just what is to be done next. Click on the image to see an enlarged version. (And here's a little more about Sally. ) Full-size prints of it as well as greeting cards are available on my Marketplace.
A Warm Bath
MEDIUM: Pastel; SIZE: 13" x 11"; One of a series, 1996, Sold
With all that lustrous white fur Sally's baths are quite a production, but each bath is like a graceful dance, especially when taken in the morning sun. I was fascinated by all of the odd colors I found in this simple scene, even though Sally, the bookcase and the wall are all white. Click on the image to see an enlarged version. Full-size prints of it as well as note cards ( the set entitled My Cats in the Sun) are available on my Marketplace.
A Rosy Glow
MEDIUM: Pastel; SIZE: 15" x 11"; Sunshine and Cat, 1997, Sold
She found a warm spot to sleep in the sun on that old pink sweater of mine, and the look of contentment on her face was my first inspiration, especially since Miss Moses (we all thought she was a boy) had been a feral kitten and to this day hesitates to walk across the center of any room but finds security in keeping close to the furniture. Next, the contrast of all the grays with the varied pink shades in the sweater and the patterns of direct and reflected sunlight all through the scene made me snap that photo and render this scene. Click on the image to see an enlarged version. Full-size prints of it as well as note cards ( the set entitled My Cats in the Sun) are available on my Marketplace. Read more about Moses on her dedication page.
After Dinner Nap
MEDIUM: Pastel; SIZE: 10" x 13"; Colors and Shadows, 1996, NFS
"The face that launched a thousand portraits," my Stanley, the feline mascot of my business, appearing on my business card and brochure cover. Bright sunshine on anything will catch my eye, especially when it's illuminating one of my cats. During the late winter, the sun shines in at just the right angle for my Stanley to take a comfortable nap right after eating and the obligatory bath. The combination of his sleepy look and the glare of the sun on his (sparkling) white chest and paws and the angle of the shadows, a daily visual treat for me, became a pleasurable subject for me to draw. Click on the image to see an enlarged version. Full-size prints of it as well as note cards ( the set entitled My Cats in the Sun) are available on my Marketplace.
The Little Sunflower
MEDIUM: Pastel; SIZE: 11" x 16"; Composition, 1997, NFS
Real sun worshippers, all of my cats wait for the sun to enter the house in the morning and take their appointed spots. The brilliance of that first light and its reflections around the room, plus the contrast of all the exaggerated straight-line shapes with the organic shape of little Cookie and her shadow inspired this one. Full-size prints of it as well as note cards ( the set entitled My Cats in the Sun) are available on my Marketplace. Click on the image to see an enlarged version.
Warm Winter Sun
MEDIUM: Oil Pastel; SIZE: 10" x 7"; Brilliant colors, 2000, $300.00 matted and framed.
Nothing is so clarifying as brilliant early morning sun, and nothing chases away the chill of a winter morning. Here, Namir was lulled to sleep by the natural warmth and comfort. While the main body of this work is lit by direct sunlight at that beautiful, long angle, the rest of the work is lit by reflected light. Full-size prints of it as well as greeting cards are available on my Marketplace. Click on the image to see an enlarged version.
Pastel Winner in South Hills Art League's 2000 Annual Juried Show.
The Perfect Camouflage
MEDIUM: Pastel; SIZE: 11" x 16"; Her Goofy Look, 1994, $500.00 matted and framed
This was something I thought all cat companions could relate to, human and feline. Sophie really thought I couldn't see her because she thought she blended right in with the flowers. She almost had me fooled until I saw one of the flowers looking back at me and I knew I had to investigate. Her ulterior motive was to eat the flowers, something I hate to clean up after. This picture was intended to be one of a pair, because in the next picture she was delicately biting a leaf. Full-size prints of it as well as greeting cards are available on my Marketplace. Click on the image to see an enlarged version.
Interior with Cat
MEDIUM: Watercolor; IMAGE SIZE: 11" x 16"; 2000, $350.00 matted and framed
Those calendulas, which had braved a pretty hard frost, opened fully when the sun shone in the windows the next day, and that was the first inspiration for this piece. I photographed the calendula, intending to paint only them, but when I looked over the photographs in preparation for painting, I noticed the cloth, the paperwhites in the pot, the light glare on the table, and of course, the cat. It developed into a much larger work than I had wanted, but it was a real challenge to create something from a different perspective than I usually have. And since I create so many other works involving my cats, I really tried hard to keep the cat out of it, but it just wasn't complete until I painted her in. Full-size prints of it as well as greeting cards are available on my Marketplace.
MEDIUM: Watercolor; SIZE: 13" x 18"; Colors and Shadows, 1993, NFS
He's wrapped around licking his hip in one of those only-cats-can-do-that positions. The composition of the picture was very inspiring, with the strict horizontal and vertical lines of the cupboard doors and the strong diagonal shadows all leading to the very organic shape of Kublai washing his hip among the shadows on the floor. The intensity of the sunlight almost makes the scene look abstract, and I found that very challenging. It was a picture I held onto until I had the time to do it--about ten years--and until I had sufficiently mastered the medium of watercolor. Full-size prints of it as well as greeting cards are available on my Marketplace. Click on the image to see an enlarged version.
A Few of My Favorite Things
MEDIUM: Watercolor; SIZE: 15" x 12"; Thought it would make a neat watercolor, 1996, $400.00 matted and framed
This picture is not one of my family, but is out of the HSUS calendar from 1996, and what more could I ask--flowers, bold colors, and a wonderful cat. I looked at the picture every day for a month, then took it home and tackled the details of the fur and simple shadows on the cat, the leaves and flowers of the nasturtium, and the rich colors of the steps and trim. Click on the image to see an enlarged version. Full-size prints of it as well as greeting cards are available on my Marketplace.
MEDIUM: Pastel; SIZE: 11" x 18"; The mood, 1989, NFS
Moses made it back upstairs after breakfast before I had a chance to make the bed, and I didn't have the heart to move her. So I got a sheet of drawing paper and my pastels and did a quick sketch of the scene, finishing it later from a photograph. It was a pleasure to work in a looser style and just to catch the mood, but not all the details. Click on the image to see an enlarged version. Full-size prints of it as well as greeting cards are available on my Marketplace.
MEDIUM: Pastel; SIZE: 6" x 6"; 2002, NFS
An old cat, a gentleman, he has found a quiet spot, upstairs in the afternoon, and has so perfectly placed himself a little off-center on the expanse of white bedspread, illuminated by stark winter light through the window. (Stanley finds all the best places.)
MEDIUM: Pastel; SIZE: 8" x 8"; 2002, NFS
Kelly pauses in the stark pastel light of a winter afternoon through the big north window in my studio, absolutely still in contemplation as she watches birds flit about at the feeders or Buddy the squirrel making a fool of himself. Kelly is petite for an adult cat, making the window seem vast, and the light is so diffuse that nothing has a hard edge. It is a scene I remember even in the heat of summer. Full-size prints of it as well as greeting cards are available on my Marketplace.
Sophie Gets a Look at Herself
MEDIUM: Oil Pastel; SIZE: 8" x 6"; 1999, NFS
Whether or not Sophie thinks she is all nose with tiny eyes and ears or that every ornament has her image on it, I don't know, but she certainly looked a little disconcerted at encountering her reflection in this way. In any case, she provided the inspiration for a bright, cheerful piece of holiday artwork! Full-size prints of it as well as greeting cards are available on my Marketplace.
Peaches' Nap Spot
MEDIUM: Pencil and Watercolor; SIZE: 14" x 11"; 2009, $250
Peaches joined myhousehold at age 15, and in the four years she's been here she's been the subject of quite a few creative endeavors. At her age, she is best at napping, and here she sleeps on the fleece cushion on a chair that gets the sun for just a few hours a day. This began as a pencil sketch, but I love Peaches' clear peach and gray spots so decided she'd look best with a little color added. The thumbnail above doesn't do the sketch justice since pencil lines tend to drop in smaller images. Click on the image to see the full picture. Full-size prints of it as well as greeting cards are available on my Marketplace.
Buster Lookin' at His Toes and Brothers
MEDIUM: Watercolor; SIZE: 8" x 6" gifts
I'll often give artwork as a gift to friends, but back in the beginning I didn't always record those images.
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