Arty Cats

Cat Pattern

I collect cats. There are only three that already saturate the available space in my home, so I enjoy other people’s cats whenever I can. My obsession doesn’t stop there because I also amass images of cats I see in art museums and galleries. I am always on the lookout for the shadowy places an artist might have hidden a cat in a Renaissance painting, or featured a cat in a Pop Art portrait. I even wrote a brief post about Cats in Art a few years ago.

Sleeping Cat, Ruskin Spear
Sleeping Cat  Ruskin Spear was a British painter during the 1900’s. In addition to his portraits of dignitaries and such, he painted charming cats, as well.

My most populated collection of cats resides on Pinterest in Arty Cats. This is where I store and share images of cats I’ve seen that I really like. In my little online cat art gallery I’ve included master painters like Ruskin Spear and this sweet, sleeping cat, and Theophile Steinlein, who painted sassy French cats of the Moulin Rouge era.

Cats 1920 Steinlein
Cats 1910 by the grandfather of all cat painters, Theophile Alexandre Steinlein.

Some living artists whose work I admire include Midori Yamada, who creates quiet cat worlds with simple compositions . But, I also like the folk-style art of Ryan Conners of Kilkenny Cat Art in which she portrays cat friends who take off on adventures in their Volkswagens.

Cat (I drew and read the story of Uchida Hyaku閒teacher.)
Cat (I drew and read the story of Uchida Hyaku閒teacher.) by Midori Yamada
Tuxedo cat in VW Bus
Two tuxedo cats in their red and white bus! By Ryan Conners

All of this cat art  is interesting to me, not only because I love cats, but also because I make pictures of cats. I like to see what other people are doing, and how I fit into the visual conversation. What is instructive to me, at the very core, is that people make extraordinary art about everyday things, in this case, cats. It is in the portrayal of the ordinary that elevates it to art as it becomes imbued with the perspective of its creator. Whether it makes us contemplate, or relate, or smile, or even dislike, then the art is successful.

Cat Gallery by Nicole Wong
Cat Gallery by Nicole Wong at Nicole Wong Illustrations on Etsy.

As far our feline friends, it’s clear that cats inspire artists, whether as portraiture or symbol. The next time you’re in an art museum, I challenge you to do your own cat count to see how many works of art include a kitty. And, if you’re interested, you can see the varied cat portrayals I’ve saved on my Arty Cats Pinterest board. You can even start your own cat collection. If you can’t have more actual cats, then why not horde some virtual cats for your own enjoyment?

Takin’ It To The Streets

Close Up Chalk Cat

Last weekend, my husband and I schlepped the art supplies, kneeling pads, and sunscreen down to the Chalk and Chocolate in downtown Traverse City to draw on the sidewalk. We spent about 7 hours on the pavement applying chalk to our creation, talking to passersby, and noshing on chocolate treats supplied by the local bakeries and candy-makers. This is what we came up with!

Chalk drawing of cats
My entry in the Chalk and Chocolate competition during the Traverse City Film Festival last weekend.

The next day, a terrific storm came through the area. In addition to knocking out power, and furiously blowing tree branches here and there, the rain changed our drawing into this ghostly memory.

Washed away drawing
The remains of my drawing after the weekend storm.

We met many nice people, spent a day in the beautiful summer sun near the bay, and took 3rd place for our efforts!

Telling Your Story

#blank book #journal #sketchbook
Hand made journal or sketchbook. Suede, stitched cover, watercolor paper. Carol Parker Mittal

I’ve always kept a blank book around. I started my first diary when I was 10 years old. It became a habit that I would follow my whole life. My diaries have evolved into sketchbooks over the years and I can’t imagine not having a place to put my ideas, solve problems, draw pictures, or make lists. That’s why I make hand made books. My blank books are for people who need a place to pursue and store their personal expressions. Check out my new Etsy shop and see what I’ve been up to at Attack Cat Studio.

Caturday Donut

I volunteer as a docent at the Dennos Art Museum. Nearly every Tuesday, we docents assemble to learn about the exhibits, study museum practices, and to plan tours for student groups. This week, the art project committee presented examples and conducted a hands-on workshop for possible activities to use with children who come to the art museum for tours. This is my response to a prompt that asked the students to create a round object containing textures or patterns. It’s inspiration was the work of Jae Yong Kim, a ceramic artist who has an installation colorful ceramic and glass donuts on exhibit at the Dennos. I didn’t realllly follow the assignment as presented, but, well….I take every opportunity to draw a kitty when given the option!

Crayon and watercolor resist, colored pencil
Crayon and watercolor resist, colored pencil

Taking Care on Caturday

Today’s post honors those not-so-fortunate cat friends who survive by their wits, and the kind and caring humans who manage and attend to colonies of feral cats. Stay warm, my furry and non-furry friends.

"Trickle Down Theory" Oil on Paper
“Trickle Down Theory” Oil on Paper

Oh, Mr. Bowie, it’s Caturday

Mr. Bowie with your knowing stare, you generously spread cat ennui everywhere you go. Here is my fan art tribute to you, Mr. Bowie. All cats and non-cats can follow the escapades and musings of the shiny and industrious Mr. Bowie in his black and white world at Hands on Bowie, a blog about the most interesting cat in the world.

Here is Mr. Bowie contemplating the meaning of life.
Here is Mr. Bowie contemplating the meaning of life, or a sparrow.