Mimi enjoys a spring sunrise from the upstairs window. I enjoy Mimi.
I enjoyed playing with the lens to achieve all the distortion of light and dark. I wanted the sense of the sun streaming into the window and washing over Mimi as if it was actually entering the house. I focused the camera’s sensor on Mimi’s darkest areas near her hip where there wasn’t even reflected light and the camera metered for a darker image, flashing out the highlights. I moved just enough into the path of the sun so it entered the lens, creating the path of translucent circles.
Unfortunately, I didn’t get Mimi’s lovely curved tail; her continuous curving shape contrasts with the angularity of the window and cabinet, but coordinates with the sunspots and the softness of the lace curtain. I love those few old casement windows I still have—they have so much character with the wavy glass, the layers of caulking and paint.
I don’t shoot on any camera’s black and white setting, though—I find the camera’s sense of values to be different from mine, literally, and find they never compare to what I shot on black and white film. I’m always disappointed in the lack of midrange tones and I find the highlights are white, but even the darkest areas aren’t truly saturated. Instead, I experimented when I still had black and white film, shooting the same images with film and with my digital, trying settings then taking the color versions to PhotoShop to work with saturation levels and came up with a little procedure that works well to match on computer and in prints pretty much what I loved about black and white film.
Unless I have linked the photo to something else, which is rare with daily photos, you can click the photo to see a larger version. I save them at 1000 pixels maximum dimension, and at that size the photos are nearly twice the dimension and you can see more detail in many of the photos I post. Please remember if you download or share, my name and the link back to the original photo should always appear with it.
The forget-me-nots are beginning to bloom as they grow taller more quickly, an inch or two each day, in the pots in the windowbox under my dining room window. Each year when I transplant them from the yard and put the pots in place I remember Sophie and this particular beautiful moment. I’ll always be happy I managed to catch it in a quick little snap on my first tiny digital camera as I left the house one evening in spring several years ago.
Sophie was in one of the windows when I left and when I returned in all seasons, and she always managed to use the curtains to dramatic advantage. This is one of my fondest memories of her, nestled in the creamy lace, and now that she is gone the forget-me-nots have a special meaning for me.
We know we’re famous. We just have to wait for the rest of the world to find out.
And we couldn’t more pleased to use our stardom to help other black cats. One of our favorite family photos is included in their latest blog post “Black Cat St. Patrick’s Day” (bet you can’t guess which one that is), and we hope that people can see how great black fur goes with green! And how sweet and silly we can be! And how, once people figure out how having one black cat is an excellent choice, having lots of black cats will make you famous! So you should run out and adopt one or two or many of all those sleek and awesome black cats who get left behind in shelters after all the other flavors are adopted.
About Black Cat Rescue
Black Cat Rescue is a no-kill cat rescue organization in Boston, MA., and here’s what they have to say about their mission of sharing black cats with the world:
Did you know that black cats are only half as likely to get adopted as cats of other colors? Our all-volunteer network of foster homes in the Greater Boston area is dedicated to saving the lives of homeless black cats and kittens by providing quality foster care while actively seeking loving, permanent adoptive homes.
About black cats
Obviously you know “we” at The Creative Cat think black cats are pretty special, especially since “I” am outnumbered not only by cats but also by black cats. I, the human in this operation, love cats of all stripes and spots and shades, but a very special black kitty changed my life for the better at an important time, and he is the reason I began rescuing cats, which led to living with cats, which led to drawing cats and writing stories about cats and you can see where that got me.
And just as obviously, you may be reading The Creative Cat because of my special black cats—I’m well aware that the big attraction is often what they’re doing each day and not what I’m doing, and that’s fine with me. But we need to spread the word that black cats really are simply wonderful felines, there is no superstition or evil involved.
And because I believe part of the reason black cats are not adopted has more to do with the fact that they are very difficult to photograph and they don’t stand out in a crowd of cats of brighter colors and enticing patterns, I do my best every day to create the most accurate and beautiful photos of them so that viewers are enchanted with these graceful house panthers and will helplessly run out and adopt one. Sorry, not Mimi nor the Fantastic Four are up for adoption, but you’ll find one you love. Visit Black Cat Rescue on Petifinder, or your local shelter or rescue.
Did you guess which photo?
“On St. Patrick’s Day, Drink Straight From the Tap”
A friend enjoyed one of my daily photos so much he wanted a print for himself!
Of course, it’s less to do with me than it is with the “Fantastic Four at Four”, perfectly lined up and having their birthday breakfast on July 26, 2011, the day they turned four years old.
I actually included the photo (below) in the post about Mimi’s “birthday”, July 29, which is the day she arrived here with the “tiny four” and which has become her nominal birthday since I have no idea when it really is. And the Fantastic Four get enough attention, Mimi deserves her own day for lots of reasons.
This was kind of staged—they don’t normally eat up there, and they don’t normally eat dry food, but just to get a shot of them all lined up I used bowls of their favorite grain-free dry that I know they all like and, heavens, forced them to eat it! Right. They were lined up as soon as the bowls came out, and if I could only have recorded the purring along with the image…
On seeing the post, a friend said he’d like a print of that photo, and I was thrilled he was interested and also had a few ideas. I play around with these photos and others myself all the time, adjusting colors, adding filters, matting and framing and even printing them on canvas and tote bags and tees and lots of other things as I plan new merchandise and experiment with products and techniques.
I’d also seen this person’s home and remembered a lovely retro scheme of 1950s bold pastels like pink and yellow and sky blue and mint green along with brushed and bright chrome (especially that totally cool chrome chandelier with the pastel ceramic cups and saucers as the light fixtures), and along with asking what size he’d like it I offered to mat and frame it. I was picturing the photo in black and white instead of color, a bright or brushed chrome frame in a particular retro style, and a white mat with a colored liner, mint green—for the Four and their favorite sink—or pink since the color was often used in the room.
I described this to him, and to my surprise he had the same sort of thing in mind. I am sometimes fortunate when a customer and I have the same idea for their custom piece, but his went pretty far into the actual details of the idea. But I knew I could move forward with the confidence that in the end he wouldn’t receive his artwork (he is not local and would not see it as I was working on it) and ask me what I was thinking when I put this together…
So that was the plan. He gave me the size for the area it would go, I planned out the size of the frame and mat and print and put it together. The frame size of the finished piece is 11.5″ x 24.5″, the image is 6.5″ x 19.5″.
When black and white photos are printed through a color printing machine, as most of us have our prints made now, you’ll see a slight color cast that varies for many reasons, from the content of your own file to the machine that prints them. It’s not always noticeable until you put it with another color, and in this case when I cut the mat and looked at the print next to the pink, it looked a less-than-attractive dull green. I filled the photo just 3% pink and readjusted the brightest highlights back to white and it worked perfectly with the mat.
I just love knowing that my cats are out there being enjoyed by other people. One of these days I hope to have an actual studio where shots like this will be even easier, especially if I use the right cat food, but for now the candid daily shots are also very much enjoyed.
And they serve their purpose for me as well as a daily creative exercise: take usable photos, choose only one, prepare it for view, give it a title and write something about it that others will enjoy—without taking all day! Much of what I do is commercial art, planned by myself and customers and I don’t get the chance to do much that’s extemporaneous, or find the need to come up with ideas, headlines text and images on the spot as I used to when working in advertising. It helps to keep my design senses sharp for everything I do during the day.
So if you see a daily photo—or sketch—that you particularly like, just ask and we’ll plan something special.
Read about more of the things I create that are inspired by my cats in the category “Marketplace”.
To see more daily photos and sketches go to “Daily Images” in the menu and choose “All Photos” or “Daily Sketches” or choose from the categories below that to see photos and sketches of black cats or tortie cats.
“Oh, ma dame la plus belle,
dal mio caro I desire for you to have
un buon compleanno,
yes, joyeaux anniversaire
to my precious gemstone
my emerald-eyed goddess,
my ebony-furred French Canadian sweetheart,
I celebrate the day of your birth,
as if it were my own!”
That is my best operatic composition of a most heartfelt “happy birthday” to my everlasting love Mademoiselle Daisy Emerald Marguerite. Yes, my ever sweet and precious amour was born on this very day, the first day of the year, and I have been celebrating her existence by singing all day! What would my life be like this year if she had not sworn her love to me through the magic of computers and our visions in the stars! You can see how beautiful she is, my, dare I say, mature love? Yes, she has lived 12 years and all this she gives to me. I am but an inexperienced young cat and had no idea how small my world was when ma belle mademoiselle opened my eyes and my heart to a whole new world I never would have known otherwise, and oh, I must sing again!
O! dolci baci, o languide carezze,
mentr’io fremente le belle forme disciogliea dai veli!
Svanì per sempre il sogno mio d’amore.
L’ora è fuggita, e muoio disperato!
E muoio disperato!
E non ho amato mai tanto la vita,
tanto la vita!
(Translation, from Puccini’s Tosca:
With sweetest kisses, tenderest caresses,
A thing of beauty, of matchless symmetry in form and feature!
My dream of love is now disspelled forever.
I lived uncaring and now I die despairing!
Alas I die despairing!
And never was life so dear to me, no never,
So dear, no never!)
Yes, ma chére, I sit by the big north window where I can see the whole sky and face the northwest where you live by the great river in the town named for kings in the great country of Canada and dream of singing right to you.
Giuseppe is singing to his French Canadian belle femme, Mlle. Daisy Emerald Marguerite, whose birthday is indeed today. Giuseppe is, of course, a castrato and sings his arias and compositions in a melodic countertenor instead of the usual rich tenor, but he can improvise in operatic Italian, adding lyrics about her emerald eyes and ebony fur.
Then has again been much sighing as the darkness has fallen and he gazes once again out the window to the northwest toward the river town of Kingston in Ontario.
A very happy birthday to Mlle. Daisy, adopted from a shelter all those years ago to live with her mom, from not just Giuseppe but our entire household of black cats and tortie girls!
Read about the continuing long-distance affair of Mlle. Daisy Emerald Marguerite and Giuseppe Verdi.
Or choose the category entitled “Mlle. Daisy Marguerite” in the menu on the right.
For the fun of Boxing Day, Giuseppe and Mama Mimi spent some time together in a box in the kitchen. So it’s a produce box and not a gift box—they aren’t concerned, especially as long as they are together. And as I photographed I noticed the warning, “Perishable – Handle With Care”. Truly!
The box was actually Mimi’s idea first as Mimi is irresistibly drawn into any container or open space and I made the mistake of putting the box down on the floor. It often seems that Giuseppe has no idea how big he is. Mimi is a patient mama, even when he sits on her.
I think Giuseppe inherited Mimi’s lovely eyes, don’t you?
“Laissez les bons temps rouler!”
Of course, he is dreaming this Christmas Eve of his French Canadian belle femme, Mlle. Daisy Emerald Marguerite and practicing his romantic arias.
Earlier today I think I recognized a portion of “Che gelida manina” in Giuseppe’s voice sung from the top of the stairs for maximum projection and just the right echo; Giuseppe is, of course, a castrato and instead of the usual rich tenor, he sings in a melodic countertenor that I think would persuade any bella donna of his charms, especially when he can improvise in operatic Italian, adding lyrics about her emerald eyes and ebony fur.
Then there was much sighing as the darkness fell and he gazed out the window to the northwest toward the river town of Kingston in Ontario.
Mlle.’s mom has written to say that there was catnip on her laptop when she returned home.
If she only knew!
Buon Natale! Joyeux Noël!
If you have no idea who Mlle. Daisy Emerald Marguerite might be or why Giuseppe is so mysterious and melodramatic where she is concerned, read about their long-distance affair in this article, and be sure to follow the links to the very beginning when Mlle., a “mature” kitty, shockingly stated she was smitten with a photo of the young Giuseppe.
Giuseppe hopped lightly onto Dominick’s shoulder, settled in and reviewed the new assignment.
Giuseppe takes his job very seriously, and he doesn’t just jump up onto anyone’s shoulder. I’ve been working with Dom since 2000 and he totally understands the need for cats to walk on papers, look deep into a human’s eyes to judge character, and approve any individual who comes into the house.
Apparently, Dom meets’ with Giuseppe’s high standards. Perhaps it’s their Italian heritage and love of opera.
Now that Dom has been approved, Giuseppe must review all the papers and approve with a nose rub or a bite in the corner. All papers were approved.
I’m really glad my customers are cat people, considering they have been forced to interact with one or more for all the years I’ve been working in my home! Here are a few other photos of my cats interacting with customers.