Crabby Cat Portrait

Crabby cat

Crabby cat

Our cat Perkins was named for a grey cat in the children’s book “The Castle of Cats”, one of my daughter’s favorite childhood books.  She was a typical tortoise-shell cat with a grey/pale orange/white coat, except for the six toes, just like Hemingway’s cats.

She looks rather innocuous  in this portrait, but I called her Crabby Cat.  We got her as a kitten when the kids were small and they grew up together.  I show her here, perched on top of the water heater in the laundry room off of the kitchen.  She liked the out of the way place it was located and I think jumped up on it from the washing machine.  I’m sure that the warmth that it gave off was quite an incentive too.  She wasn’t particularly sociable, but she did like warm feet.  The only time she consented to sit on anyone’s lap was in the dead of winter when she got cold.  You could feel the iciness of her foot pads right through your pants. Only brief patting was allowed; then she just better be able to sit there and get warm.  Picking up was not usually permitted.

It wasn’t as though she was a biter when she got annoyed.  She just preferred interactions on her own terms and she definitely let you know when time was up. She never broke any skin, but after she had enough (which never was actually very long) you got the point.  Even the dog knew not to mess with her.  She was a cat to look at more than to play with.  I have heard that this aloofness is common for calicos and tortoise shell cats and now that I have looked for it, I believe it is true.

I definitely like this piece more than the black cat ones.  That dark color was really HARD and allowed for very little subtlety.  I am not unhappy with the way the two turned out, but this one gives me a bit more confidence in selling pet portraiture. This looks like Perkins, even to me.

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Black cat brotherhood

My fingers are a bit sore today. I have spent the last several days doing morning weeding in the flower beds, The weeds and crabgrass took over the hillside when I was too busy to attend to them and I am paying the price now. I try to fill up the wheelbarrow daily and have made quite a bit of progress. Maybe I will actually meet my September 1st goal of having it presentable. Not weed free, mind you, but presentable.  We haven’t had rain in quite a while so the ground is very hard.  I have to dig up the dandelions with the trowel, but the shallow rooted grasses seem to pull up somewhat easily.  Alas, my hands can only take so much and I don’t want blisters.

Black cat brotherhood

Black cat brotherhood

I worked inside on the two cat portrait during the heat of the afternoon.  They are rescue cats who found a wonderful new home and once the first one got over the shock of having to share his good fortune, they became good friends.  The bigger one does like to take advantage of his size and sits on his “brother” when he can, but all in all, they seem to enjoy playing together.  They can be a regular thundering herd as they chase each other around the house.

I think that, all in all, I prefer to do the dog portraits, but these haven’t turned out too bad.  I think I will try one more cat portrait of just the head and see where to go from there.

Flowers and felines

A huge cone flower

A huge cone flower

My first cone flower started to bloom last week and it is in its full glory now. I originally had thoughts of picking it to put into a vase on the island countertop, but it just seemed to get bigger and bigger as the blossoming proceeded. It has turned out to be one of the largest cone flowers I have ever seen in the beds – and the shortest stemmed.  As you can see, it is at least 5″ across. Maybe I am just used to the smaller, drought sized ones from the last few years, but it just seems huge.  I have a few others coming on, but they will only top out at 4″ or so.  I decided I could not pick such a magnificent specimen and I certainly want it to go to seed.  They have been slowly spreading throughout the front beds and I love their magenta color.

The preferred world view - upside down

The preferred world view – upside down

And, I have had a little house guest for the last few days.  My “grandcat” is spending some vacation time here while his mom is traveling.  He likes to wile away the daytime hours, when she would normally be at work, sleeping under the loft sofa, but in the late afternoons, he comes down to visit with us and take possession of one of the comfy upholstered chairs. He is quite the talker when he wants to be and will carry on a conversation for some time when he is in the mood.  He yowls when he is mad over some perceived insult such as being put into his cat travel box. When let out, he walks away, loudly proclaiming his much injured status for several minutes. You’ll never have to guess what his mood is.  Fortunately, most of the time he is a happy little guy.