A sunny autumn morning is gold. Literally and figuratively—the light is gold, and that the sun is low enough in the sky to shine all the way into the back door has a value of “gold.” Mariposa stretches into a sun salutation in her own special style with her big white mittens catching the warm sunlight. She looks so serious! At least from above…
Photos from previous years
Mariposa Washes Her Tail, 2022
I have always loved to watch cats give themselves a bath. I’ve sketched and painted plenty of cats at their toilette, and I see that other painters of cats through history have also found it inspiring. Washing the tail is the final touch, but very complicated when there’s a lot of fur involved.
Mariposa is not dramatic or exaggerated in her everyday habits but she is definitely energetic and graceful, and cleaning every single hair on her tail is admittedly a big job. Fluffing out the tail furs helps to get each one.
Yet more graceful calisthenics to get all the furs in her tail, as her tail tries to sneak over the edge of the cabinet.
After all that work on her tail, it’s time for a nap!
Some cats’ reaction when I came home from my woodland escapade. Lest I get too full of myself.
From the Back Yard and Beyond
As I hinted yesterday, I did play hooky today and ran off to the woods. Though a weekday, I felt the big blue sky calling me and packed a sandwich and an apple and some water and made sure I had some pastels and papers in my backpack and I took off. This is but one of my photos from today. The IG photo above references my fine felines’ less-than-impressed response to my homecoming all happy and feeling silly. Below is a small sketch I also managed to paint.
Photos from previous years
Someone Else is Getting Food, 2021
It’s true. I’m feeding Mimi one of her many small meals through the day. And that’s not all—Giuseppe and Mewsette get to eat during the day too. They don’t want to eat as much at each meal, so they get an extra small meal some other time during the day to make sure they get enough to eat and their tummies don’t get upset eating too much at one time. But that’s not the point. The point is that Mariposa isn’t getting a meal at those times. Not even a nibble. Not even a treat. And it’s just not fair.
I always praise Mariposa for her manners, though. She never runs in and tries to steal food out of anyone’s dish, or sits really close to them and stares, or walks around them, like some other cats do. She is respectful of the situation and gets lots of love while her elders eat.
“Look deep into my eyes and soon I will have you hypnotized with my cuteness.”
I’m certainly under her spell. But I think Bella taught her that paw-hanging move. Bella is relaxing behind Mariposa acting as if she knows nothing. Mariposa has added her fluffy tail as an extra dangling attraction.
Around this time of the year my bed develops these strange cat-shaped lumps underneath the bedspread. Sometimes they move.
From the Garden and Beyond
From a vantage point underneath the waterfall ledge, I looked up and saw this dragon hidden among the slates and mosses.
Photos from previous years
Mimi on an Old Chair, 2020
Mimi is at it again. Or should I say I once again took the time to study her with my camera. My deck has a new stack of things as things got rearranged to set up for my open house and then work on my basement. Mimi loves to explore the things. In two steps she is out of my reach and in her own little jungle. And I suspect there are mice in there.
She carefully stepped from the top of one thing to the top of another, and found one of the old white chairs with very (beautifully) peeling paint and a broken seat, stacked up on another chair with peeling paint so she is higher up, with more light, with an interesting abstract background of trees. I immediately saw her in black and white, partly her dark shape amid all the smaller details, and partly those random details themselves. And as always, Mimi was aware of me admiring her with my camera, read my mind for a few poses, and came up with a few of her own. It’s an exciting and satisfying partnership. When I am done, and she is done, and I pick her up, she is purring steadily. I know she feels very loved when we do this.
Below is the image I had in mind when she settled on the chair, and the one she read my mind to settle into. She could have lived the rest of her life primarily outdoors growing old with someone’s abandoned peeling furniture, but it’s only a set, trying it on for a short while before returning to her life.
Most of the photos are in black and white, but some are in color, when the colors were part of the composition. These are two slightly different focuses, but the image below had such nice muted autumn colors. Along with the peeling paint, reflective.
I walked around as far as I could to get a few other angles, picturing her from the pose above, looking between the bars of the chairback.
And then I knew I wanted her to look at me. She knew this but ignored me as long as she could.
Then I walked down to the brick patio to look up at her on the chair, napping.
I liked the muted umbers and grays in these.
I have so many photos to catch up on that I’ll just share the one I shared this evening.
Don’t know if I want to turn around and see what she’s looking at.
You know how they play games with you.
From around this date in past years
Mimi and Me on a Walk, 2019
There really is nothing like warm, scratchy concrete, especially if you’re a cat. Mimi is in mid-roll, and dropped down for more rolls as we made our way down the sidewalk.
Mimi wanted some adventures on Sunday’s walk. I’m happy with that. Up to now she hasn’t been at all interested in walking on a leash, but when I asked her if she’d like to walk last weekend and began down the sidewalk, she came with me. We don’t actually “take a walk” because Mimi has to check out everything on her way, look in neighbors’ windows, try to eat grass in others’ yards and other sorts of cat things. It takes some time. We keep each other occupied as we walk a comparatively short distance down one block and back.
She really wants to visit the sewer, and while that may seem odd, when she was an outdoor cat, she traveled the sewer rather than walking among cars and people, even if it meant meeting up with the neighborhood raccoons. At first I thought she just wanted to look in because it’s not too deep, but then she started to twist around to get in above the grate. Oh no you’re not! We still look in, but I keep her on a tight leash. Mimi is still very quick.
Then she wanted to cross the street to the house where she used to live. I told her that house was all different now. This view is almost across from the end of my driveway, and when she would come to my yard to hunt it was an easy trot across the street to the side of my driveway, then privacy all the way through the fence and into my garden. I’m sure she did that daily for nearly all four years she lived primarily outdoors. One of these days we’ll stroll across the street and sniff things, during the week when no one is home.
So, foiled in all the things she thought were fun to do, she rolled around in the sun on the concrete some more then sat in some wildflowers to think. I guess autumn is a time of reflection for all of us.
Honestly, the photos above were shared on IG first too.
Kitties enjoyed a gift of some real homegrown from our guests today. A catnip party was had by felines while a pizza party was had by humans. I have to say that we will all miss the visitors and their treats when my convalescence is over.
Photos Shared on Previous Years
Sunny Morning Activities, 2017
Mewsette, cleverly camouflaged by a white bedspread on the clothesline. I don’t see a black cat there.
This extended summer has been very odd, but even with that we haven’t had a lot of time out in the yard in the mornings lately. The humans says she’s too busy. Mimi is not amused, nor Mewsette. At least I’ve been opening the basement door for Bella, Basil and Hamlet, but that’s not the same as eating grass or feeling cool dirt under your feet. Nor for the human, except for the part about eating grass. So I decided that we would reinstitute our little morning sojourns so we all got outside and I could work out the kinks in my back from sitting too much.
Below, Mimi gives me an ultimatum. Bella and Hamlet are impressed.
I love their silhouettes, and even the grate on the screen works well here. A cold front is coming so we’re enjoying a warm, sunny morning watching Wildlife Reality CatTV. It’s really busy out there!
All of the above photos were shared on Instagram today. Below are some of the wildflowers in the back yard right now.
My, what big ears you have! Asiatic dayflower.
Yellow wood sorrel.
Shadows through the laundry.
What other photos have I shared on this date?
What Cats Think Ironing Boards Are For, 2012
For some reason, this photo is one of my favorites and I have to share it again.
Mr. Sunshine is rolling around and feeling groovy while Mimi looks at the world from a new perspective. What we humans, especially female humans, see as the ultimate object of drudgery, even household slavery, our cats find to be a source of entertainment and even joy.
I admit, I did warm it up nicely for them, and it has a nice soft pad on it, plus it’s elevated, and as a bonus I was using it and would not let them on it, all criteria for any cat to absolutely need to be up there. Underneath that nice clean muslin cover is a reflective Teflon cover, so it’s like a heated cat shelf. Like some nice fresh black cat hairs with your freshly-ironed tee or tablecloth? They come free with every order unless I go after them. The ironing board cover gets rolled for cat hair more often than any of my garments.
When I screen print or block print a product, the ink needs to be set with heat once it’s dry to make it completely washable. This can be done in the dryer, but then said item is rumpled and looks used, not something you’d want to buy that’s considered new, so it needs to be completely ironed. It can also be set just by ironing for a period of time, and this is what I usually choose to do. But I often end up ironing and entire thing anyway—t-shirts come packed so tightly in the box they practically pop out when I open it, and are sometimes so wrinkled I have to iron them to print. Tablecloths and placemats and other fabric items are made from fabric which I prewash so it needs to be ironed in that case, then often I hem or trim it so that also needs to be ironed. Iron, iron, iron, they don’t tell you you’ll be doing housework when you say you want to be an artist. Good thing I enjoy it; I can sing to my cats or watch a good movie on my computer and the ironing time flies.
And because the ironing board is a little tippy and I know as soon as I leave the room that two or three cats will immediately launch themselves onto it, I actually set it up so it is braced and is very difficult to knock over. The iron is unplugged and placed in a safe spot on the floor.
I can keep these guys from jumping on it while I’m working, and I’ve kept most cats from doing so, but Cookie would have none of that. Unless I ironed outside she would find a way to get onto the ironing board—she couldn’t ever jump that high, even as a kitten—so even if it meant she had to start in another room and step up and up and up from one thing to another she would eventually get up there, prance around and wave her tail and purr, very pleased with herself and happy to have my attention. From last June, I Will Never Get To Retire.
Mamá, they all say, you are incapable of doing all this without our supervision! I should be glad for it, I guess.
Besides that, black cats look spectacular against a background of white cotton and unbleached muslin.
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Feline Artwork from Portraits of Animals!
She almost had me fooled until I saw one of the flowers looking back at me and I knew I had to investigate. 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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Tuesday: Rescue Stories
Thursday: New Merchandise
And sometimes, I just throw my hands in the air and have fun!