Namir at the Window

"Namir at the Window" in progress

"Namir at the Window" in progress

I’m working on a painting in between portraits, and I have to admit it’s not exactly “new”. I began this painting in January 2008, I think, then put it aside piled things in front of it, thought about it here and there, and finally decided I’d just get back to it.

I’m just learning acrylic painting with the gift from two different people of someone’s old stores of tubes of paint, brushes, canvases and other materials, and I decided that was about as clear a sign as I could get that I should start painting. And, just as I did years ago when I began drawing, my subject is inevitably one of my cats, the subject with which I’m most familiar and comfortable and I can therefore focus on the medium. This is pretty large, 18″ x 24″, and I keep forgetting that acrylic paint dries pretty quickly and I have to be orderly about how I work this so I don’t end up with paint caked on it in areas that I didn’t get back to before they dried.

It’s Namir looking out the dining room window where my window boxes hold flowers for most of the year, beginning with bulbs in pots in March and ending with chrysanthemums that sometimes have snow on them. I decorate with greens trimmed from my spruces through the winter to shelter the pots of bulbs that will sprout again in spring.

In summer, when the years-old pink geraniums I’ve saved year after year are again blooming with whatever else I’ve added to them, the color is astonishing, and because the flowers attract bees and hummingbirds and butterflies, there is usually at least one cat at the window wishing the glass or the screen wasn’t there.

I’ve got the basis down, but I need to get the reflection in the window so it doesn’t look like a big black hole in the middle of the painting, and I think I need a little more detail on the shutter on the right so it doesn’t just look like I painted the right side of the canvas brown just because. Because the screen is in the window, the lace curtain, which is actually antique white, looks creamy or tan, and I’ll probably change that. After I get the curtain decided, I can finish up Namir so he looks less like a grey coyote, though he does have big ears and a prominent nose.

I’ll post the next proof in a few days.


Senior Mentoring…Youth Warming Program?

Guiseppe uses little Peaches as a pillow while she enjoys his big warmth.

Guiseppe uses little Peaches as a pillow while she enjoys his big warmth.

My oldest, Peaches at 19, and smallest at 5 pounds, and one of my youngest, Giuseppe at 21 months, and largest at 14 pounds and using Peaches as a pillow, curl together under the warm work light on my desk, otherwise known as a kitty keep-warm light on chilly days. Peaches is older and naturally gravitates toward warmer places, but I often find Giuseppe in the same places, and I also  see him shepherding Peaches into a ball, then curling around her and purring while she nestles into his youthful warmth.

Four boisterous kittens don’t always mix well with older cats, especially somewhat frail and slightly confused seniors such as Peaches. One youngster is a handful, but with each youngster added their destructive potential is increased exponentially.

Now that these kittens are adults they aren’t as active, but each of them is a pretty big cat. Especially Giuseppe, the biggest of the litter. He’s about 14 pounds and could probably stand to lose about one, but I can still see the outlines of his ribs and he has no little pouch hanging below his belly, so a good bit of it is dense muscle.

I was concerned about Peaches when I began to let the kittens roam the house, partly because she is small but also because she is confused and doesn’t always “get” what’s happening around her. But when the kittens tried to get her to play, running around her and getting in her way, bumping up against her, she just ignored them completely as if they weren’t there at all, much like Peaches does with anything that doesn’t interest her. They couldn’t get a rise out of her, so they left her alone.

She’s not entirely oblivious to their presence, though. I’ve awakened to see her curled in a tiny peach and gray ball right in the center of the four of them on my bed in the morning.