So I disturbed his sunbath, and Allegro was probably wondering why his human is lying on her belly on the floor just a few feet away from him and looking at him with her one eye thing. His sleepy eyes tell me he’s not really concerned about it, though, and he’s likely moments from either just closing his eyes, or closing his eyes and lying his head down to continue what he was doing before I interrupted him. I have only one photo of him so I would guess some time went by before he did anything else, or I would have more. Apparently we waited each other out. I just wish I’d gotten there a few minutes before the sun moved off his hind legs. I would have loved to have seen him fully alight with sunshine against the shaded background.
I do know that it was 1987 and it was in the house I rented before I moved here. I’m not exactly sure what the date or even the month was, but, as usual, the fullness of the light meant the trees were bare, and the angle of light meant it was within a month of the solstice, and the next photos on the roll were of Christmas. Whenever it was, tall and lanky Allegro always enjoyed a sunbath on the floor, rolling along the carpet as the sun moved across the floor.
Yeah, yeah, it would make a great painting, and that’s just what I thought 32 years ago when I took this photo, and I wasn’t really even painting yet. I still think so. We’ll see.
Vintage Photos from Previous Years
Stanley Napping, 1994
Stanley was great at napping in the sun. How many images do I have of him dozing off with the sun on his back?
He’d had urinary issues from the time he came to me, and from his actions and reactions I presumed he’d ended up outside because someone didn’t understand he was peeing all over the house because he had no choice, or because they couldn’t afford his treatment. But in the meantime someone had done an abusive number on him judging by his reaction around feet and brooms and loud noises and how his play would suddenly turn violent. I’d never experienced anything like his urinary condition or his emotional condition before, and between the two I got the second big lesson in feline diets after reviving Moses from near starvation. Lots of Stanley-testing later, we found one that agreed with him and everyone else. But if you looked at him funny, it might start all over again.
So watching Stanley relax in the sun was always a treat for me.
You can’t see his big green eyes here, but you can see the little diamond between his eyes and his terra-cotta nose, the brilliant white chest, and the thing I possibly loved best about him, those big white mittens—I love white paws on any animal, and I have no idea why. Stanley always gave me high-five when he came into a room, doing a long stretch with his right paw stretched wayyyy forward up in the air, toes spread, and he’d stop in the middle of bringing it down to the ground. He would also wave his paws when he was talking to me as if to emphasize what he was saying, but I don’t think he realized he did this. When he saw his paw waving out of the corner of his eye he would look at it in shock as if he had no idea what it was, then recognize it as his paw and decide it was there because he’d been about to give it a bath, so he would.
As I’ve been mentioning, Stanley lived to be about 25, with a great quality of life up until the end. If you are considering adopting and you see a cat in a shelter, don’t be so concerned if they are 10 or older, thinking your relationship will be brief or fear their loss and not give them a home. Cats can live long lives, just like Stanley, and they never stop loving, or being inspiring.
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I wanted not so much to paint a portrait of Allegro as I wanted to capture that moment that was so much Allegro in his quiet, understated self, having wandered around and found a warm spot in the sun, decided to drop everything and enjoy the sun while it lasted. He sat down between the window and the plant on a cold late winter afternoon and had a nap. Read more, and purchase.
All images and text used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission, although links to your site are more than welcome and are shared. Please ask if you are interested in using and image or story in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of an image or a product including it, check my animal and nature website Portraits of Animals 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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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!