Sunday, March 31, 2013

March 31, Annakiya Monkeycat!

Ha!  Here's the last cat of March!  March Madness is DONE!  Now for APRIL INSANITY!!!!
Oh just kidding!  Everything will be calm til JUNE JACKINGJUMPUPS!!!

Anyway, here is the amazing story of this amazing cat, Annakiya Monkeycat, and the fun thing is that this painting was commissioned by a neighbor of this cat, not by her owner!  Isn't that great?!?!

"Tiny little Annakiya comes to me from the great state of Montana.  My Dad has a little ranch house on a Mountain 20 miles outside of Lewistown MT, where he lives with his dogs.  In October of 2009 an injured black and white Manx kitty showed up at his door looking for sanctuary, and he took her in.  As all stray cat adopters know well, one will lead to another...  Just a few weeks after adopting "Sweetie" she returned home followed by a very thin Calico, who my Dad promptly christened "Calico Kitty."  The 2 females did not get along with one another whatsoever, so he would keep one in the garage during the day and then switch them at night in the interest of fairness.  When he came to visit for Christmas, he brought them both and left with only Sweetie. 

At the time, I had 3 darling boys, Phineas, Thomas, and Blackie, and really once you have 3 cats, why not have 4?  There is not a big difference.  But, I could not abide having 3 dreadfully uncreative cat names to call out.  I renamed Calico Kitty, Annakiya, which means "Sweet face."  She immediately went about assuming the position of Queen of the household, swatting the boys to keep them in line.  I decided she would be an indoor kitty, which lasted about 3 months during which she made more escapes than Steve McQueen, and I gave up.

As my amazing neighbor Joyce mentions, Kiya is an extraordinarily felicitous cat, while also being quite striking looking, playful and adventurous. This combination is not lost on the citizens of our neighborhood.  She follows the dog (Ruby Dee) and I on our thrice daily walks, and will follow and keep up on walks of any duration, time of day or season.  She especially loves to zip past at a run and fly up the next tree along the boulevard, then wait there for us to catch up, lazily sharpening her claws.  She is quite arboreal, which is why we often call her Monkeycat, which has morphed into her middle name.   She has brought me dozens of new acquaintances from among my neighbors, who tell me of her visits, especially her love of their children.  One little boy told me that Kiya was his best friend, and another mother told me her son "recognizes Kiya's voice from inside the house," and goes out to pet her.  Just this morning another neighbor referred to her as the "Queen of the Neighborhood." I sometimes have to call over to Joyce's to ask if she is visiting there.  I feel very lucky to be the human companion of this special little cat."

Thank you Erin!
And stay tuned for more paintings!
PLUS I will be asking for DOGS for July, starting the end of May, so keep that in mind and let your friends know!  And you can click here for last year's dogs on this blog!  You'll just have to scroll backwards to see them all~
Thank you ALL for following!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

March 30, Hobbs, the Island Cat!

Here is Hobbs! And he is technically the 32nd cat I've painted this month! I have one more for tomorrow too! I am just terrible at staying at my limit... the first year I did this cat project, I figured I would just paint twenty, and I ended up with thirty-four. So that's how I work, people~ give me a challenge and I'll figure out how to make it harder!

I have to admit, I am really enjoying painting these eyes...
And I will be continuing to paint daily... I have a TON of photos from Ireland I need to get onto!

And here is what Hobbs' loving owner Sandee says about him~

Hobbs is a 2 year old tabby that we rescued from St Croix Virgin Islands, after he had injured his paw as a kitten and they were going to put him down. Since most island cats are outdoors they thought he would not survice without the use of his paw. I had another cat at home named Calvin (a girl) and I decided to save him as he was the perfect Hobbs, he is a beautiful, silly, clutzy cat, and I adore him, and his paw is just fine now.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Friday, March 29th, Susan!

And here is Susan!  Painted in the living room-  I keep meaning to video myself painting, as a few people have asked about it, and I keep forgetting...  I think the jet lag has me harder than I realized...  I am kinda dopey and nappish all day long...
And I had to put in some of what Susan's owner Jenn requested for this piece...

"Please reserve a day for me in your 30 cats project in March. My 16 year old kitty (Susan) had to be put to sleep at the end of December, and I need a portrait of her to go along with Hannah. 
 PS - Her eye color was amazing, like a seafoam green. I've also attached a color swatch that is pretty close. You don't need to try to create that exact color but one close to it would be really great!"

So Jenn, please let me know if this is close!
And I've added Hannah too, so you all can remember her as well! She was one of my favorite dogs from last year!
oh, and I guess I had to add one of my sheep paintings as well....

Thursday, March 28, 2013

March 28th, Helen's Birthday!

This is Helen, and I am very happy to be able to paint her here at home in my dining room studio~  I had a hard time finding good lighting to paint by while we were traveling and it was really frustrating at times...  it could be because of the black panels I love to use, because they absorb a lot of light and if they aren't lit from above it makes it difficult to see the pencil sketch.
Speaking of Painting, I will be teaching another section of lessons this spring, beginning April 17th and going to May 22 (missing May 8th!) all Wednesday nights, from 6:30 to 9pm!  I'll attach more info at the bottom of this page...
AND now, HERE is the lady of the day, Helen!
Helen is our 12-yr old Tortie, who was adopted from a co-worker's unexpected litter of seven kittens:  5 boys and 2 girls.  We rushed to the scene to pick out our kitten. My daughters ages 5 & 3 years old at the time, decided on the girl kitten because she was so shy & cuddly.  All the boys were spazzy cats & too frisky.  They named her Helen, because she was a girl and needed a girl name.  Helen is rarely seen by visitors as she is a "fraidy cat" and disappears when any new voice comes into our house.  March 28th is also her birthday!!  Happy Birthday, Helen!

And more info about Painting Lessons!


Painting What You See~  and Learning to SEE~

 At the Bottle Rocket Building in Seward,
3530 East 28th Street
Minneapolis, MN 55406
April and May, 2013
April 17, 24, May 1, 6, and 15th!
  all 5 lessons for $165!
OR All 5 for $200, materials INCLUDED!

Classes begin with demos, tips and hints followed by enforced painting time.  The first two classes focus on how to set up a still life with objects at hand, and the second two look at using photos as reference, including photos on digital media like cameras, iphones and laptops.   We will study composition, using a viewfinder, preparatory sketching, mixing color and basic color theory.  

As an artist and a pet portraitist, Kat has been painting for over twenty years, with a serious concentration on dogs and cats since 2008 when she began work on her "AutobiDOGraphy" series, a continually growing collection of paintings based on her childhood canine companions.
Kat studied painting at the College of St Benedict and St Kate’s, and has spent a week every spring in Grand Marais at the Art Colony painting with Elizabeth Erickson of the Women’s Art Institute.  In August of 2011, Kat made the treck to the Peninsula School of Arts to study with Carol Marine, a renowned Daily Painting artist and teacher, and uses some of Carol’s ideas and techniques in her classes.
Her work has been collected around the globe and she has won awards and honors in a number of exhibitions and continues to show around the Twin Cities area.  She also greatly enjoys painting commissioned work, as it provides the exterior enforcement of deadlines and a working relationship with a client that stimulates her latent control freak.

For more information, please call 612-720-6675 or email, or check my website at or my blog at

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Wednesday, March 27th, SAMMY!

And here is Sammy, Oscar's sibling!  I am including their story again here, in case you missed it the other day!
Hmm... he looks a lot fluffier now...

Oscar and Sammy have been an inseparable odd couple since the day I first adopted them at the Humane Society of Central Oregon.  Sammy, the boisterous and lovable trouble maker. Oscar, the reserved, proper and ever-patient yang to Sammy’s yin.
 After seven years, four moves and about twenty pounds, they are as lovable now as they were on that first day.  Sammy will typically announce his hunger early in the morning by pouncing on the bed and meowing until someone moves to feed him.  At the food dish, I’ll find Oscar patiently waiting to greet me, and present himself for a good morning pet. 
 Sammy, or King Sampson as I sometimes call him, demands to be treated like royalty.  Oscar can be a bit down to earth and is completely content with a good belly rub and a paper grocery bag. 
I don’t know what I’d do without these two furballs. They are each as lovable as they are different. They bring me endless joy and entertainment and in their own unique way, show me nothing but love and appreciation."

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Tuesday, March 26, PANDORA!

Aha!  And here is Pandora!  I love these mysterious, fluffy cats, with their sneaky kind of veiled glances and poofty lofty downy fur....
Plus I love Diane's stories about her cats!!!

 "Pandora came running down our driveway one day when we were out on the front porch, meowing for us to pick her up.  She was a little tiny starved kitten, jumping with fleas.  So we took her in and having no experience with integrating one cat with another, we just put her in with Mr. Buster (see March 13).  Well, Mr. Buster is 25 pounds plus and when poor little Pandora clapped eyes on the monster cat, she promptly peed her pants : - )  But all was well because Mr. Buster loves other cats.  So Pandora took over the house and now she rules the roost.  She didn't like the name Pandora, so my husband started calling her PD, which stands for "Pandora's Destruction" because she was a real handful as a kitten.  Now she is a proper prima donna and it's always her way or the highway.  Pandora has the MOST beautiful eyes you will ever see! "

And I thought I would include a few photos of my painting set-up this morning in Abbeyfeale, Ireland, at the Park Lodge B&B where we stayed...  I use my stay-wet pallette and I've kept it flat under the passengers seat in the rental car, and I carried whole tubes of my colors along... not sure how to find smaller tubes, and I may figure out a way to carry less of my glaze along...  but this works quite well!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Monday! March 25th, Morticia!!!

Okay, I have to admit I LOVE the look in Tish's eyes!!!!! It is such a kitten look... wide eyed and INTENSELY interested!!!
I also have to admit I am having a GAS trying to figure out when to paint while wandering around Ireland!  There's always that small matter of family dynamics, you know....  wahoo and ACK!!!!
So I've included a couple pieces I've done in between cats!
And here is Morticia! And her story!

"We adopted Morticia to be Pandora's playmate (see Luna story, March 1) and she was a little bottle-fed baby whose mommy cat was killed when Tish was teeny tiny.  Morticia is a real cutie - looks like she will grow to be kind of a bruiser.  We always forget that she's a girl because she is kind of romp um and stomp um.  Now she has a happy life playing and sleeping and grooming with her close buddy Luna. "

Thanks Diane!
And a couple more!

Wine at Ballsbridge Hotel, Dublin

Sheep dog waiting for us to toss his ball at the Cliffs of Moher

Sunday, March 24, 2013

March 24, Oscar!

Dang-  tricky work getting any painting done out here!  I'm trying to post some photos to my FB page as well- but here is the Oscar for the day, and here is what his dear owner has to say about him and his sibling kitty Sammy who will be coming up in a day or two as well~

Oscar and Sammy have been an inseparable odd couple since the day I first adopted them at the Humane Society of Central Oregon.  Sammy, the boisterous and lovable trouble maker. Oscar, the reserved, proper and ever-patient yang to Sammy’s yin.
 After seven years, four moves and about twenty pounds, they are as lovable now as they were on that first day.  Sammy will typically announce his hunger early in the morning by pouncing on the bed and meowing until someone moves to feed him.  At the food dish, I’ll find Oscar patiently waiting to greet me, and present himself for a good morning pet. 
 Sammy, or King Sampson as I sometimes call him, demands to be treated like royalty.  Oscar can be a bit down to earth and is completely content with a good belly rub and a paper grocery bag. 
 I don’t know what I’d do without these two furballs. They are each as lovable as they are different. They bring me endless joy and entertainment and in their own unique way, show me nothing but love and appreciation.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

March 23, Jack, another ship cat!

Jack is smiling up at the sun, the sails up behind him...
Maybe someday I'll get to meet him!  My friend Jim lives out in Orcas Island, WA, and these are his crazy little familiars who travel with him on boat and in the air, I think...  I seem to remember a crazy video with a cat in an airplane...
Having traveled with cats across the country, I wouldn't think most of them would be the best traveling companions...
Ach and isn't it a bit rainy here, in the West Isles? hmmm~!
I'll have to post a facebook album!

Friday, March 22, 2013

March 22, Captain...

Another friend's cat- tomorrow's too~  these are ship cats, living on a boat on Orcas Island near Seattle~ can you tell?  that's some kind of pulley thingie with ropes for the rigging and all...
I'm in Ireland with my parents!  Its my dad's birthday and we're staying in a castle outside of Gallway... wahoo!
yes, sorry, yay for travel!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

March 21, MOnty!

And this is Monty, Ms Smithers' son!
I love the light and darks of this one~  sometimes a painting just feels good to paint!
And here is Gillian's story, hopeful but a tad sad...

I think Monty is today - so here's his story. 
...So Monty stayed with us! It gave us a lot of amusement when we took him and his mum to the vets, as they would call us into the room by shouting "Smithers and Monty Burns" - always made me laugh!
He grew and grew and grew so that he was pretty much 2.5 times the size of Smithers by the age of 1. 
He was a typical boy cat - clumsy, playful and adorable - and Smithers put up with his taunts day after day.
Until one day, when he just didn't come home from his usual rabbit hunt. No one in the neighbourhood had seen him. It was like he'd just vanished into thin air.
I like to imagine he's living with a kindly old lady somewhere keeping her company!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

March 20, Princess Tabitha Fluffball

SO, I am posting from the Chicago airport, waiting for our flight to Dublin, and this is our cat for today!  I had to paint her quick this morning, and we'll see how the cats for this week go...  SO all cats for this week are under my caveat of "travel means things may change" and I give myself permission to catch up when I get back!
Call that Artistic License...
And this is Mina's childhood kitty, painted from a beautiful copy of a black and white photo-  Kitty sitting on the back of the couch...
We'll see what she thinks-  and her story is below!

We CALLED her Kitty, but her name was actually Princess Tabitha Fluffball. She had a regal bearing and was older than me by 8 years, and had much more authority than I did in the household. She lived to be 16 people years. She was in a fight at age 1 and the pupil of her eye was ripped so that she appeared to have clear eye on one side. She nearly died after the fight, and hid in the basement for a week until my dad decided it was time to have her put down. The next morning, she walked upstairs, looking for breakfast and her eye was healed. She was a longhaired tortoiseshell who originally was from a litter at the Wahl farm in Lake Elmo (family friends) and had a litter-mate named Ms. Puss. I also remember the day I discovered her eating my brother's iguana - tail first. The iguana just blinked a few times as it was consumed. Terrifying!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

March 19, MS Smithers!

Ha!  And here she is, direct from England, sitting in the sunshine as any proper feline should...  maybe Gil will send me more of a story that I can include here!
Gillian sent THIS! 

I was always going to have a cat called Smithers, because my surname is Burns and said cat would be my 'assistant' and love me dearly - just like in the Simpsons! My friend Thom's sister's cat was expecting so I reserved my kitten with excitement! I didn't mind if Smithers was a boy or a girl - and that is why she's a girl with a boyish name, but what the hey!! When the litter was a week old sadly their mum passed away and so Thom hand reared three tiny kittens and became their surrogate mum!
Smithers and her brother and sister, Akuma and Bella, thrived in Thoms care, and eventually she was old enough to bring to my home! She had the biggest ears (think mogwai) and tiny stumps for whiskers! (You can see she's made up for that now!!...)
When Smithers was only just a year old she had her own litter of five beautiful babies - Bruiser, Monty, Bongo & Tabla (twins) and Little Dude. We were worried that being hand reared herself as a kitten she would not know what to do with her own babies, but how wrong we were!! She was the most amazing mum and her kittens went on to new homes with new names - all except Monty who stayed with us...

Monday, March 18, 2013

March 18, Homer and Mo!

I don't often paint two cats together, because it isn't always possible to get two cats to pose nicely, but I really was drawn to this photo as soon as I saw it!  It was great fun to paint~
Here is what Karen, Homer and Mo's owner, has to say of the pair~

Our kitties' background story is not too dramatic.

We had lost our previous cat when she was hit by a car outside our home so we decided to keep our next cat indoors. I had always grown up with outdoor cats so it was hard to imagine keeping them inside but the realities of living in a city make it very clear. A friend of ours  who volunteered at a cat shelter recommended getting two male siblings so we decided to go that route. We adopted our two brother cats as kittens from Animal Ark Shelter. We were in a foster house in a little room full of romping kitties. There were two shy little gray tabby kittens sitting next to each other away from the fray in the corner. We got to know them a bit in that little room and decided on them. One of the boys was purring very loudly so Motor became his name but we just started shortening it and referred to him as Mo. His brother became Homer, not sure why. Now 13 years later they are a wonderful warmth in our home. If they are not resting on our laps, flopping to be rubbed on their tummies or sitting on my husband's shoulders when wearing his Carhartt jacket (they love to scratch it) they are either playing or nestled together sleeping. They take care of each other. They are a real sweetness in our lives.

I hope Karen doesn't mind my including the pic of the husband and carhart cat!  I thought it charming~

Sunday, March 17, 2013

St Patrick's Day! Link is the Lucky Cat!

And here is Link!  Darn, I don't seem to have a story to go with this incredible cat!  And of all the names, I'd like to know the story to this one... I'll see if I can get his owner to send me one!
Hope you are having a safe and fortunate St Patrick's day!  Always a big celebration at our house!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Saturday, March 16th, PEARL!

This one is my friend Bonita's son Tony's cat Pearl....  it was a bit of a tough photo, which I included, and I am really not sure of his actual eye color, and think I would like to go back into this and fix it a bit because I love all my other cat paintings and I want to LOVE this one, and I only just LIKE it....

Oh, and tonight is the Women's Art Institute Scholarship Fund Art Sale at St Kate's!  I'll be there from 3 to 8pm!  Come on over!  It looks like a lot of fun-  tons of art!  you walk in, and see something you like and GRAB it off the wall before someone else does!  The parking lot right off Randolph is open for parking in!
Yay!  Check the website here or the Facebook page HERE!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Friday, March 15, MOO!

Ha!  At this point, I am approximately half-way through my month of feline fecundity!  With the exception of the occasional double cat, I hope to continue as I have started!  I do need to mention, however, that I will be taking a spring break next week with my parents to the Emerald Isle (Ireland, for those of you who didn't know...) and so there may be a bit of an interruption in the quality of the work, as in I am not sure how well my paints and panels will travel, and I don't know how much time or where I will be able to work...
SO here is MOO!!!!

A sweet family cat, and if I get some info from her family I'll include a story in an edited post!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Thursday, March 14, Bubba!

I gotta admit, I am loving these names of these critters, much as I love all the different lives behind them!  I also have to admit I've been sick the last few days, napping, staying home, just went to the doc today because I woke up with my eyelids glued shut, and I always remember that being fairly dire when I was a child...  no biggie, eyedrops and Amoxicillin~ 
Here is BUBBA!!!!
And what Bubba's owner has to add about him...

Bubba used to be a street cat. A nice lady in south Minneapolis fed him in her garage at night.  His name was Garage or Chops by the neighbors that knew him and loved him.  I adopted him a year ago, renamed him Bubba cause he is such a big boy.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Wed, March 13- Mr. Buster~

And this is Mr Buster!  He lives with Luna, cat #1, whose story a number of you loved, so read on!

March 13, Mr. Buster 

Mr. Buster was living at a local mobile home park and a friend from work was feeding him, but couldn't take him in because her other cats would fight with him.  That worked out OK for Mr. Buster until they shut down the mobile home park and hauled away all the mobile homes and my friend had to bring Mr. Buster to the local shelter because she didn't want to leave him there with no food.  Well, Mr. Buster was about eight years old at that time and when they took him to the shelter and shaved his butt, neutered him, trimmed his nails and filed his teeth, he was pretty pissed off.  So when people would go to see him, he would scratch them and bite them and he kept ending up in quarantine and then the cycle would start all over.  My friend from work told me about him and pleaded with me to take him in.  I didn't have any cats and my beloved dog had just died, so I asked my husband if he wanted to take Mr. Buster in.  I told my husband that Buster was all his, because I wanted nothing to do with this huge scratching and biting cat.  So my husband being the animal lover that he is said yes and Buster came to stay.  We try not to make jokes about how he was trailer trash - ha ha  And Mr. Buster has come a long way from his cranky beginnings.  Now he is a big old fat guy and is content to lay around and enjoy the good life. 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

March 12, Baby~

Ha!  This one has the GREATEST eyes!  Wow!  I think I remember Baby, when her owners lived next to my husband before we were married, and the cats would hang out on the upper porch, basking in the sunshine...
Here's what Grace says about Baby~

I adopted Baby when she was a tiny kitten from a family friend. She was a sweet beautiful calico fluff ball. And so very feisty! In her first year she was constantly hiding and stalking us just waiting for an attack (it was all in fun). She mellowed out over the years especially when our humans babies came along almost 5 years ago. She was my devoted companion and she always knew when I need extra comfort or when I was sick. This past fall, she became very ill and lost an extreme amount of weight. We had to say good bye. I miss her terribly still. She was my Baby.

Thanks for capturing my precious kitty.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Monday, March 11- Kohlrabi!

I really had a great time with the sharp darks and lights of this piece, not to mention the glory of his fur!
This image is much more dramatic than I think he was.  I love that about cats, really-  that they can be regal and noble and elegant and goofy as all get out!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

March 10, Buzz!

I had several photos to choose from for Buzz, here, and I hope you all think this one shows his great face the best!

And here is what Annette has to add about him!

"Buzz chose us to be his owners by being the loudest and most demanding kitten in the litter.  Of the six kittens in the window that day he was the only one who paid any attention to us.  He meowed, chewed on the bars of the cage and generally made sure we took him home.  That was 11 years ago and he continues to be demanding of our attention, insistent on always being on someone's lap or always being petted or loved.   He grew up with a variety of dogs and cats, birds, rabbits and assorted rodents and has outlived most of them.  Buzz can keep Daisy the dog and Richard the cat in line with just a look; He is the godfather of our animal kingdom..."

He does has the look of a godfather type, doesn't he?

Saturday, March 9, 2013

March 9, Mikiko!

This is Mikiko, my friend Maggie's companion, who lives with her now in New York, and has quite an amazing story~ in Maggie's words~
I met Mikiko in October 1999, when I was teaching English in Japan.  Walking with a group of coworkers on a late evening in a rural town, I had just spent that evening at a Shinto shrine to enjoy a ceremony led  by one of my fellow high school teachers, who was also a high ranking Shinto priest in the local community. The ceremony was called a “full moon viewing ceremony,” a fall ritual that honors the fall harvest moon.

 As we walked from the Shinto shrine to the train station I was walking a bit ahead of the group. Walking past a tree I heard a meow and thought, “I cannot take care of a cat. I am visiting. I should not pay attention to this cat.” I kept walking. A few moments later I realized all the people I had been walking with had stopped at the tree and were looking up at the little kitten. She was hard to ignore because she was meowing loudly. I walked back to the group. After a short discussion, I put my coworker Megume on my shoulders to reach the kitten. At 5’ 10” I was almost twice the size of Megume, so putting her on my shoulders was easy. As Megume took the kitten from the tree she gave her to me. I placed her in my hat.

 I named the kitten “Mikiko” as we walked to the train station, recalling a discussion earlier in the day. I had been learning the personal names of our fellow teachers. Typically teachers were referred to through their family names, such as Yoshida-sensei or Murakami-sensei. On that day I had learned that Murakami-sensei’s personal name was Mikiko, which meant either “tree trunk girl” or “beautiful tree girl.” As we walked with our group to the train, kitten held in my hat, I decided the kitten should be named “Mikiko.” Everyone joked with me that this was my cat, but I denied the idea. I wanted to find her a good home.

 In fact, I was forbidden to have animals in my apartment and as part of my contract as an English teacher at the school. Megume and I decided that we should announce finding the kitten at the school to see if we could find someone to adopt her. The next week, Megume told the story of finding Mikiko in Japanese at our morning teacher’s meeting. I heard the 40 teachers of school laugh at each telling of the story. Megume explained how we were at the full moon viewing ceremony of our fellow teacher, how I had put Megume on my shoulders, and how we had named the kitten after our fellow teacher Mikiko Murakami. Megume told the story several times over several weeks. Each time she asked if someone would adopt the cat.

With time it became clear that no one was going to adopt Mikiko from me. It became unspoken knowledge that I had this kitten. My Japanese friends joked that Mikiko spoke English, so she must stay  with me. I love cats and had several when I was growing up. However, in my early youth I had adopted two cats while briefly living in Alaska and I had horrible memories of not being able to find them an  alternative home when I left. I don’t know what happened to those cats, but I had no choice but to put them in a “pound” when I left Alaska. That memory haunted me. I was afraid that I would not be able to take care of Mikiko.

Mikiko and I have been together for almost 14 years now. After spending two years together in Japan with few visitors we had established an intimate relationship. From Japan we flew to New York City (26 hours travel, she only meowed once). In New York we lived in a brownstone in Harlem and a loft in Brooklyn, with a few other temporary arrangements before and after. After my mother’s death, we moved to Minnesota for three years. While in Minnesota Mikiko ran free at a friend’s home near the St. Croix river and got lost, hiding for a night underneath my friend’s home. I think she had a great time at the river. I believe Mikiko enjoyed our time in Minnesota most of all the places we have lived together. While there she enjoyed many sunny days in beautiful homes with hardwood floors and views that showed her the tops of trees. She still likes to climb to high places. I still hope to give her similar experiences now that we have returned to New York.

Mikiko and I sleep together every night, as we have since the night I brought her home. Every time I turn at night, Mikiko changes where she sleeps. She always wants to spoon against my neck with her head positioned a certain way on my pillow. This makes it hard for me to sleep, but I love her for it. I sometime joke she is my “ball and chain” and my “lesbian lover.” Yet, it is my attachment to my small companion that gives me a sense of home.

My friends often remark that Mikiko is unusually attached to me. I think this is because she was almost the size of my hand when we met in 1999, so she was probably very young. She is still a small cat, weighing only 5 pounds. She is a maneki-neko, otherwise known as the “lucky cat.” Her breed is three-colored tortoise shell. You may have seen ceramic versions of her cat breed sitting in shop windows to beckon people inside. Maneki-neko are meant to bring wealth and good fortune.

Mikiko has been my companion through many moments, from my parent’s deaths to my graduation from a master’s program, to lovely gatherings with friends. Recently Mikiko has developed kidney disease. Little  by little I realize she has become a senior. I am committed to giving her the highest quality of life possible in our last few years together. It’s hard for me to imagine daily life without Mikiko, but when the time comes I will have fond memories of her. I tell her often that I have never loved a cat the way I love her. Even if another cat comes into my life in the future, I think my love for Mikiko will be unique. Like the Little Prince’s flower who tortured him because he loved her so much, Mikiko is my rose among many roses.
 I hope I am like the Little Prince’s fox for her. I am tamed because I return to the same place and she is always there.

Friday, March 8, 2013

A Cat for Sale!

I've decided to let a cat a week go up for sale-  this one is available on my Daily Paintworks Site for auction-  at the moment it is up for $75~  check it out and bid on it if you like it!
Quite a deal!
The join the auction, you can click HERE!

March 8, Kaki!

And here is Kaki!

Kaki (real name Cassius) is well traveled, having lived in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose and Seaside California before coming to live with us in St. Paul. When he was just a kitten my son and his wife found him alone and frightened in Los Angeles. His ear had been chewed and his eye was hurt from whatever happened to him before they found him. To this day his injured eye is smaller than the other eye.
 We inherited Kaki when he became a little too old to interact with our young granddaughter. After our son and family moved here with Kaki from CA, he seemed to feel right at home with the “older” folks, so he stayed at our house! Now he is a big part of our family and has established himself as my resident “studio” cat, sleeping in one of the chairs in my studio during the day snoring loudly while I work.
 One of the fun things about Kaki is that he has a lot of personal quirks. For example, he hates most collars we put on him but when he was given a collar made of coins, he proudly wore it until it broke. 

Thursday, March 7, 2013

March 7- Boscoe~!

I loved the photo for this one, though I did have to crop him from his comfy position!  And wow!  those stripes really threw me~  this one took quite a few tries~

And just to let you know, I don't quite consider them finished until I am done with the whole series!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

AND another great cat story!  I had allergies as a child, too and had to get rid of a kitten when I was six, and a great adult male cat I named Midnight when I was 7 (there's another whole story here about him letting me dress him in doll clothes and push him around OUTSIDE in my doll buggy!  I cried when he had to go back to the pound, and drew pictures of him in cat heaven...)~  I spent the next seven years getting allergy shots every week-

Anyway, this is Ruby, and I enjoyed getting her eyes to look reflective with the little light available, and the reflected light on her chest, pearly...

The Story of Ruby

Ruby is Harper’s cat. Harper is allergic to cats, however has never lived without at least two in the house. As a child, the asthma doctor told Harper never to be around cats, however her friend found a litter of kittens when Harper was seventeen, and she insisted the family adopt one. Harper convinced her father that Ruby must become part of the family—her mother was less persuadable. Ruby was originally named Lucy (short for Lucifer—Ruby was a very skittish kitten, and therefore quick to let loose the claws), however we changed her name to Ruby immediately upon meeting her. Ruby has been living with Harper happily for six years, with the aid of a little of allergy and asthma medicine.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

March 5, Squeaky Kitty!

I have to admit that I liked this cat's story so much, I HAD to include her!

Here she is~ and here is what her owner, Brad, says of her when I commented on her name...

 "Well, she did name herself. I always let my cats name themselves. Her predecessor was HeySweetie. I wait for them to look up at me and cock their heads when I say something. I was saying to my mom, "She's such a squeaky kitty," and she walked up to me. I said it again and she came again. So her name was Squeaky Kitty. I had a problem with her letting herself get locked into rooms and then not making any noise. We practiced a little chant - "I say, 'Squeaky Kitty', you say 'Meow!' I say 'Squeaky Kitty', you say, 'Meow!' Squeaky Kitty, Meow! Squeaky Kitty, Meow! Squeaky Kitty, Squeaky Kitty! Meow! Meow! Meow!" It worked. I'd start the chant and she'd respond with her part. She never got locked in again. I never had to tell her anything. I'd just think at her and she'd do it. She was a very smart cat."

Monday, March 4, 2013

Monday, March 4~ Duffy, the World's Most Perfect Cat!

And here is Duffy!  I have to admit, I am loving the stories you all are sending with your cats-  there is a part of me that will always love the glimpse into other people's lives I am given by painting their pets. I am a bit of a voyeur...
And I know we each always love our own pets best, but there are just some remarkable stories out there!  Duffy sounds like a cat we all would have loved to meet~

From his owner, Val~
"Duffy had been a stray who showed up one cold winter's day and hung around until I was able to coax him indoors.  Every day for the 13 years he lived with us he was good- natured, genial, true to himself, and it wouldn't be a stretch to say, noble.  Everyone loved him, and he was loving in return.  He had many health problems and spent a lot of time at the vet's office, where a crowd of techs would gather whenever he came in, to give him a hug and get one in return.  Duffy was a magnificent, brave-hearted cat, and I always felt privileged to have him in my world.
He was totally unflappable and almost never got upset.  He had a strong, steady gaze that he turned o everything in his world.  All cats are wonderful but Duffy was the most wonderful cat I've ever met."

Sunday, March 3, 2013

March 3, Trissy and Crusher!!!!

Yup-  I had to do a two-fer today~  these just couldn't be separated!
From their loving owner, Lisa~

My cats, Crusher and Tricity, are brothers my husband and I adopted from the humane society.  Crusher's moniker comes from the orange pop, and we also like that his name makes him sound like a big, burly wrestler, which he is not.  Trissy's name is from 'Tricity, which is short for Electricity.  He had the cutest, most wacked-out fur as a kitten -- he looked like he stuck his paw in an outlet.  It was love at first sight.



Saturday, March 2, 2013

March 2, Java (The Bean)!

I like this one!  There is more light on the left side, coming through the curtain behind her, so that eye is quite a bit lighter than the other one...
And here is what Java's owner, Janet, has to say about her-

"Java, or the Bean, is currently going through cancer treatments.  So I'm worried about her!  She had surgery and got through that, but now they wanted to do radiation up at the U.  Decided against that, but they have her on a chemo drug now.
Sigh....She's my girl, and of course is being very sweet and extra cute these days.
She is just a dolly, and right now doing very well after her surgery.  Very cute and playful, and eating like a trouper.

I've started giving her a drug that sounds like it could be nasty - stomach upset and such, and I'm supposed to handle it with gloves.  Only given two pills so far - so the upshot is we just don't know how it will all play out.  I've had 9 great years with her; every day more is a gift."
 Loving a sick pet is so hard~
We'll keep you all updated on Java!

Friday, March 1, 2013

March 1, Luna!

Alright, here is the first cat of the month, the lovely, green-eyed Luna!

And here is what her owner says about her~  well, about Luna, and also how a cat owner tends to end up with more than one cat!

"This is what Hemingway meant when he said "One cat leads to another" ...  I originally had Pandora and Mr. Buster, and Pandora was a frisky little kitten and loved to play and Buster is old, with one foot on a banana peel and the other on the grave.  So eventually it occurred to me that Pandora might want a little friend to play with.  Well, right around the time that I began to ponder this, Pandora grew up and stopped playing like a maniac all over the house and took to laying around.  But I didn't notice this until I had already gone out and brought home Morticia from the shelter to keep her company.  Well, Pandora does NOT want company and hisses and swats at poor little Tish and has never come around to like her.  So that lead me to think that I needed to get poor little Morticia a friend because all that rejection was hard to take.  I thought that this could either be a really bad decision, like the one thinking Pandora needed a friend, or it could be good.  So anyway, we adopted little Luna from the shelter and voila!  she and Morticia are the absolute best friends ever.  As a matter of fact, I call them the two-headed cat because they nap and groom in one big pile and since they are both black, all you see are the two heads sticking up from the black body.  So the story has a happy ending aside from the fact that Pandora still hates everyone, and now she has included Mr. Buster on that list!  At least she still likes me : - )  Oh and this was supposed to be about Luna, who is the sweetest, gentlest little kitty ever.  She's a real sweetie and her tuxedo looks nice on her : - ) "