No living creature sleeps better than a cat. Out of my cats, Mr. Sunshine seems to sink deepest into dreamland, rolling on his back and simply collapsing into whatever heap of plushy black fur his limbs go to, toes curled, mouth open, all afternoon. I often wonder what sweet dreams his feline imagination composes for his unconscious enjoyment; he is motionless, not running or nursing or doing anything in his sleep, just slowly breathing. I imagine him imagining himself sleeping in some quiet field in the sunshine with a light breeze and birds singing.
He usually does this on top of the file cabinets in front of the window where I can turn to watch him in repose, a little tingle of jealousy in my belly; but I like what I do, I enjoy spending my days in pursuit of truth and beauty and, I’ll admit, enough almighty dollars to pay the bills, I really wouldn’t want to sleep my life away. No, I wouldn’t, and I’m happy Mr. Sunshine is here, sleeping his life away on my filing cabinets instead of some less desirable alternative.
I’m pleased to present my first published work, truly a labor of love from creating the portraits within it to collecting the stories and designing, printing and publishing it.
Great Rescues is a 16-month desk calendar and gift book featuring 15 portraits of rescued cats I’ve been commissioned to paint in the 20 years I’ve been an animal portrait artist, plus the portrait of my own which I consider my first.
While the portraits are lovely and I’m proud of my body of work, the stories of these cats, and the people who rescued them, is what compels me to share them with you. Each of the stories tells of cats from shelters and cats abandoned and saved, cats found inside car engines and cats reluctantly surrendered by people who could no longer care for them, but each one has a happy ending as a cherished companion in a loving home.
And while each cat has an individual story, each rescuer has a story as well of reaching out to an animal in need to bring it in from the streets. In many cases they helped heal physical and emotional wounds and gave that cat a lifetime of love, in return receiving love and devotion; often those humans received some healing in return they weren’t aware they needed.
Great Rescues is spiral-bound and measures 8″ x 8″ to easily fit on your desk or in a purse, briefcase or backpack. It has a die-cut cover with the title stamped in gold foil and each spread features a portrait and the stories of the rescue and calendar pages including every pet day, week, and month currently celebrated listed in each month of the calendar.
Following the calendar section is a section of stories of the rescuers and their feline families today, notes on the design and rendering of each of the portraits, a mini cat-care book illustrated with my drawings and “22 Cats” decorative notepaper with a collage of all the portraits.
Visit the Great Rescues Calendar website to learn more and to purchase.
If the calendar is a gift to someone, or you have a particular cat or cats in mind, I would be glad to add an inscription in the front of your calendar.
Here are images of the other portraits in the book—perhaps you’ll recognize a kitty you know!