“Silver Ghost” – the Barn Cat

His real name is Gaston – he has that  certain ‘Je ne sais quois – non?”

Gaston is a beautiful silver/blue Maine Coon and is completely unaware of his platinum good looks.

Gaston’s focus in life is to explore and find great places to climb so he can watch the world go by and he loves roaming the big outdoors and that is what Maine Coon cats need.   Large cats need big spaces.

Totally accommodating – a true Maine Coon trait – he is also a great friend to have and also loves to sit in on human activities.   Bed making is a favourite and it is always made more interesting when Gaston jumps in under the blankets or rearranges the sheets to something more interesting – mostly a mountainous and lumpy mess which he then plonks himself on and falls asleep.

Gaston in this picture was caught in the window of an old barn – the bleached wood perfectly capturing his natural colouring and making an almost monochromatic painting.

 

“Deejay” – a life saver

Deejay – a gentle Shepherd is no longer on planet earth but she sure is in heaven.

This beautiful dog saved a child’s life some years ago when she herself was only three.   She saw her two-year old charge, Adam, wander down to the farm dam (small lake) before his family realised he was missing.   They frantically searched for him looking in all the most dangerous places as on a farm there are so many places a child can get lost and hurt.   At least 45 minutes had passed when someone noticed frantic activity in the distance in the dam and raced down to see.   Deejay had Adam’s arm in her mouth and was pulling him out of the deep water and onto land.

A mischievous toddler – and unaware of his peril, Adam was determined to do what he wanted but he couldn’t swim and she sensed that – despite his protestations she succeeded in dragging him out of the water unharmed.   No sooner was he free of her firm mouth-grip and he raced back to the water but back she went and pulled him back again.

What the family originally thought was Deejay harming Adam turned out to be a remarkable animal’s innate sense of responsibility and care for those she loved.

Adam is an adult now and knows how to swim.

Deejay – another exquisite animal who shared her life with humans –  for a brief moment she came to earth, wove her special magic and then in a twinkle of starlight she was gone.

But……..only for a while until we catch her up – then tears stop and laughter begins forever.

 

Five-minute “Molly” – study in monochrome

Molly is my youngest cat – the mischievous teenager and a ball of energy and destruction.

She is also Ed’s taunter and how he puts up with her, Lord only knows!   Ed is my big Maine Coon and easily two and a half times her size.   She’s forever ambushing him and using him as a hurdle or as target practice.   Somehow he puts up with her just fine – none of the other cats would though.

Anyway – this is a quick sketch using only white pastel on black paper capturing her in an unusually quiet pose.   She is basically grey and cream striped with a hint of apricot sprinkled in the cream.

I’m not sure whether to leave it as a study or develop further.   If I do develop it further I’ll add in a little brightly coloured toy fish under her right paw.   It will break the monochromatic theme and add a spot of vibrancy.

Big Bushy “Bear” – study in black

Bear was a loner when he came into my life.   Formerly belonging to a couple who could no longer care for him the way he needed to be looked after as he is quite a senior citizen now, when common sense decreed he needed to be re-homed, it was me who won the prize.

He is now around 20 years of age, yet remains agile and active, has a beautiful glossy black coat and a great appetite which maintains his solid weight around 7kgs – which for an old cat is just amazing.  He’s also the most vocal of all my fur babies and often sounds like a cross between a parrot and a dog when racing around the house – the weirdest thing!   It cracks everyone up when he does it – no one believes he’s the age he is.

I’ve done a number of studies of Bear because he’s so black and detail is so hard to capture – I keep looking for that magic formula.   His bright yellow eyes glowing out of his round chubby face are the only way I can tell front from back at a distance and even close up sometimes.   But in the sunlight – what first seems like an amorphous mass of black fur is in fact a rich mahogany undercoat with platinum highlights defining his proud shape with a rich depth of colour.

I will do a proper portrait of Bear one day but this was a lot of fun just playing around with sunlight and shadow and introducing Bear’s toy mouse for a bit of additional interest.

 

“Mia”

Mia’s is the granddaughter of my my friend Ngaire.   She waltzes around in her grandmother’s tiny apartment as if the world is her stage.   Beautiful skin, twinkling green eyes, rosy cheeks and a tonne of energy, Mia had me wound around her little finger and I simply had to portray her somehow.

Grandmother Ngaire has a couple of little dogs but they were not interested in being involved this time – and privately I think Mia was perfectly happy to be the center of attention and solo subject.

Girls are like that.   When they’re pretty and loved, they just want everyone to notice – so no competition please!

 

 

Golden Velvet – “Rory” in evening light.

Rory belongs to my brother-in-law Eric and the two make a very close pair.   I’m  not sure if it is Eric that takes Rory to the park for exercise or Rory takes Eric – no matter.   Together they prove that a dog’s best friend is man…..or woman…..or child.    Dogs already know they are great friends for humans.

Rory is quite a deep brown colour typical of the doberman breed but this image was captured late in the day as the evening atmosphere deepened to gold and orange and cast long shadows all around.   Dark brown Rory on a dark brown leather couch became a bit invisible so to enhance his cheeky face and lean musculature the hue was brightened to capture the details.

This is an ‘artsy’ piece purely done for the love of using basically only two colours – yellow and purple on a dark ground.   Just a splash of deep sienna for the reddish bits and white for the teeth and collar and we’re done!

“Edmund” – Maine Coon

Edmund (Ed or Eddie) the Maine Coon is really a German Shepherd in disguise.

Massive build, powerful presence and with marvellous, rich colouring, he is to the cat world what the Shepherd is to the dog world.   A magnificent, intelligent and super-aware animal and quite the king of his realm.

At 10kg he’s naturally no feather and yet his gentle nature and ability to sense when things aren’t right with me or I’m stressed is simply amazing.   A soft paw on my arm taking me completely by surprise or his big face peering into my eyes as I wake in the morning after a restless night is gentleness akin to the brush of a feather.

Big and robust in size, he’s the most patient and tolerant of all my cats and puts up with my kitten Molly giving him the hardest of times.   She can be frankly annoying as she pesters him, tussles with him, ambushes him, uses him as a high jump.    All the while he puts up with her and in so doing, leaves her in no doubt that while she thinks she’s in control, he is absolutely her hero.

He was the first of  my cats to be painted because he is also the first member to arrive of my current cat family – the others all came after he did.   Plus, he’s also the most devoted.

Edmund – the cat you have when you can’t have a dog!

Featured post

“Angel”

Angel came into my life as a cutie running around outside her parents Indian Takeaway near the office where I work.   Her parents have recently moved here from India and she has fully integrated into the local school becoming part of the youthful energy there.   She was resting in a big armchair in the cafe while her parents served customers when I seized the opportunity to talk to her.

She happily posed for me and I quickly captured a few images to work from at home.   As it was to be a gift to her parents  I didn’t want to spoil the surprise by staying too long.

Angel with her enigmatic smile is wearing her school uniform ‘fleecy’ which she is proud to wear in her new adopted country.

Her parents were overwhelmed to receive the surprise and Angel’s portrait hangs with enormous pride on the wall in their cafe.    I think they will call their cafe after her.

“Angel’s Heavenly Food” maybe?

“Jack and Harry” – darling dogs

Jack and Harry – Jack on the left and Harry on the right – are famous.   More famous than even they know.   Their portrait has made the local paper and if a quiet introspective life was what they were pitching for – their new found fame will end that.

Jack and Harry belong to Liz – a wonderful energetic lady who has recently moved into the area.   Liz is often seen walking these two for kilometers upon kilometers and then enjoying a cup of coffee and a snack at the local Flame Tree Cafe while the dogs lap up refreshing water from a bowl provided for them.   Because they are so cute and such a part of the fabric of our community now as everyone seems to  know them and their owner – this painting was a no-brainer.

I’m not sure of their breeds – but those of you who have similar will know.   I will definitely ask Liz though and update this post.

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