June 30, 2010

Stil Life With Bicolor Cat - Part 3

The epic saga of "Still Life with Bicolor Cat--The Watercolor" continues! This pose of artist model Buttonwillow is my reference photo, but I continue to take advantage of "artistic license" whenever I feel the need...

To see what I've done so far visit these posts:

My next step is to define the frame with goldtones. I use a wonderful hue called quinacridone yellow/gold which is a deep rich transparent amber gold color...

Here's where my "license" comes in again--I decide to keep the tabletop in the same color family because it will give a nice balance to the composition and it will be a nice contrast to the blue pitcher...

The blue pitcher is the next step. I want to be sure to "save" those little white spots of light that will make the surface look as if it's shiny. If you don't have masking fluid here is a great little trick: I indicate lightly in pencil where the "whites" are and then put a big W in each spot so I will remember not to put any paint there... The W's will be erased later...

To make my blues more interesting, I'm going to do a little underpainting in rose and quin. gold, then dampen the rest of the pitcher area, carefully going around the saved white spots and keeping them dry so that color will not bleed into them.

Then while the paper is still damp, I add different shades of blue and let them flow together, looking at my reference photo to see where the blues need to be darker or lighter...
As the blues dry but are still slightly damp, I drop in more paint wherever it needs a little more intensity or definition...Artistic license again: I decide to make the blues much deeper than the reference photo. And see how important it was to save those white spots?

Next step in the epic production: Buttonwillow! Coming soon to a Cat Lady blog near you!

June 29, 2010

Cat Lady Spotlight-- Color Coordinated

Cat Lady Carolann has discovered the secret to perfect color coordination, down to the fabulous felines in her life:

"Somehow over the years I have become known for my love of things black and white, and for wearing silver. My cars are generally black too. I live in Melbourne which is renowned for its leagues of women in black (all very stylish of course!!) and in truth it is now very easy to dress. Hot days = sleeveless loose black, cold days = long sleeved many layers of black.... I can even get dressed in the dark with ease because everything goes together!!

"I haven't always had black cats, but over the years they have become progressively more black. The first was a grey tabby whose name was Mitzi, and there was Parker who was white with tabby spots. Then there was Donald Jordan, known as DJ... DJ lived to a very good age and saw me into marriage and then supervised the upbringing of our son Simon. They were great mates and I have many pictures of them sitting looking delightedly at one-another...

"When DJ died, I took my son to the local Lost Cats home for him to choose his own kitten and he chose a black long-haired one. It was Christmas and I tried very hard to persuade him to name the cat Pudding or something similarly seasonal, but he was insistent and our new cat was named Mr Pussy [pictured above]. Since my son is now 23 (and Mr P about 15), we have lived with smirks and giggles for quite a while. Hence the cat's other names: Mr P, Fatness, Fat Cat and when we're cross with him.... Hairy Legs. He is the fattest of the two we have, and steals food with great dexterity and in absolute silence. Until you hear his teeth crunching into whatever he's stolen.

"About 10 years ago we were at the vet and I read a notice about a home wanted for a young cat brought in with many injuries but now healthy. Foolishly I asked to meet it and fell in love with a small fierce black short-haired cat who ran straight out of the cage and up onto my shoulder into my hair where he sat purring. Instantly smitten I put him back in the cage and went out to the car and dragged my son in and the same thing happened to him. He walked out of the cattery with a dazed besotted grin saying 'Mum, we have to have him' so we did. They had already named him Basil so we kept it.

"Unfortunately Mr P was furious with me when Basil [also pictured above] came home, and has not spoken to me since. Seriously. He remains Simon's cat and tolerates me feeding him, but if I pat him (as I do often) he immediately retires to a corner and grooms himself, removing all traces of my hand!! By contrast, Basil is sitting on my knee as I write this... Many are the books I have read with Basil following the pages turning."

When not teaching special education classes, Carolann enjoys blogging, card-making, and most of all, READING! Be sure to visit her blogs--one called Black Cat's Miaow where you can follow her creative endeavors; and the other which is devoted to books: Library of the Black Cat. Carolann belongs to the Order of the Opus Gluei, a fun paper-crafting design group that has a different creative challenge each week.

A big thank you to Carolann's friend Cat Lady Lisa of The Craft's Meow who made the birthday portrait of Carolann, Mr. P and Basil possible!!

Thanks for visiting!

June 27, 2010

Still Life With Bicolor Cat --Let's Get Some Paint On That Paper!

"Still Life with Bicolor Cat" has been sitting on a back burner for a week or two, but I was able to make a little more progress this week. Thanks to the input of readers a few weeks ago, this pose of artist model Buttonwillow was chosen for the composition:

You can see the preparations for the painting here:
Step 1

I use transparent, professional-grade watercolor paints and Arches 140-lb cold press paper. Using high quality materials makes a HUGE difference when painting in watercolor--you get richer colors, better blending, less "muddy" colors, etc...It's definitely worth the splurge!

To continue, I re-dampened the paper with a wash of water with just a tiny trace of New Gamboge Yellow mixed in. Gamboge (and most other yellows) are non-staining and lift off of the paper easily when blotting . So not only does this give the overall painting a warm glow, it also ensures that most colors I put on top of it will lift off much more easily if I need to "erase"--even staining colors like the Thalo family.

In the next step, I painted shadows next to the picture frame and behind Buttonwillow with a mix of blue and rose to make lavenders. I mix a lot of colors right on the paper instead of on the palette. You get livelier mixes that way as opposed to flat, uniform color...

Even though the tulips will be purple overall, I am painting the first layer with reds and yellows intermingled, which will make the purples much more interesting when I go back and paint layers on top.

Next I've mixed colors right onto the damp paper again, mixing thalo blue and new gamboge yellow in a streaky sort of way and letting them blend into interesting shades of green: I'll go back later and add contrast to define individual leaves...

That's all for this edition...Stay tuned!

June 26, 2010

A Happy Surprise Day!

Sister Debbie has the purrfect plan to surprise her brother Rick for his 5oth birthday, including giving him this portrait that features Rick and fellow feline fella Dennis with their two favorite cats. She explains:

"Rick, the guy in the green, had his birthday in May, but a surprise birthday party is being thrown for him today on June 26. Hopefully, he doesn't suspect a thing!"

About the kitties: "Callie (the brown kitty) and Zeke (the grey) are Tonkinese and 10 years old. Rick and Dennis got them as kittens. Callie is the quiet shy one, but she's a jumper and has been known to stroll on top of the kitchen cabinets and refrigerator. Hmmm, Zeke is a little hefty and might not be as agile. He is the attention-hound. He also loves peanuts! They're both very vocal! It's quite common for one of them to walk through house meowing loudly looking for some company."


CCCCL Summer Fun Membership Drive- Buy One Get One Free!

That's right. The hazy lazy crazy days of summer have arrived at last, so that means it's time for a summer membership drive for the Card-Carrying Crazy Cat Lady Club.

Haven't heard about the club? Meet Kittie B. Wilderd, spokesperson and card-carrying Crazy Cat Lady who represents loving ladies from around the world who just can't resist a whiskered face and a sweet meow. She carries her I.D. card wherever she goes to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that she is a "Class A Feline Fanatic." She is a proud member of the Card-Carrying Crazy Cat Lady Club (the CCCCLC)!

Just like Kitty, you t
oo can be a Card-Carrying Crazy Cat Lady with your very own personalized I.D card, official pinback button, Club Guidelines, and Club Creed.

AND for this weekend only, when you buy one Cat Lady Club kit, you will receive another one absolutely free for a friend. Already a member? Surprise two Cat Lady friends with their very own kits. This kit makes a great gift for your pet sitter, veterinarian, or that crazy lady down the street who has more cats than you do!

♥♥♥ And with the purchase of each kit, $1.00 will be donated to the Oregon Humane Society.!

What are you waiting for?! Just visit this special listing for complete details on the special offer:

June 24, 2010

Maddie's Garden

This is the story of Maddie as told by Tracy H., who commissioned this portrait as a Mother's Day present for her mom...She asked if the setting could be "in a beautiful garden with butterflies and birds (especially a cardinal and bluebird) because I know that's where Maddie is..."

"I was 16 and wanted a dog in the worst way. My parents weren't giving in, so I basically wore my dad down until he said yes. My sister and I went to the SPCA numerous times but nothing was clicking. One day, we got there and they had a litter of puppies. Maddie came right up to us and it was love at first sight.

"She slept in a box in my bedroom the first night we had her. She cried because she missed her litter mates so I gave her a bulldog slipper that eventually became her new best friend.

"Initially, she was supposed to be an outside dog, but it didn't take her long to worm her way into the house. First it was the basement, then it was just the kitchen, then not on the furniture, etc. She wasn't content until she launched a full-on siege and had the run of the place. She would get up on the recliner with my dad (those were the days when recliners didn't have the open spot between the seat and the footrest) and lay right between his feet. Sometimes she would play devil dog and go running up and down the hallway yipping and streaking around like she was on fire. No one could catch her until she finally flopped down from exhaustion! She was also famous for her 'flying nun' ears because she would have a way of perking them up and when she looked up at you she looked just like the flying nun.

"Last summer, Maddie started to develop serious arthritis in her back. We were able to hold things off for quite awhile but by March it became apparent that she had had enough of life on earth. So we did the only thing we could and helped her go peacefully.

"The hole she left in our hearts is unlike anything I have experienced.

"Someone once said choosing a pet is the only time you get to pick a member of your family. We certainly chose the best and I like to think she chose us too.

Thanks, Tracy, for sharing such beautiful memories of such a special friend!

June 23, 2010

A Day At The Beach

Hi! Tina Tabby here, reporting from the road. Did you know that 99 out of 100 Cat Ladies who visit the Oregon Coastline think it's one of the prettiest places they've ever seen? (The other one percent were exposed to the movie "The Birds" at far too tender of an age and have a phobia about seagulls, or so I've heard...)

Last week I had the pleasure of visiting the Oregon Coast and got to meet one of my favorite Cat Ladies who was there on vacation, Cat Lady Katy. She just happens to be the Cat Lady of Paddy the Library Cat, my fellow columnist.

You can see me here
with Cat Lady Katy enjoying a beautiful
day and the sounds of the surf. Katy has been coming to this spot for family vacations for decades and had funny stories to tell about ravens eating donuts and about the time Mount St Helens had erupted. We did a little beachcombing and found the tiniest sand dollars I've ever seen. I decided they looked more like sand nickels.

Here is what the beach looked like where we found the sand nickels:

As you can guess from the sand dollars, bigger is not always better here in Oregon. In Depoe Bay you will find the World's Smallest Harbor (pictured here) and a little farther up the coast you'll find the World's Shortest River (D River) in Lincoln City.

You'll make plenty of new friends at the coast, like this Sea Hag and her drinking buddy...

...And this little juicy morsel that lives in the rocks on some cliffs.

I had hoped to spy a whale out in the waves, but this was the only one I could find... Can you see me?

Oh oh. I hope I'm not going to get in trouble...I didn't see that sign until just now!

Thanks for coming along with me on this fun trip!

June 22, 2010

And the Winner Is....

...Cat Lady Anne S. (aka Cat Lady No. 80)!

Her name was drawn at random and she is the winner of the 365 Cat Ladies Get Ready For Summer Giveaway. Congratulations!

Her tip for Reducing, Re-using, or Recycling was a simple one that emphasizes re-using something first before recycling it, to get the most mileage out of it:

"The simplest one for me is to cut up paper that has the back still clean, into small note-sized pages that I store right next to my phone and computer for taking notes on. My friend Helen glues the top edge to make note pads from backs of old papers. It is fun and colorful to see the variety of paper
you can re-use this way!"

Anne is a popular and well-collected West Coast artist--you can see her work and learn more about her at her website: Anne Seltzer

Here is the beach tote that Anne chose from the five new designs available now available in my Cafepress shop online.

Thank you to everyone who participated with lots of easy and thoughtful earth-friendly tips!!

June 21, 2010

Welcome Summer! Giveaway Ends Tonight!

As part of the 365 Cat Ladies Get-Ready-For-Summer Giveaway, readers have been asked to share favorite way to Reduce, Re-use, or Recycle.

Everyone who shares a tip will be entered into a drawing and one name will be drawn to win their choice of one of my brand new Cat Lady beach bags!

Cat Lady Caren has a fun way to amuse her kitty: "I use empty plastic butter containers to make 'Kongs' for my cat. I cut holes at the top (carefully so they are not jagged) and I put cat treats in. Clear, plastic containers are great for this too because it drives the cat crazy seeing the treats and he has to try and get them out!"

Cat Lady Dawn shares some tips: "I reuse a lot of containers for my crochet/knitting items like pins and stitch markers. I use old socks and shirts for dusting I recycle my husbands pants into shorts or purses. My husband likes to reuse coffee grounds for the potting soil in our house plants."

Crafter Kay had lots of good tips, including these: ""I've reduced through going from store bags to fabric ones and by shopping at my local farm market, where things are not encased in plastic. Reuse is a way of life with me - I use plastic coffee can lids as paint pallets, make quick breads in (washed) tin cans, store juice and leftovers in (washed) glass jars and use all manner of reusable stuff for craft projects. (BTW, if you do ebay or etsy and need to ship fragile things, egg cartons can be fit over delicate spots for shipping, adding some additional padding and taped in place with painter's tape)."

You can read more entries at the end of this blog post: Get-Ready-For-Summer Giveaway and then be sure to add your own entry if you haven't already! Giveaway ends on the summer solstice, TONIGHT, June 21 at 8 p.m. PST. At that time, one name will be drawn at random and the winner will receive his/her choice of ONE of the Susan Faye Beach Bags pictured ($22.99 value), now available in my Cafepress Shop online.

June 19, 2010

Cat Lady Spotlight: Meet the Zoolatry Girls!

Cat Lady Ann belongs to that special breed of pet lovers afflicted with OCCPSD, known as "Obsessive-Compulsive Cat Photoshop Disorder".

One visit to her blog Zoolatry will tell you why: She's just having too much darn fun to stop!! Her absolute favorite subjects to photoshop are her Himalayan beautie
s Maggy and Zoey and her three gorgeous grandchildren.

By the way,
Zoolatry is defined as "the extreme or excessive devotion to animals, particularly domestic pets". [I wonder if there is a special word for "extreme devotion to offspring, particularly grandchildren"...oh yes-- it's "grandma"!]

You might recognize Ann's work from previous posts, as she's the one who wields the creative mouse behind those fun seasonal headers on Crazy Cat Lady Carm's blog!

Ann tells us about her Zoolatry girls: "Maggy arrived first, born November 2003, and adopted to the Zoolatry home in January 2005. She is a purebred tortie point... not a lap cat, only wants affection on her own terms... but the Siamese in her genealogy comes forth, loud and clear, when she wants something, as she is definitely a talker. She's gracious, elegant, independent... her full given name is Mary Margaret, but she's often called Mags, the Magster, Magoo or MagMag.

"Zoey arrived next at the Zoolatry home, born April 2006 and adopted in August 2006. Zoey is our resident clown, always good for a laugh, not a lap cat but always ready to be caressed, petted, or use her human as a scratching post. She's a blue point himmie and her most distinguishing feature is her little snaggle tooth. It sure suits her personality. She doesn't meow, she squeaks. She gets into enough trouble on a daily basis that it's quite possible she's already used up her 'nine lives'. It's a daily event to 'find Zoey' or play 'where's Zoey', as she'll explore every nook and cranny and often get lost on her adventures. Also called ZoZo or even the Zozster..."

For more Fun with Photoshop creations, visit Ann's second blog
Collectibles by Zoolatry

Thanks for visiting!

Keep Those Green Tips Coming! Giveaway Ends Monday

As part of the 365 Cat Ladies Get-Ready-For-Summer Giveaway, readers have been asked to share favorite way to Reduce, Re-use, or Recycle.

Everyone who shares a tip will be entered into a drawing and one name will be drawn to win their choice of one of my brand new Cat Lady beach bags!

Greatma reports that she has been recycling all of her paper and plastic containers, using recyclable bags for the grocery store and buying used items to reuse for years and years--long before it became the thing to do. [Thanks for leading the way, Greatma!!]

Cat Lady Nutamu reuses a lot of throwaways in creative projects. "Broken bits of jewelry can be reused in a new piece, even eggshells can be used to add a fractured glass texture in paintings (oil or acrylic)".

Crazy Cat Lady Carm reports: ''The 8GR8CATS go through a GR8 deal of catfood cans! We rinse them out and bring them to the Buffalo Zoo with us. They are used to make all kinds of crafts with the children who attend the various camp and craft programs at the zoo! We love the marmalade tote!"

Cat Lady Loralai
buys almost all of her clothing from thrift stores. "Even got the hubby to realize what a great way it is to reduce, reuse and recycle. I've always done that, but now its actually COOL!"

Artist SnippetGirl does her shipping the earth-friendly way: "I use recycled boxes and packing materials from Subway and my neighbors for shipping my artwork to customers. I sent out an email to all of my neighbors and they drop off boxes and peanuts on my porch."

You can read more entries at the end of this blog post: Get-Ready-For-Summer Giveaway and then be sure to add your own entry if you haven't already! Giveaway ends on the summer solstice, Monday, June 21 at 8 p.m. PST. At that time, one name will be drawn at random and the winner will receive his/her choice of ONE of the Susan Faye Beach Bags pictured ($22.99 value), now available in my Cafepress Shop online.

Thanks for participating!!

These cotton beach totes are a good way to practice the 3 Rs. By re-using them for toting and shopping, you reduce the petroleum products needed to make plastic bags and reduce the amount of plastic bag bits ending up in our soil and our oceans. You can use them to carry your bottles to the recycle center!

June 18, 2010

Something New for the Knitting Crowd

Do you love kitties AND knitties? Do you hear a purr when you purl?

Then you might enjoy the newest design from my "In Stitches" Series. It's now available on t-shirts, aprons, mugs, notecards, and totes for your summer knitting projects, like this one:

Extra roomy, this tote features side panels for extra support and an inside lining for water resistance and simple cleaning. With durable straps (and pockets on the outside and inside), it's the only bag you'll need for that fun-filled day trip.
  • 100% cotton (14 oz.) canvas
  • Dimensions: 12" x 16" x 5¾"
  • Outside pocket with Velcro® closure
  • Inside pocket with flap
  • Also available in pink or blue!
It joins these popular designs already available in my Cafepress Shop in the Domestic Goddess Collection!

Happy Summer Knitting Daze!

June 17, 2010

New Kits In Town

There is great excitement in our backyard with the appearance of a brand new family of black and white kittens.

There are the twins, Pepe and Le Pew:

And a mysterious three-headed kitten...

Oh wait, that's just the triplets, Manny, Moe and Jack...

Buttonwillow is quite excited about five new playmates and asked if we could keep them.

She is convinced that they are long lost cousins of hers, which I guess is a reasonable assumption based on a careful comparison of baby pictures below (Baby Buttonwillow and her brother are on the right-hand side, in case there's any confusion):

What do you think. Should we keep them?

June 14, 2010

Cat Ladies in the News...Birthday Girls

Happy Birthday wishes are in order today for Cat Lady Ginger, pictured here with black girl-cat Star (who mostly lives outdoors) and gingery boy Sunny (an indoor cat).

Ginger tells us: "I am a cat lady from birth... I have always been in love with their cute little faces. My current cat family includes Sunny and Star. Star came from my sister when she realized that she was allergic. Star is a great hunter.

"Sunny was born at my best friend's home. I was able to hold him starting when he was two days old. He is well-named because he brings many sunny happy days to me.

"If people would like to help a great organization they might want to look at No More Homeless Pets
in Utah."


Other birthday celebrations in the past week included Candy of the 8GR8Cats and Cat Lady Sarah.

original art by Susan Faye; graphic art fun by Cat Lady Ann Adamus

Premier Chadwickoon Lady Godiva Candy observed her 11th birthday with Crazy Cat Lady Carm on Thursday, June 10. This Maine Coon beauty celebrated with a tuna feast shared with her seven feline friends. See the birthday pics at this link: Candy's Birthday Purrty

Cat Lady Sarah was also a Birthday Girl this past week on Saturday, June 12, and enjoyed a special treat: Mocha Chunk frozen custard from Strickland's Frozen Custard in Orange County, California. Be sure to check out her latest photos of adorable raccoon babies at her blog The Raccoon Chronicles!