One of the photos I included in my post about our Sunday in the studio reminded me of yet another artifact from my collection of feline-themed things from my childhood…
Above is that artifact, a satin-covered keepsake box, about the size of a shoebox but not as deep, given to me by my aunt, I think. To be perfectly honest, this one was my mother’s and it’s in quite good shape since she kept hers in a dresser drawer with her cotton and silk gloves from years ago—mine, on the other hand, was always out on display because I liked to so much, and I still have it, though you can barely see the image on the lid.
And that’s what I wanted you to see—what is that? A girl wearing a beret at an easel painting a black cat sitting on a stool?! Did someone know something I didn’t, or was the universe sending me signs?! Why did it take me so long?
I think cute little girls with unnaturally big eyes were the fad in the 1960s, and so were little girls and kittens. But I really did always love this keepsake box and displayed it on my vanity wherever I lived. Mine had a gold base with a Victorian flocked pattern, and the little girl was wearing a gold cowl neck and the kitty a gold polka-dotted bow—and was also a tabby. No matter, it still fascinates me to see this and remember how much I loved it from all those years ago. I don’t remember not having it, I must have been very young when I received it. Considering I was eight when my parents got me my first cat in 1969, I think I received mine before I even had a cat.
But the other cute thing is Jelly Bean himself, who is the cutest thing on four legs, and who is really getting to like this attention from all the photos. I set up the black velvet on the table by the window to photograph these two boxes and he came hopping down the steps and sat by the box as if he had an appointment! Then he stayed around as we did a number of shots.
Note that the kitty in the painting also has a generous white area on his chest, much larger than the Bean’s which is more of a smear, but he does have his big belly spot. I’ll have to get him a red tie with polka-dots and maybe a gold one too, and he and I can pose for a silly photo.
But I don’t think I’ll have to pose Jelly Bean—he’s got the runway method perfected. I’ve included the slideshow below so you can see how Jelly Bean posed himself in this little shoot. He really did come noisily hopping down the steps as soon as I set the box on the velvet, and moved himself around and posed. In between he brushed a little dust off his lapel and shined his white spots. I’ve eliminated the really blurry images but included the rest of them. Of course, had I known he would join me I would have used something else as the backdrop. What an assignment, photographing a black cat on black velvet. It just fascinated me that he had been sleeping and showed up for this and acted like a professional! Something else I don’t know?
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