Our 4 cats

If you're reading this, thank you so much for checking in on my art blog, even though it's been a while since I've been able to post. It's been pretty crazy around here with finalizing the renovations on our century-old home after a very long and messy 6 months. Then, of course, the inevitable exhaustion and recovery that followed and the opportunistic cold/flu bugs that pounced soon after. But enough of that... on with the painting!

For the longest while, I have wanted to do a page spread in my sketchbook for each of our 4 indoor cats (all spayed females), partly as a memento but also as an art challenge to try and capture their likeness and unique little quirks. I initially did one for our oldest cat, Libby, who will turn 20 in the new year; she still has a lot of spunk and is actually the most energetic of our four cats. Then I did a spread for Sookey, a.k.a. Tank, the youngest of our cats (age 6-7), a stray calico we brought indoors back in 2014. She's the size of a tomcat, but has such a cuddley and affectionate 'dog-like' personality. I recently added pages for Pookey (almost 13) our seal-point siamese and Bebe (14) our other calico, to complete my "feline friend" sketch project.

I was motivated to complete this little project when, in early October, our little Pook was diagnosed with what the vet thinks is lymphoma; the vet felt a mass in her abdomen on checkup and an x-ray shows it's mostly like cancer. We are very saddened that it's not a good prognosis, but she was prescribed daily prednisolone as a palliative treatment to hopefully give her more time to enjoy her quality of life and for us to enjoy her in our life. I don't know how much longer we'll have her with us, so I wanted to capture her likeness "in life" while I have the chance. She's such a sweet little thing.

"These are their stories..."









Materials for this sketch: I used a Stillman & Birn Beta hardcover sketchbook that I started and finished last year. I already had set aside pages and put the headers at the top for each kitty beforehand. The paper in this sketchbook is pretty decent with a coldpress-like texture and even though it's cellulose/wood pulp paper and not cotton, it performs pretty well. It opens flat and the hard cover is durable. It also comes in a softcover version which isn't very durable but much lighter for travel. I used pencil to sketch first, then watercolour (DaVinci and Daniel Smith brands).

Edit to add: Thank you for your thoughts on my cat portraits. Capturing our cats' likenesses has always been difficult for me and that's perhaps why I've put them off for so long. I find my emotions tend to affect my accuracy of portrayal. I end up fiddling and overworking to "get it just right," to the point of ruination. Due to its transparency, watercolor can't really be corrected like acrylics or oils. I also struggle with painting people and it's something I want to work on. There's a photo of dear Dad as a young boy in his skates on a snowy day that I really want to paint... and paint accurately.

Comments

  1. These are very excellent, and I love reading the histories of each lovely friend. My heart sank back when I first heard about Pookey being ill. She's having such a wonderful life with you, as are her three 'siblings'. Thank you so much for sharing this. <3

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    1. Thank you! :) They didn't turn out too badly. Libby's was the most difficult and I actually had to redo her painting because I messed up on the first attempt. She has signature markings and stripes that make her so special but challenging to paint. She also has a slightly odd-shaped nose (particularly noticable in profile) and really unique eye markings... so if a line is off even a wee bit, it changes her looks completely.

      Sweet Pook is still holding her own... we're so glad. Just today she was howling (the only time we hear the siamese in her) for Whiskas All Natural Temptations treats and wouldn't shut her yap till she got some. They're her favourite! Heehee!

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  2. Lori/thefragile7393 on LJNovember 29, 2019 4:47 pm

    I remember Libby from when you posted on LJ!!! I can't believe she is still with you-so gorgeous! I also love your stories about the rest of your beauties

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    1. Aw, thanks Lori! Yes, Libby's been with me for nearly 20 years. (I adopted her the year before Rem and I met.) She's such a special spunky thing and is still going strong - runs circles around me! So nice to hear from you btw!

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  3. Oh, I love this so much! Not only your beautiful drawings (what a dear keepsake of your kitties), but their stories and personalities. I was literally smiling to myself as I read each one. Sweet little Pookey… I know how hard it is to lose a beloved pet, and hope you have much more time with her. <3 Also, are you indicating that Sookey has a bald/pink belly? My Henry does! It has puzzled me no end - he's all fluff and nonsense (as I say to him) except this little patch of pink baldness on his lower tummy. So interesting to hear your vet's remarks on that.

    Cats are wonderful - such a delight. Your mementoes to each one illustrate this perfectly. Those who don't understand or love cats sure do miss out on so much joy. (and barf... and stinky poo... ha)

    xox,
    Bee

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    1. Thanks Bee! I sure had fun writing up their little stories... little weirdos in their own way. What a bunch! They keep us amused for sure. We put up with the barf and poo for good reason, right?

      Yuppers, our Sook has a completely bald pink belly; she's constantly washing it. The vet says it's 'self soothing' but not always done out of stress - just down to habit. She had the bald belly before we brought her indoors as a stray. We initially thought it was because she may have been spayed recently, but the vet said that it was all due to overgrooming (she is spayed too though). Such a funny sight! She displays her bald gut shamelessly and seems even proud of it. A friend of ours says Sookey needs a pair of drawers. She *loves* her belly rubbed - it feels like one of those squishy rubber stress balls. LOL

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