Tuesday, July 16, 2024
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Daily Photo Reprise: Kelly the Studio Cat

Kelly the Studio Cat-closeup
Kelly the Studio Cat-closeup

From July 2011, Kelly soaks up the sun on the windowsill, sharing space with my paintbrush vase, her eyes the color of summer leaves. Above is a closeup, but the full version is below.

Kelly didn’t care for the limelight, only the sunlight. Because of that she was the subject of some of the most beautiful photos on this blog. I like this simple composition, so colorful and happy, and what could please me more—art materials, a handpainted vase, sunlight, summer green outdoors, and one of my precious kitties? Does Kelly look 17 years old? She was amazingly beautiful for her age. I came to associate Kelly so much with my studio that this photo is the desktop wallpaper for my studio computer, forever.

Honestly, I’d planned out a watercolor of the photo below as a brand new feline painting, the first in a while, as my August featured artwork, desktop calendar, and other special products, and with all that happened in July it’s the one thing that did not get done. I still have it ready to go, and perhaps the coming months will give me a better opportunity.

Kelly the Studio Cat, on the windowsill.
Kelly the Studio Cat, on the windowsill.

. . . . . . .

Today’s photos from Instagram

Wow, rough crowd, their fountain WILL be properly cleaned and they will see to it.

Supervising cleaning of the fountain.
Supervising cleaning of the fountain.

Only one spot left for today’s Nap-A-Thon.

Getting ready for a Nap- A-Thon
Getting ready for a Nap-A-Thon

. . . . . . .

Today’s photos from Instagram, 2016

Well, now, this is an interesting photo, not even sure how I got it, but I was following Mimi, the black shape in the middle, through our woodland garden. Where will Mimi lead me next?

Mimi runs through the undergrowth.
Mimi runs through the undergrowth.

For all the times I try for something like this–it’s really interesting how the focal point is on the trees in the distance. It describes how Mimi is stalking through the undergrowth.

. . . . . . .

What they are doing while I’m working. I’ve been in the studio and all five were in there with me–as well as Basil, Bella and Charm–but I was just too boring. One by one they all left. Mimi and the kids ended up in a big nap on the bed. I can see them all together several times a day and it’s still pretty wonderful each time it happens.

Late morning nap while I work.
Late morning nap while I work.

. . . . . . .

From last night…

Feeding the pride. Six are here, Basil and Charm are on the floor. Better get to it!

Feeding the pride.
Feeding the pride.

. . . . . . .

What other photos did I feature around this date?


A Vintage Look, 2014
cats sleeping by window
A vintage look to the boys’ afternoon nap.

I’ve grown to like this app on my Smartphone, “vintage”. It really does remind me of some of those contrasty, oversaturated photos, slightly blurred from days gone by. Dark areas always read as navy blue and yellows are bold, so the black cats always look navy and the window light is always warm. Giuseppe and Bean are enjoying their afternoon nap, blended together in shadow and into the shadows of the landing. A sweet day.

. . . . . . .

A Summer Afternoon, 2011
Two black cats at window
A Summer Afternoon

There they sit, butts on the cabinet and paws on the windowsill as if it’s a table, watching the backyard and the neighborhood beyond on a hot summer afternoon, just like two old “studda bubbas” sitting on the “stoop” looking “ahtside” (they are Pittsburgh cats after all). I’m tempted to put babushkas on them. People from Pittsburgh will understand, for the rest of you, translation is at the end. You’ll still be able to understand Giuseppe and Mewsette’s conversation, at least, as much of it as I could follow.

I think there’s a little bit of a breeze here.

I think it’s just the fan.

Look, is that the little gray kitty who lives on the corner? I haven’t seen her in a while.

Yeah, I thought maybe something happened. We haven’t seen a few of the cats we used to see.

Maybe it’s the raccoons who visit at night. We always hear them out in the garden. I’d keep the heck away from them hearing the noises they make. They sound like they’re killing each other, but they tell us that’s just how they talk to each other.

Do you believe our mom used to be out there all the time?

I can’t even imagine it. I mean, I can’t even picture her out in the yard. Can you?

You wouldn’t be able to see her! I try to get her to tell me stories about it, but she doesn’t have much good to say.

Do you ever think about going outside, Giuseppe?

Sure, I think about it all the time. I love being in here and being with all of you and getting baths from my Mimi mom and hanging with our human mom and I’d never want to give any of that up. But part of me wants to feel the dirt beneath my paws, sit under that forsythia and wait for a chipmunk to run past.

I remember the time you did get outside, when Kelly accidentally pushed the screen out of the bathroom window and you were both on the deck roof. You didn’t enjoy that so much, and you couldn’t get back in until mom climbed out the window and got you.

Well that wasn’t dirt! I was scared up on the roof. I couldn’t see the ground from up there, everything was just green. Kelly didn’t mind at all, but most of the time I can’t figure her out anyway. Do you ever want to go outside?

I think about it all the time, but when Mama Bernadette holds the basement door open for me and I’m ready to run outside into the sun, I just get scared. Mama Bernadette even carried me out a couple of times when she was in the garden, but I had to go back in.

Oh, look, the birds are back. Their babies are nearly all grown up, no more of that squawking and wing flapping to be fed!

How do they eat that stuff? I don’t find it in the least bit interesting.

Did you try it?

Sure, did you?

I sniffed it. It doesn’t smell like anything at all. Give me cat food!

Mama Mimi told me the birds used to eat her food when they fed her outside. She had to fight with crows and blue jays to get her dinner, and sometimes she just went hungry because they have big scary beaks and they are almost as big as her.

You know, I don’t always believe everything our Mama Mimi tells us, especially about the time when she lived outside.

Our cat mom would never lie.

Never! But sometimes I think she stretches the truth a bit.

Well, I’m not sure a blue jay is as big as her, at least not the ones we see up close, but they do have big beaks and they are really loud.

I guess we’ll have to ask her some time.

I think it might be nap time.

. . . . . . .

Well, a few things have changed since 2011 but I still see these conversations. Mimi now goes outside with me, and sometimes she does try to wander off, but mostly she has to keep an eye on me. Mewsette did step outside one day and decided she likes it, but not for too long, and mostly she rolls around on the bricks and smells things. Oh, and she gave the bird seed another try, and she likes it! Mewsette likes seeds and nuts. Mewsette is nuts sometimes. Giuseppe, however, has no interest at all in going outside.

And for a translation, a “studda bubba” is a term I grew up hearing and which we used in a, well, less than affectionate sense but not terribly mean. It’s a misquote of “stara baba” which is Polish or Ukrainian or Serbian or—they all claim it—for “old lady” though the lady would be ugly in that sense of the term. What did we know then? We never used it in a mean way. A “stoop” isn’t particular to Pittsburgh because lots of cities have a little raised step right outside the door that’s a convenient height to sit on if you don’t have a chair out there, but many people call it a doorstep where we still call it a stoop. The word “ahtside” is “outside” spelled phonetically for the way we pronounce it, and it’s a difficult linguistic bend to give up, even after years of trying to work it aht of your system. Technically, Giuseppe and Mewsette would also be speaking in a foreign language—I grew up among bilingual people who learned English right alongside their parents’ native tongue be that Polish or Ukrainian or German or Italian—and often the conversations of these gatherings on the stoop were conducted in the language that felt most natural, and sometimes all of the languages at the same time. Giuseppe and Mewsette, of course, were speaking feline. It’s good to see my cats carrying on the tradition.

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From health and welfare to rescue and adoption stories, advocacy and art, factual articles and fictional stories, "The Creative Cat" offers both visual and verbal education and entertainment about cats for people who love cats, pets and animals of all species.

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