Giuseppe is not so big as Mimi is petite, Giuseppe with a very long body and heavily muscled and Mimi so tiny sometimes I can’t believe how small she is. She weighs a little less than half of his weight, and she is half as long and half as tall, nearly completely half of him. They cuddle together often; Giuseppe loves his Mama Mimi and she enjoys cuddling with her kids and even giving a little touch-up bath.
Here Giuseppe has his head on her arms and at one point he had his arms around her and was holding her as if he was hugging a stuffed toy.
Tell me, could you focus on your work with such distractions? By the end of the day, there was another four-cat cuddle puddle, the only one of the five who was missing was Mewsette, enjoying the bed all to herself.
Perhaps he was dreaming of Mlle. Daisy Emerald Marguerite, his love who lives by the big river in Kingston. He heard that she and her mama had moved to a new apartment, and today he sent her a card. I often notice that Giuseppe spends lots of time with his Mama Mimi when he is longing for his love.
There they are, the littles sleeping in a heap in a box, just like they do today. The event happens to be the day they had their first set of shots, and after tearing around the bathroom with the general excitement of visitors and each of them disappearing and reappearing one by one…well, they managed to get the bathroom like that several times a day. I have several photos of this because this first is a little unclear—these are on film, and the prints aren’t the best, though I have no means of scanning from the negatives at the moment.
The pattern you see in front of them all is really a window screen. The bathroom has a bifold door but I didn’t want to cut the kittens off from the rest of the house by leaving the door closed. I used two tall narrow screens from my old casement windows hinged to the doorframe and opening like shutters so that during the day the kittens could see onto the landing and interact with the rest of the house, and also be cooler since it was August and September. Mimi could easily jump the screens to get in and out so she had her breaks too.
Mr. Sunshine is hanging out of the box, here at the corner, and you can just see a light spot on his year which is his yellow paint. Giuseppe is behind him with a tiny bit of green paint visible, then Mewsette, then Jelly Bean. They are seven or eight weeks old here. In photos further down you’ll be able to see them better.
They were sleeping off their shots, so I opened the screen to see them more clearly. Lessons about photographing a bunch of black cats were just beginning as they are almost indistinguishable in the box. The little cardboard toilet paper roll and tissue box are full of toothmarks—I had forgotten how kitten chewed on everything! They had about a dozen toilet paper and paper towel rolls in there, and they and the tissue box were reduced to shreds in the time there.
This print wasn’t very well-printed, and when I lightened it it began to fall apart, but you can see their little faces in the box, Sunshine, Giuseppe, Mewsette and Jelly Bean, and you can see a bit of the white spot on his chest, and the white hairs in his ears that looked like big brushes until he grew into them.
I had always thought about one of the top two as a painting, just a silly colorful kittens’ playroom!
Reference this little heap with yesterday’s cuddle puddle on my desk.
Kelly has been stepping out into the back yard with me now and then, even asking at the door to go out. She’s never shown any interest in the 15 years she’s been with me until this spring, and I can’t help but think she associates the outdoors, and the spring forget-me-nots, with Cookie, as I do. Kelly is now the lone senior cat, and she’s very lonely without an older kitty to cuddle with and protect her; she’s a little intimidated by the gregarious black cats. Observing what she does, I think she’s looking for and communing with Cookie, again, as I do.
This is a kind of an odd angle—I had my zoom lens as I’d been photographing details of forget-me-nots and buttercups together and the cranesbill geraniums and columbines with raindrops from last night’s storms. Kelly’s a little foreshortened, but it’s a good view of her face and those brilliant green eyes; even without the reflection of lush vegetation, Kelly’s eyes are like gems. It’s hard to believe she is 18 this year because she is still active, lithe and graceful, and because she was the youngest for 11 years I still think of her as the little one.
Read Kelly’s story in five parts: A Little Bit About Kelly.
The above photo is from 2009, but I like to call it back up each year. Some things never change.
2011: Okay, okay, I admit I’ve been busy, but do you guys like to eat?! Then you’ll keep doing things like this as inspiration.
For now, enjoy somewhat over 50 pounds of black cat on one desk.
2009: They are always doing something unique, that whimsical quartet of siblings, but sometimes they have the right idea. I really was tired, my eyes were strained, I was losing focus at the end of a long day, and one by one the three boys piled up trying to get their point across (we need dinner, you need to stop working), hence the multiple nap. First Giuseppe front and center, paws draped on my keyboard, then Jelly Bean on the left and Mr. Sunshine on the right. Then Mewsette, the big sister, piled on top of all of them and began bathing them all in turn, causing things to start falling off my desk. Still, I could pile papers on top of them and keep working. When the paws and tails expanded onto my keyboard, I decided to take their advice and quit working for the day.
Below is a version from 2012, today in fact, and the only difference is that Mimi is part of the group on the far left so it isn’t quite 50 pounds of black cat, and the other three are Giuseppe, Mewsette and Mr. Sunshine, just continuing yesterday’s heat-induced laziness.
[Sshhhhh…mom is trying out Wordless Wednesday. This is hard for her. You know she always has to tell stories. You should live with her. But I am Jelly Bean enjoying the sun at the top of the steps. See you later.]
It’s when I see Mimi like this, relaxed, quietly happy by a sunny window, breeze ruffling her ears, her delicate features so lovely with the lace curtain, that I deeply sense she and I are both having a moment of appreciation for her life here, indoors, spayed, well-fed; often after one of these moments she turns and looks right at me, aware we are sharing the same sentiment, as she did some time after I took this photo when I’d simply stood admiring her.
Giuseppe’s little goldfinch buddy showed up at the window this morning! Giuseppe was looking out the basement door at the time and didn’t make it upstairs before the little guy had to be on with his day.
Of course, I don’t know if he was the same one who has appeared before, but he certainly seemed acquainted with the window, which was closed, but he stayed around looking in for several minutes. Hope he comes back!
“I have fixed the rug in exactly the way I want it.
“You can’t see me at all behind this wrinkle I have so cleverly built out of the rug.
“Also notice that I am squinting. You can’t see cats when they are squinting at you like this. Or when they have their paws over their faces. Or when they have their head in a bag or under the couch, even if their fuzzy butts are hanging out in plain view. You may think you see us, but it’s just your imagination.
“And furthermore, don’t even consider changing this rug from the way I have it set up. When I choose to leave it, I will expect to find it exactly like this when I return.”
Guess he told me.
It’s time for another vintage photo of my household. I have this photo hanging in my kitchen and though I see it every day, there are days when it fully captures my attention. I study it, and each time I see more in it. And so I did today.
It’s from the time when I first began to consider my photos “good”, perhaps to consider them “photographs” that I might display and sell as prints and framed items, instead of just “pictures”. This was, maybe, ten years ago. “Pussy Willow” was taken earlier than that but stayed on my mind. It was one of the first that made me take another look at my other photos.
What I like most is the abstraction, the light and shadow playing on the objects and the walls, both the pussy willow and the cat turning from positive objects to negative space as the sun and shadow move across them.
I would not have taken the photo without Namir, though. I do like the pussy willow on its own and always have it somewhere around the house where I can enjoy its stark figures. When he got bored with me and walked way I took a photo of just the pussy willow, and it’s nice, but not something I’d frame and hang on the wall.
I always associated Namir with pussy willow too, something about the texture of his fur, and his white oval paws reminding me of the catkins. I turned around, there he sat, that lovely warm spring sunshine washing over the scene, it was as if it was waiting for me to photograph with the old fully manual film-based Pentax K1000.
It was also taken on a day very much like today, a sunny late afternoon in late April. I have a version of it that I desaturated in PhotoShop and I like the semi-sepia look, but it doesn’t capture that original inspiration, the warm April sunshine literally pouring in the window, coating everything it touched with gold.
You may have photos like this as well, this is partly why I explained all my reasoning.
I’ll have this for sale in my Etsy shop soon, but it’s not a standard frame size so I have to be certain the molding I choose for the frame is regularly available from my supplier.
You’ll find Namir mentioned in plenty of articles on The Creative Cat, and don’t forget to look at the header image, which features him in another of his contemplative moments in the sun.
As part of the set up for a day of working in the studio, every cat in the room needs to interact with whatever it is I’ll be using. This is especially important when I watercolor—each needs to have a good long drink from my jar of rinse water before I even begin painting. Perhaps it’s that little residual cat spit in the water that gives my work a special quality.
Then all cats must walk on all surfaces and inspect all boxes and other containers. Below, Mewsette waits her turn at the water while Mr. Sunshine pauses in his drink. Mimi has finished her drink goes on to inspect my work table.
I’ve discovered it’s best if I just let them do as they please, then settle down. That’s not a bad policy in other areas of life either.