Three Folk Art Cats – a labor of love

My oldest daughter is a sophomore in college this year.  As is fitting, she rented an apartment with some classmates and is quite pleased to have her own room after a year of dorm life and a summer spent serving at a Bible camp.

When I visited her to help her get settled, we agreed that she needed some art to jazz up the generic apartment walls.  Since she is a crazy-cat-lady-at-heart and misses our family cats tremendously, it seemed fitting to capture their essence in paper and paint.

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Work in progress – 22×28 inches, mixed media on gallery wrapped canvas

This piece is almost finished…just a few details and it will be ready to send back with her when she comes home to visit this weekend.  I can’t wait to give it to her!  A labor of love, to be sure.

Thanks for visiting my blog.

Have a happy November,

Melanie

 

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Meet “Ruthie”, who might be Russian…?

Since my last post when I declared my obsession with painting flowers, I had the overwhelming urge to do a study of my cat, Ruthie.

Painting realism isn’t my interest or strong point, but through all my art-related reading I’ve learned that even abstract artists have a working knowledge of drawing and painting in a realistic style.

Over the last few months my husband and I have made a concerted effort to declutter and get rid of unneeded items.  In the process you can imagine how many sentimental items we have unearthed!  Henceforth came the old photo of our beloved “Ruthie”.

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A little backstory on Ruthie.  My husband and I opened a clinic out of our old living room in 2007.  (Now that’s a story for another day!)  One of my husband’s loyal clients from a previous employer brought his pets in shortly after we opened. As he was leaving, he mentioned that there was a stray cat at his place of employment, which happened to be the Russian Language Village area of the Concordia Language Villages near Bemidji, Minnesota.  He told us that he wanted to trap the cat, have it spayed or neutered, and return it to its natural environment.  (We love people like that!)

Six weeks went by and the call came in!  He had trapped the cat, but it was so wild he had no idea how we would ever be able to do the surgery.  Since this happened at 6:30 am on a Friday morning, my husband told him he could drop the cat off and we would do surgery over the weekend.  He could pick it up on Monday.

Long-story-short….I fell in love with the cat, and she with me!  She warmed to us so quickly and was so sweet that we knew she must have had human contact at some point.

I asked my husband to call the client and let him know we’d be willing to foster the cat.  Fast-forward nine years…

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My beloved Ruthie!

Her art piece in progress..

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In progress…based on the photo from above

After layers of stencils for the background and sponging to re-create a carpet effect in the foreground, Ruthie is finished!

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“Ruthie” – 8×8 inches on canvas panel

I’m planning to frame this piece and have it on display in July when my work will be featured again at our local Dunn Brothers Coffee Shop.

Thanks for taking the time to read my blog.

Many blessings,

Melanie

Meet my studio assistant, Barty Crouch

For the past few years, my husband has said that if we ever got another cat, he wanted to name it Barty Crouch.  We weren’t looking to add another pet to our household menagerie of two cats and a big black lab, but fate had a different plan.

As you may have suspected, our family has loved the Harry Potter books and movies.  I haven’t enjoyed them as much as my husband and children, but sometimes one just has to be a good sport, right?  And, we’ve always had a soft spot for orange tabby cats, as we had one for 18 years. Nate, our beloved old guy, passed away in 2011 at the age of 19.

So, this past summer a 4-week-old kitten was brought to our veterinary clinic while we were on vacation.  His left eye seemed to be non-functioning and sinking back into the socket.  Since he was from a humane society many miles away and was so tiny, the relief veterinarian told the workers they would need to bring him back when he was a bit older.  My husband would then remove his eye so he could be put up for adoption.

That’s what happened…almost!  Since we only live a block away from our clinic, it was great fun for my kids and me to go over and see the kitten while he was recovering.  We all loved him, but were apprehensive about how my other cats would react if we were to bring him home.  The humane society allowed us to take him on a trial basis, but we knew by the second day that he wasn’t going back!

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Barty when he first arrived at our house. He still had his stitches.

It has been so much fun to have a kitten again.  He loves to be with us, no matter what we’re doing.

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Barty helping me get ready in the morning.

His silly antics make us laugh everyday, and remind us to enjoy the little things in life.  He does come in my studio to “help” me, but the closest he’s gotten is stepping in a plate of gesso!  Uggh!  I had to immediately rush him to the sink to rinse it all off….no time for a picture.

He especially loves to play with his toy mice.

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We frequently find catnip mice in our shoes, and have decided that must be one of Barty’s favorite games.

Sometimes, he needs to take a break, though.

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If you fit under the sofa, it’s a great place for a nap.

Thanks for visiting my blog and letting me introduce my studio assistant, Barty Crouch.  He hasn’t yet offered to wash my brushes or fetch my tea, but I’ll let you know if that happens!

Have a great day,

Melanie

 

 

 

“It Wasn’t Me!” – Cat Inspired Art

This past summer my family adopted a kitten.  It had been a long time since we’d had a kitten in the house and I’d forgotten how much fun they are.  Although this art piece isn’t directly based on my new kitten, it is inspired by the silly things cats do and hopefully captures their essence.

This piece is the second of four “pet” pieces that I’m working on.  Since I chose pink for the background of this canvas, I thought a black and white cat would work best.

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Pink collage background

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My reference photo – a picture from the local humane society of a lovely cat who is up for adoption

After adding layers of pattern with stencils and paint, I used an enlarged photocopy of the original picture to get proportions correct and analyze which details I wanted to include.  For the eyes, I chose to make them larger and add some whimsical elements.  After placing the pupils, the title for this piece became evident…..she just had that look!

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“It Wasn’t Me!” – mixed media collage on 9x9in extra deep canvas

Thanks so much for visiting.  Have a great day!

Melanie