Related: Holiday Painting
The blog suffers during the holidays, especially when I am painting Christmas ornaments. These are oil on frosted glass ornaments.
This is a tradition I started thirty years ago and, while I took a break for several years, I am back at it. I believe in creating keepsakes and capturing memories. Ornaments I painted 30 years ago, when stored properly, look as new today as they did back then, so I am back to painting them.
For some reason, this is the year of the dog. Most of my ornaments have been of homes people were raised in or of their grandparent’s home. I painted one of our pets (Bailey, above) and the idea took off.
First one closest to completion this year is Marla…
With the tiniest lines, I have been known to use a hair or even my cat’s whisker (after he voluntarily dropped it!)
Various stages of completion… (I love the variety!!!)
The situation is sad, I admit that, because we had to say goodbye to one of our kitties. Yet Stitches was a nut of a cat that has been the subject of poetry and art work and we can’t help but celebrate her crazy, mixed up world.
She was not extremely old, being only 13, but she had a stack of health issues that were, to put it simply, odd. This cat was on Prozac. No joke! She had so many anxieties she could barely live with herself, so it was a wonderful thing when the vet prescribed kitty Prozac for her. It fixed a lot of problems we had struggled with for years and, while still skittish, Stitches was a more mellow cat and seemed quite happy with her life.
Hyperthyroidism (and more kitty meds!) kept her at 5 lbs, yet with all the hair she looked like a 20 lb cat. It is my opinion that 1 lb was fur, and each foot, which sported 6 toes, was 1/2 a lb each. That left 2 lbs for her body.
Stitches was like a pile of leftovers God threw together. Nothing fit, with a character to match, yet she was amazingly photogenic.
Poems have been written about her as well as stories of her antics in a monthly newsletter. Stitches has also been featured in a book of children’s poetry which I illustrated.
The cat had an unbelievable sense of bad timing, which inspired a poem about a Christmas morning trek to the emergency vet clinic. It starts out as so…
Stitches my cat
Was found with a mat
In a place on her coat where the kitty cat sat.
That’s the end of my tale,
It all ended well.
Do you want a nice kitty, I have one for sale.
So while we are saddened, we also can not help remembering and laughing over the crazy contributions she made to our lives these past 13 years. We will miss her and the stories she has inspired will be retold for years to come.
One of my hobbies is quilting, and while I have sold some of my quilts, I usually create them for friends, family, or charity. In all my quilting there has been one constant: cats love quilts! And quilters love cats.
So when I discovered my 7 month old kitten in my quilt basket, I was not surprised. I very quickly placed a towel over the quilts though… love the kitty, not so much the kitty hairs.
The quilt he is lying on is a MODA fabric design called Parisian Cats and the quilt was inspired by my Siamese, Tacey, who was all over the sewing table supervising the proceedings at the time of creation. The reverse side is finished of super soft minky material to match the seal points on her pretty face. With a thick cotton batting, it makes for a very warm and cuddly snuggle blanket!
In 2011, this quilt was also used in a homework assignment to advertise a candy. I chose Coldstone Creamery Jelly Belly jelly beans because I liked their colors and the fact that it worked with this quilt. I often used my other hobbies, my cats, my family, and my own photography when creating homework assignments.
I was talking with a friend about one of the best pets I ever had (an alley kitten from the inner city). Having grown up on a farm with a constant array of pets, that is saying a lot.
In searching out a photo to share I was reminded of a design project from a fundamentals class where I chose to use Tacey as my “object”. I am grateful for that class. It gave me a wonderful photo set of a pet who died too suddenly and way too young (12 years old).
She was a beautiful representation of design perfection – with enough design humor (as in the vanilla Hershey kiss on her face) and little artistic surprises to keep the beauty from becoming tedious.
The project was to draw the “object” in various styles. The upper left is a chalk pastel piece and one of my favorites. There is also a line drawing I like (a little Toulouse Lautrec), a comic, colored pencils, photo, sketchy, logo-esque, etc.
What was a simple classroom activity became a frame-able art piece, which will bring back fond memories for years to come.
For more design information, you can read my post in the design blog I kept during school.
They grow up so fast!
My derpy kitten – June 2012:
4 months later and still derpy (at 7 months of age — how big is he going to get?!):
Having been featured on Derpy Cats more than once, Bendi believes he has an image to maintain.
Practicing with their humans, some dogs almost walk the course as they are learning new moves, others bounce around just having fun with their owners, and others work hard so that they may please their masters.
Each animal’s personality really shows up, which is fun to watch. While these pups are not spit fires on the course like Bailey, it is easy to see that they are enjoying themselves.
Some dogs exude a particular joy when running the agility course, while others compete for the love of their owner. Bailey has been featured in previous posts, not only because of the challenge of capturing such a fast competitor, but also because she exudes a joie de vivre that is rare to witness.
Bailey’s stats are over 5 yards a second. She seems to be airborne through most of those seconds. Without the camera, the spectator has no opportunity to even grasp the beauty of her running. It is simply a blur of fur in motion.
Bailey trains at Pawsitive Partners Dog Training Center on the South side of Indianapolis, Indiana, where her owner is a pre-agility instructor. She is also a member of the Greater Lafayette Kennel Club and a rescue / member of Indiana Sheltie Rescue.