Posts Tagged ‘cats’


11×14 inches

water soluble mixed media on suede

( wc pencils, water soluble ink and water soluble wax pastels)

And as yet unnamed

I have been working on this piece at night at home on the couch in front of the tv. I wasn’t sure how that would work, as it’s not something I’ve really done. But been working the gallery during the day plus I had some new lighting installed in my framing room which I helped with. (and by “helped with” I mean handing him things so he didn’t have to crawl up and down the ladder. Because as you all know I’m technically skilled like that.)

I do have an in between photo so I may do a start to finish even though there’d only be 3. That’s what happens when I work from home.

I plan to add some more highlights and shadows and just sort of study it and see what else I want to do. I’ll probably live with it for awhile and I do plan to begin something new tomorrow. What exactly it’ll be will be a surprise to both you and me.

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I posted the very first WIP on my facebook page as my Sunday Sneak Peek (since I tend to start new works on Sunday the name seemed appropriate) which was quite literally nothing more than the eyeballs. Now 2 days and maybe 5 hours later this is what I’ve got.

I forgot how long it takes to do true realism. Thank goodness it’s a small piece of only 11×14 inches.

As for the flamingo piece, I do plan to finish it, but new inspirations keep popping up and like a loose dog with a squirrel fetish I just keep chasing whatever flashes past my line of site. This is not something I have ever done. I have always been someone to make up silly rules like “Finish this painting before starting another.”

Where do I come up with that stuff?

Any Guesses?

So I’m not letting on what exactly it is but as I posted on my FB page here’s three hints.

1. It’s feline
2. It’s not domestic
3. I have painted this species before.

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So here she is framed and ready to be shipped out to her new home where she can “hang” out with some of my other African critter artworks.

This watercolor pencil on 100% cotton rag mueseum grade suede board measures 18 1/4 x 21 1/4.


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In lieu of real art … you get this.

Umm …. sorry.

So my dear sweet Budda is just about the sweetest little cat (though Robert’s Ari may disagree) ever. He is so loving, snuggly, and oozing purring adorableness and would be in total kitten heaven if I just carried him around in a sling or baby carrier all day long.

During the daylight hours he is this cherubic little sweetie, who will break into a runbley purr if I just so much as look at him.

But lately I’ve been working until 10pm or so. There has been s a noticeable change that comes over my little Boodie Boo just about the time the sun sets.

He starts puffing up and spronking about like a Halloween cat. Leaping up and smacking the back of my head or popping out from behind objects flashing his “jazz hands” trying (and usually succeeding) at scaring the bejeebers out of me.

Now I’ve only had 2 indoor cats in my life so I think back to whether Oliver ever had mood shifts between day and night.

And … Uh … Nope. He pretty much had the same attitude no matter what the time of day.

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So I’m going to try to have another regular feature (err… perhaps semi-regular) I say try because so often it’s too hard to stick with it over time. Although as the name implies this should be relatively easy as I plan to simply include weird or stuff that amuses me, but with the added benefit that I didn’t actually have to create it.

So I’m breaking ya’ll in easy with a cute cat cartoon video (Yeah I know right? It took me over 2 years to incorporate YouTube on my blog. I’m such a trend-setter.) Mostly they will have to do with art or critters and sometimes it will just be something off the wall.

Simon’s Cat is one of Budda’s and my favorite videos to watch. Enjoy.

And here’s another

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Barn Kitties Big Adventure

And yes I meant kitties not kitty’s because … well it has happened to more than one cat.

A Normal Day Just Like Any Other
I arrive at the gallery somewhere around 11am and stop in the printing room to confer with my husband about what’s going on today.

(Yeah, I know 11am makes me sound lazy, but seriously it’s the middle of winter, the gallery has zero business and so I just can’t see the point of rushing up there, especially when Mike gets there at like 7am.)

(So yeah okay, he gets there at 7am because he’s a morning person and well … quite frankly I’m not. I’m way more loving with a couple of hours of quiet time and a 2 liter bottle of Diet Coke.)

(Umm … to clarify, I don’t actually drink the entire 2 liters in the morning. It just gives me comfort to hold it.)

(Okay, so yeah occasionally I do drink the entire 2 liters in one morning but only on the days that I really need the extra emotional support.)

(Stop judging me.)

So I’m chatting away and I hear a distant meow. I glance down and see Budda eyeballing me and his lips totally did not move when I heard it again. So unless Budda has turned himself into some kind of awesome genius ventriloquist cat we had another cat in the gallery.

Mike’s like “Uh, I think we have a cat in the garage.”

On further inquiry after Mike arrived he had heard some meowing but thought perhaps it was Budda (because Budda is a seriously vocal cat. He has Siamese ancestors I just know it.) But then it quit. Upon my arrival however the cat recognized my voice as the belonging to “The one who brings all good things” and started to meow.

Turns out it was one of our more wild kitties. Most of my barn cats I can pet if not pick up. A couple however are truly wild. And our gallery garages are huge and filled will all sorts of hidy holes, not to mention a basement.

Just Call Me The Cat Whisperer

Mike had noticed that the cat seemed to like sitting on the straw bales which we use for lining the large link-fence dog run. Our old girl Cisco is kept in the kennel when we leave for winter events. Our garages are heated so it’s a comfortable stay if not a happy one. Anyway the cat was drawn to them. I imagine they smelled of Cisco and the straw reminded him of home, which was comforting in this very strange and foreign place.

So Mike puts two bales in the dog kennel in hopes of luring our little vagrant into a giant cat trap. This worked like a charm. Within minutes the cat was napping in the dog run.

So I casually walk in. speaking softly. The kitty was one of those that leaned to the feral side and thus hadn’t been named. I had only recently been able to put my hand on it briefly. I wasn’t sure if this was going to work at all. The cat hops off the bales and skulks deeper into the run. So I step into the run and close the gate. The kennel is 6 foot tall but I know a cat can scale this if frightened enough. Plus a 20 foot dog run is still a lot of space to wrangle a cat in.

So I speak in my soft voice trying to lull the cat into stop trying to push itself through the 2″ hole of the chain link. This actually worked. After about 5 minutes it stopped. Another minute or two it came within a few feet of me and sat down. When it would look away or close it’s eyes I would try to step closer, but deep straw bedding does not allow for stealthy movement.

So giving up on this tactic I opted for the distraction method. I rubbed my thumb over my fore and index fingers making a swirling motion that’s proven to be like some sort of cat hypnotism. The cat’s eyes glazed over completely transfixed on my fingers. I move slowly closer all the while doing the finger rub thing until I finally reach out and touch him by the neck.

He flattens himself to the floor in a moment of panic and then realizing the sheer and utter joy of my touch rears up and pushes against my hand wanting more petting. I scuffed his neck a bit getting him good and relaxed and then picked him by it (relieved he didn’t yowl, twist or try to scratch or bite) and plunked him in Budda’s cat carrier to be returned to the farm.

Barn Kitty’s Wild Ride

So with my successful cat capture (I should totally try-out for a job as a wild critter wrangler on like the crocodile hunter or something) we then began to discuss exactly how a cat got from the farm to the gallery garage in the first place.

Our best guess is that he was either under the van or in the engine space. Both place make for a dead cat. And after all these many years we’ve never taken a cat into town. It’s like 4 miles. And while that doesn’t sound far, think of clinging to a vehicle hurtling down a gravel road at 50 mph and then gauge how far 4 miles is.

The other thing was on this particular day we had just had a storm so the van was also pushing through drifts. The great thing about all-wheel drive is it plows throw snow taller than the vehicle’s bumper. Again probably kinda harrowing for the cat though. It’s amazing it made it.

Several Days Later
It’s about 10 am so I’m still at home (I said stop judging me!) and I get a call from Mike.

Mike “Uh … I think we have another cat in the gallery.”

Me …. …. …. (that’s the sound of me beating my head against a wall.)

UPDATE: We now park the van in the garage at the farm and will hopefully avoid this happening again. I know you’d think we’d do that anyway but so often a cat goes into the garage, but then refuses to come back out. So that brings it’s own set of problems. But so far … no more barn cats have had another big adventure.

UPDATED, Update: The second cat was Tortilena and she is quite tame. Well for me. With Mike she darted off and hid. But when I called she ran out all purring and stretching and so was a very easy catch. Whew!

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I Think Our National Symbol Is A Cat Killer.

Yup, a couple of my favorite kitties have gone missing. Now this does happen from time to time but these particular ones stuck very close to the house and barn. It’s usually the cats that wander the fields and the creeks that get picked off by the coyotes and whatnots.

I suspect it’s old baldie because a few days back I’m walking by the dining room window and I’m like “What the heck is that!” Something that looked the size of a sheep was on top of our barn. I took a closer look and sure enough it turned a bit and I could clearly see it was a bald eagle, scanning the horizon looking all noble and national symbol-y.

I’m like “Wow that is so cool!”

“He looks so beautiful with the sun glinting off his white head.”

“He looks just the way a national symbol should look.”

He looks … He looks like he’s eying the cats!!! … What the?!”

I promptly dash outside to give it a better look myself. Mind you I should have at least grabbed a stick. I have no idea what I was thinking I was gonna do about the situation.

Upon seeing me he took flight and left though. I’m like “Huh … weird” and the frankly promptly forgot about it. Then the cats started disappearing. And I began seeing baldie more and more.

The other morning he was circling overhead on a farm not more than half a mile as the crow (err … make that eagle) flies from our farm. Circling like a buzzard he was.

Hmm. Coincidence?

I think not.

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As a long time gallery cat, Budda has generously agreed to answers your art and/or cat related questions around the first of every month. Or whenever he feels like it. Budda also now has his own lens on Squidoo containing all the cat related questions from this column.

Oh wise and wonderful Budda,
I was wondering if you could explain why my cat Kitty Kisses likes to wake my up by batting at my face every morning hours before sunrise? As long as she has food and water during the night, she ignores me completely after this wake up call.

Thank you,
Rude awakening in Rochester.

Dear Rude Awakening,
The short answer is . . . because it’s funny.

No but seriously, the real reason she does this is . . . umm . . . No . . . You know I’m gonna have to stick with . . . because it’s funny.

Oh great oracle of catnipness…
When my cat scooter (my buddy for over 12 years) licks my arm his tongue is like sandpaper. When he wakes me up by licking my nose his tongue is very soft. Apparently you guys can control your tongue’s roughness? How does that work?

Scooter’s human Nate

Dear Scooter’s Pet, err . . . I meant Scooter’s human,
We cats have several different kinds of licks. I personally have 37 variations. The great Morpheous was said to have 93 subtle variations on licks. But I won’t trouble you with all of that information. Both of your licks fall into the “I Love You” category (as opposed to the “Let Me Taste This” or “Eeeuw somethings on my fur! Get it off! Get it off!”) Within each of these categories are many subcategories.

So the first type of lick we’re talking about here is a “grooming” lick which is something we only do to someone we love. Namely ourselves, but occasionally our humans as well. And the second is “Wake Up And Give Me Something” lick. Also clearly done with love since it’s gentle. Scooter clearly adores you since he licks instead of . . . well slaps you. As for myself and apparently other cats like Kitty Kisses, slapping is a way more enjoyable way to wake people up.

As to the technical aspect we cats have barbed tongues, which I’m sure you already know. By varying the pressure we can adjust the raspy-ness of our licks.

And Now A Few Words From Budda As To Why Spaying Or Neutering IS Important.

My predecessor Oliver the gallery cat, hated children. If someone under 4 foot entered the gallery he hid until they left. I myself don’t mind them too much but have also been forced to flee when things got a little too “touchy feely.”

Some humans have a tendency to let their young run wild. As my human is an artist she has noticed this on more than one occasion during the art fairs she partakes in. Now I’m not talking about the usual snot nosed, sticky fingered thing where parents say “don’t touch” then completely ignore the child as they run amok touching absolutely everything. No, what I speak here are worse offenses . . . by the parents. I have heard stories that would turn me prematurely gray, if I were not already gray.

So here are three to illustrate my point.

The first was just recently at an event where a neighboring artist (a potter) had a beautiful floor vase of about 3 foot tall selling for many hundreds of tins of catfood. An unchecked child with a newly purchased wood sword was whacking it thoroughly enjoying the melodic gonging noises it made. The potter got up and asked the boy nicely if he could see his sword. The child quickly yanks it behinds his back and asks why. The Potter says (also quite nicely), “So I can beat you with it.” The child dashes away presumably to find the protection of his wayward parents.

As always, those of you who are googling for enlightenment . . . this ain’t it.

Another is not so much a story as an incident, tells of when a parent drops a child in the middle of a booth and says stay here I’ll be back in 10 minutes. Umm . . . what?

And lastly my owner herself had a moment where a young boy wanted a painting for his room. Parents of course said no and left the booth, and the child behind. The pouting boy starts kicking the low hanging painting. As he appeared to have no plans on stopping Mona gets up and goes to his parents who are sitting about 15 feet from the booth facing away hoping that by ignoring their child they wouldn’t have to deal with his tantrum. She says to them (very nicely, though totally seriously) if the boy kicks the painting one more time, they will own it.

So people please understand that an art fair (you know what, let’s make that anywhere that isn’t your own home) is not a free version of daycare. If you have wild kids or . . . well, heck any kind of kids it is your responsibility to keep them in control. The people who say “it takes a village to raise a child” are usually the ones who let them run like savages.

Note: Some of these “questions” were based on search terms that brought people to my blog. And some were posed by readers of this blog. Most of the names have been changed to protect the innocent. If anyone has any questions they’d like to submit for Budda’s review, you are all welcome to do so. Just leave a comment here or contact me directly

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Is This Wrong, Or Is It Just Me?

So being a person who has a mild interest in all things marketing and image branding, and well . . . cat food, I did a double take yesterday while perusing the cat food isle in our local grocery.

I mean I literally passed by, stopped and looked back over my shoulder and then backed up. Sitting there was stacks and stacks of a brand of pet food I’d never seen before. But what actually caught my attention was the picture on the can.

It appeared to be a boy, leaning over a large bowl, lapping up milk (and since it was a cat food can, well it seems a logical conclusion perhaps there is cat food in the bowl as well.) Regardless, here’s this kid apparently eating while sadistically forcing his hungry kitten to watch. The way the boy is hunched over clearly indicates that he is not sharing.

Yeah okay, on closer inspection (much closer because the actual picture is less than 1/2″ tall and the text it teeny tiny. Photo below blown up 4x actual size) it says something about teaching his cat to drink from a water fountain. Which still makes no sense and certainly doesn’t help sell cat food.

Where was this company’s focus group? I’m pretty sure I could have come up with something better on my worst day. Seriously what cat food company marketing geniuses thought this picture (plastered on every single variety of food they sell) was a good idea?

Of course I instantly thought I’d tell you guys about it, so I bought a can.

Ah . . . wait.

(repeating aloud to self) . . . so I bought a can . . .

Touche’ cat food company marketing geniuses.


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Furry Issues

I’ve gone from Fur In The Paint, To Fur In The Paper, to Fur In The Everything.
Well the Budda is slimming down for summer. And by “slimming down” I mean dropping about 5 pounds of fur daily. It is everywhere. Rolling along the floor like some some bizarre cat induced tumbleweeds, sticking onto and into any fabric items, or floating like wispy snow flakes through the air. I often find a random hair in my mouth, up my nose or even less pleasant places. How can one little cat drop so much hair?

He is a double coated cat (as are nearly all of our barn cats) so we know this is what happens every spring. But somehow it is always a shock. The quantity is a bit mind boggling and even the vacuum cleaning is beginning to groan. It’s not like he doesn’t get brushed regularly. He does. And we even have a shedding comb that takes off enough hair to create a sweater with matching booties for an average sized Chihuahua. Despite all of these efforts there’s still more.

The Allure Of Belly Fur

We had a friend stop at the gallery and scoop up Budda for a cuddle. (Which Budda really appreciated because Mike and I had been ignoring his pleas for attention. Mike was working with the printer and I was shrinkwrapping prints. Both jobs where additional cat hair is not a plus.) I warned her about the “shedding issue” and she poo-pooed it and rubbed her face in his belly fur. (Honestly his belly fur is particular hard to resist rubbing your face in. It’s bunny soft and frankly how many cats not only let you, but “like to” have your face on their tummies?)

Well for the next 20 minutes and the rest of our conversation, she was wiping her face at phantom hairs.

Furry inventions (sort of)
Feeling badly about not giving Budda nearly as much attention and cuddles as he’s used to, Mike and I pondered a cat holding smock. Something to put on in order to cuddle the kitten and remove when done. This seemed like a pretty straight forward idea but lacked any real defense against the “floaters.”

Upon more serious discussion, we then came up with the idea of some sort of hermetically sealed box where you put your hands through the gloves to pet the cat. Thus containing all the cat hair that is set free from said petting. We dubbed it The Cat Cuddler (trumpets sound) aka The Budda Box

In the end we decided we’d continue to do as we have done, which is cuddle the cat at the end of the day. At least until his fur issue is brought under control. None-the-less we claim all rights to this idea. So I don’t want to see a bunch of cat boxes popping up in pet supply chains. You know I’ll be watching for them.

Note: I imagine The Cat Cuddler is “technically” not hermetically sealed sine it has air holes. Hmmm . . . I may have to do some rethinking on that.

The Cat CuddlerAlso Known As The Budda Box.

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