What legs! Kelly really does have long legs, especially when she does her drinking dance, solidly planting all four paws, then prancing her hind paws and waving her tail while she drinks. There’s something so precious about Kelly drinking; I think it has to do with her timid nature, yet she totally enjoys her water so I enjoy her enjoyment.
This was done in steps as we spent time in the studio upstairs, similarly to one I did of Cookie the previous December. This bowl is on my work table because Kelly has always preferred to drink from a bowl on a surface above the floor. In the heat, she marches back and forth to it through the day, and always stands in the same spot in the same position. Kelly is a creature of habit, so I can anticipate her actions and keep my sketchbook handy, drawing the outline one time, adding her black markings another, then her orange.
. . . . . . .
This is the last sketch I did of Kelly while she was still with me, ironic that I would catch one of the poses I really wanted to be sure to catch before it was too late. It’s one of those poses I’d watched Kelly take for years, her little drinking stance, leaning way down from those long legs and lapping noisily at the water; for such a fastidious and rather timid kitty, she made noises drinking and bathing that I could hear two rooms away, and they always made me laugh.
But there is always something like this that we remember about our animal companions, something that makes no sense to anyone else. You know, the odd bathing position, the awkward sleeping habit, the strange toy, all these things are what show us they really are individuals and are often the things we remember the longest about them.
I had the sense on this day in 2012 that something serious was happening with Kelly, but I didn’t realize how serious. She died August 11, but on this evening, August 8, when she hopped up onto my work table to have her drink in exactly the position I remembered her, it was a sketch I had decided I wanted to get. Sometimes we pass up a photo thinking we’ll have another chance, and I’ve passed up sketches thinking the same. On that evening I decided I wasn’t going to trust this to chance and I’d get this sketch right then, even if I didn’t finish it right then.
Looking at her legs, the arch of her back, the curve of her tail, the position of her ears, her chin, and the black and orange of her markings, the backs of her legs looking as if she’d sat in paint, the wide areas across her back of black fur then orange, her one pale orange toe, all so familiar even now, and at that time and still I could apply them without even looking at her.
I knew when I finished it that this sketch captured more than a sweet and familiar visual memory I wanted to make sure I’d captured. It captured a lot of Kelly too, and I can still feel her presence when I look at the sketch. This was the last time I saw her drink at that bowl, or saw her drink in anything near the position I’d always wanted to remember. I’m so glad I took the time.
It’s another celebration of Kelly on a day to remember her.
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