I painted this kitty portrait a few weeks ago now but somehow missed posting it. Although the painting isn’t too large, I think I have conveyed the largeness and personality of the cat quite well. He’s quite large – about 20 lbs! and is both cuddlesome and fearsome – at least in his own estimation lol. There were some colours in the background which I wanted to keep, but by making the shapes quite abstract they didn’t distract attention from the cat.
Tom’s poem is another kind of portrait of Yogurt.
Deep within each peaceful cat there dwells
a Beast of Olde, untamed and passing wild:
a creature dark and dangerous and fell,
not even slightly cuddle-some nor mild.
It rarely shows itself, but still, when roused
to the surface slowly it will rise
flooding up from where all anger’s dowsed,
witchery alive within its eyes.
Only thoughtful hesitation keeps
us safe from this fierce beast when it is woke
and waiting, thinking, contemplating leaps
which will leave lamps and crockery a’broke.
Beware the Beast that we have seen before:
Cry havoc and let loose the cats of war
This started as a demonstration during my October open studio. I pretty much finished it during the studio tour, but it turns out that I really do need most of my focus on a painting while I’m working on it! Lol. Anyway, after a few touch ups, it turned out OK. I even quite like some aspects of it.
Tom wrote a delightfully imaginative poem for these kitties from which I took the painting title.
What do these green eyes contemplate
beyond mere human ken?
Pupils shrink then dilate
to see from here to then…
far into worlds beyond the known
they stare at random points:
the tip of light’s unruly cone
where time is all disjoint.
For cats can look beyond this Earth
and into other realms.
They dream of forests where our worth
is measured by the elms
while other foliage stands by
to weigh its judgment in
and owls swoop past with silent cries
to greet their feline kin.
This is a bit larger piece than most I’ve been doing lately. Linen is a lovely surface to work on and so although it went through a less lovely phase, I plowed on and think I brought it together. Unlike the smaller paintings, this was not done alla prima (in one session). I worked on it for three days. This scene makes me think of small towns where cats are apt to watch the people passing by while enjoying the sun.
Once again, Tom has tapped into the spirit of the painting with his poem!
On lazy summer Sunday afternoons
when bees are bumbling through the blooming flowers
and vines are climbing up the trees festooned
with squirrels all seeking shelter from the powers
of sun and heat, it’s time for cats to prowl
along the fences, greeting with a growl
any interlopers who might stray
into the yard from houses far away
for though those squirrels are out of reach just now
they’ll keep for later when they’re on the ground
and a cat has energy new found
as the sun prepares to take a bow.
For in high summer even hunting cats
will seek a shady spot and gently nap!
It was time for another portrait of one of my puss-cats. Ming is a gorgeous tortoiseshell who knows just how beautiful she is. It was fun to make this as close to a portrait as possible – it really looks like her from markings to personality which made me very happy! …and then I played around with some subtle pattern in the background to bring out the green of her eyes.
Tom’s lovely poem also shows her personality!
This is my portrait and I deign
to sit for you in calm and poise:
a monarch glowing with disdain
for all the rough and bustling noise
that humans seem to generate
as if they cannot contemplate
a life serene, unbound by care,
they crave the trumpet’s brassy blare
which doesn’t do them any good
despite their clashing awkward clatter
they miss the quiet times that matter
in the dark and silent woods
that surround this life of time
where truth is known to me and mine.
I sat down and started doodling in watercolour a few days ago. Usually, I start with the ink drawing, but this time the inking was done last. Perhaps it’s not surprising that this mandala is mostly plant motifs after spending lots of time recently hiking and enjoying the beautiful outdoors. Even the green plums were inspired by fruit I saw ripening beside the sidewalk this week. It’s a very rich time of year! …the watchful eyes …well Tom responded to those in his delightful poem – which is where I took the title.
In this garden of delight
where peaches hang and chances might
be taken under watchful eyes
I’m feeling bold and not so wise
as to let the moment pass
and so I bend to kiss a lass
when from behind a tree there sounds
a soft “meow”, the voice rebounds
from tree to branch to leaf to stem
and where was one there now is “them”:
a panoply of watchers wild
who leave us both for now beguiled
by gazes focused, clear, intense
instilling just a bashful sense
of standing naked in the light
of creatures who have walked the night
and yet we two still turn and kiss
for moments pass, and might be missed.
This apparently grey and white cat is actually very colourful when you look closely! Maybe it’s all the flowers rubbing off. This was painted alla prima on linen inspired by an image seen in the online painting course I am taking.
Tom’s poem for this one is particularly playful and fun! 🙂
A cat acreep among the pots
searching for a little mouse
that scuttles through the grassy plot
returning to its hidden house
where on seeds it may just chew
or make a savoury lentil stew
for it may be a mouse-gourmand
who wants the best, in fact demands
tasty freshness in its food
and so it braves the creeping cat
who at some clatter glances back
and misses out! O such a mood
the kitty’s in on her return,
and too the mouse, whose stew has burned!
Pink flowers, green leaves, a tawny cat …and a lacy white tracery.
Here is Tom’s lovely poem.
Lacy network, leafy ruff
worn about my lady’s throat
made from all the finest stuff
like her veil and petticoat.
Through her veil the garden’s wild
panoply of flowers beguiled
as away her time she whiled
by the pool whose bottom’s tiled
with stones and fragments of her soul.
Deep she leans across the pond
reflecting on a memory fond,
before time took it’s mortal toll.
Somewhere children laugh behind
Bringing hope and joy to mind.
Ah the challenges of painting black fur! The key is, her fur isn’t really black. There are darker cooler areas in the shadow and warmer highlighted areas in the light – just the relative value of all of it is quite dark. To keep it fun, there is brown, purple, blue, even some red and yellow all in the “black” fur …and as result she fits right in on that plaid blanket.
As you can see from Tom’s poem we understand our cats and love them anyway. 😉
I really don’t believe you see
what matters to a cat like me
is that my every little wish
is met with acquiescence.
I am expecting you will know
just what I want. Now please do go
and bring my dinner of fine fish
for time is of the essence:
if it’s delayed I’ll miss my nap
and we cannot be having that
so serve it quickly on a dish
or face your obsolescence.
But once I’ve eaten I will sleep
and dream and give a quiet “meep”
as I chase butterflies and sheep
through fields of joy’s quintessence!
Sometimes it is hard to know where to start with these mandalas. Continuing once a beginning has been made is usually easier. This time I started with a sleeping cat in the middle thinking I wonder what will follow from that?
Apparently, lots of details, flowers and lace. Maybe it’s a kitty’s dream landscape. It’s really up to you. 😉
Thankfully, Tom has wonderful words for this world!
As the eye returns and turns again
through lazy ambulations at the edge
drawn to filigrees and flowers when
it peers through open spaces in the hedge
that bounds the hidden maze of complex paths
where lovers drift in circles round the ponds
lingering to hear each other’s laughs
watching breezes blowing through the fronds
of grasses growing from the simple centre
stretching out to kiss the summer sun
through lacy veils that let the breezes enter
in to the place where the cat has run.
Deep within the the garden she is curled
Deep asleep without care in the world.
What can I say? A playful drawing begged for playful colours! And now the tiny cats are easy to see. UPDATE: See below to really see those kitties!
As usual, Tom saw all kinds of things to inspire his whimsical poetry.
Cotton candy clouds of wine
fill so full the valley cups
to the hill’s soft plimsol line
where the downs go to meet up
with the mysteries of the night
which rise while lovers dance in flight
toward completion, whole and right,
on to dawn’s emergence bright
from behind the hollow hills
where white cats lie nestled deep
practicing their purring skills
until they’re perfect, then they sleep
amidst the sun and shade of trees
while lowing herds cross o’re the leas.