I thought I’d return to one of my older pieces for this month’s desktop calendar, from just about 20 years ago. I chose “A Rosy Glow” because of the winter light, and because of the pink, this being the month including Valentine’s Day with red and pink a popular theme.
Sweet, soft silver tabby Moses was my one truly feral rescue and taught me about feral cats before I really knew they were any different from other cats. My niece caught her and I took Moses home in 1987 before I’d ever heard a word about feral cats and kittens. I’d caught and rescued quite a few cats and kittens by that time and thought Moses was just another bedraggled, starved kitten. And she was until three days after she’d come into my house and her strength and wits were back, and instead of looking up at me weakly purring and blinking she ran behind the toilet and unblinkingly stared at me.
I’m accustomed to that stare now, but everything I know today about socializing cats began with her. Moses was about five months old when she came to me, past the age that’s typically able to be socialized, but she and I did well, with her leading the way. Our 19 years together were one long lesson in patience for me as I let Moses come to terms, at her own pace, with living with a human who just wanted to touch her all the time. I kept my hands off, and she came to me, sleeping under my chair, on the floor under my easel, on my yoga mat, on my other pillow. She patiently taught me the basics of creating a space where an unsocialized cat felt safe, and with each frightened, traumatized or unsocialized cat I welcome to my home, I remember her.
This painting is no less a celebration of feral cats than an article I might write. Feral cats aqnd kittens often have the reputation of not being able to be “saved” and so they are often exterminated like vermin when they are found to be unwanted living outdoors, and are usually euthanized in shelters without being given a chance to adjust to life with humans, and yet here she is looking pretty pleased with her situation.
This painting is about one of the moments in those years I saw Moses coming to terms with the fears and mistrust she’d learned growing up in her colony of cats, in fact, it was inspired by the evidence of that very healing. I looked in the dining room and there was Moses in the middle of the floor—Moses, who walked about under and behind the furniture, who never left herself vulnerable, who never had a nap in an open spot, like the middle of the floor. And yet there she was, and she was looking pretty confident and relaxed. She had never done anything like this before. She was nine years old.
I stopped and looked at her on the floor, napping, purring, I remember seeing her breathing as she did when she was purring heavily, and I didn’t want to move at all in case I would startle her. Eventually I snapped a photo with my film camera. I actually painted the portrait fairly quickly as I’d been working on a series of paintings of my cats in the sun in that same colorful yet realistic style I’d developed, more on that below. As I explained this painting when entering it into my portfolio:
She found a warm spot to sleep in the sun on that old pink sweater of mine, and the look of contentment on her face was my first inspiration, especially since Miss Moses (we all thought she was a boy) had been a feral kitten and to this day hesitates to walk across the center of any room but finds security in keeping close to the furniture. Next, the contrast of all the grays with the varied pink shades in the sweater and the patterns of direct and reflected sunlight all through the scene made me snap that photo and render this scene.
It’s called “A Rosy Glow” because her silvery gray fur reflects the bright pink sweater onto her chest and face which for me added to that feeling of comfort and security I felt from her in that moment.
One of these days I’ll look up the person who purchased this portrait and I’ll be able to scan the actual portrait, but for now you’ll just have to imagine the details. Looking closely at the gray of her fur, though, and the bright pink reflected, you’ll also see there is obviously blue and green along with softer tones of violet and rose to give her thick fur the depth I remembered when touching her. Even when she wasn’t in the sun her gray fur was full of complimentary colors that our eye puts together into one overall tone, but studying in detail over time you’ll see all those hues. Her nose was “terra cotta” as I called it, that natural color of red earth, but here it is reflecting that sweater.
When I painted it so the pink reflected as brightly as it does in the reference photo it simply looked overdone; I still had a bit to learn about handling colors and areas like that. Yes, I decided to move the chair, and a lot of other stuff…
In the background too you’ll see many colors mixed in with the gray of the shadows to keep them lively.
I still treasure this moment, and each moment when Moses took a step toward trust. Read Moses’ story in “My Favorite Feral, and My Enlightenment”.
More artwork featuring Moses
In the painting “Sunday Morning” Moses watches over my easel in the corner of my studio, and I continue to draw inspiration from her, the moment and the style, with all the work I do. Browse the category “Moses” to see all the posts where she is the subject.
My Cats in the Sun
These paintings celebrated this special group of cats and what they taught me about art, and in each the splash of sun made their everyday activity brilliant and special. I learned to handle the contrast of light and shadow and reveled in all the colors I saw, using them to add depth and texture to fur and background. Just showing the paintings and eventually selling a few was not enough, I had to do something to get these images to as many people as possible.
“Bright sunshine on anything will inspire me, especially when it’s illuminating one of my cats…and so I’d like to share that inspiration with other feline fans. These four designs are printed from my original artwork, each of them cats who’ve shared my life past and present.”
These cards are 4.5″ x 6.25″ printed in full color on matte-finish cream stock with matching cream satin envelopes. They also have only the art on the front and are blank inside. You can find these cards as a set in my Etsy shop.
This month’s desktop calendar
I’ve worked this image into a desktop calendar for you to enjoy and use for the entire month. If these sizes don’t work for your device, or if you have problems, please let me know. Often I can troubleshoot the reason an image won’t download or won’t load on your device, but if I just can’t figure it out I can just email it to you and hope that works.
How to download and use your desktop calendar
- Click on one of the images below that matches the dimensions of your monitor to open the image in a new page.
- For desktop computers and laptops, right-click on that image and on a desktop computer choose “save as desktop wallpaper” or “save as background” or whichever option your operating system gives you to be able to do this. You may also simply save it to your hard drive and set it as your background from there.
- For mobile devices, download the image to your gallery then choose it as your wallpaper—this is slightly different on all devices.
Horizontal and HD monitors and screens
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Square monitors and screens
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Small Mobile Devices and Tablets
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Cell Phones and Smartphones
Take a look at other featured artwork and desktop calendar posts.
Each month I feature a piece of feline artwork from the archives to the present day, discuss its history and process, and set it up as a free downloadable desktop calendar for just about every electronic device available.
click here to see other artwork featured on The Creative Cat
or visit Fine Art and Portraiture on my main website.
If you are interested in a print of this image, check my Etsy shop to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit Ordering Custom Artwork for more information on a custom greeting card, print or other item.
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All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check my Etsy shop or Fine Art America profile to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit Ordering Custom Artwork for more information on a custom greeting card, print or other item.
© 2016 | www.TheCreativeCat.net | Published by Bernadette E. Kazmarski
Weekly schedule of features:
Sunday: Essays, Pet Loss, Poetry, The Artist’s Life
Monday: Adoptable Cats, TNR & Shelters
Tuesday: Rescue Stories
Wednesday: Commissioned Portrait or Featured Artwork
Thursday: New Merchandise
Friday: Book Review, Health and Welfare, Advocacy
Saturday: Your Backyard Wildlife Habitat, Living Green With Pets, Creating With Cats
And sometimes, I just throw my hands in the air and have fun!