It’s Kelly, Mimi and Cookie enjoying dinner. No time for a sketch this morning, the usual time for sketches as warm-ups, but I knew I’d be gone all day, hoping I could get one later.
I knew I wanted to get this one, but also knew I’d have a limited time since they get their bowls before the young animals do and the three girls don’t waste any time once they get to it. I had my sketchbook and pencil on the sink and as soon as I set down the bowls for the kids I got right to the sketch.
Sketches like this one have so many levels of meaning for me, and just as surely as photographs they take me back to a particular time. I had actually intended to sketch the three of them eating at some point that December; Cookie had been very ill at the end of November and though she recovered, we knew her time was short. I love to feed my cats, I love to watch them eat, all their little quirks and habits, and they are so, so happy when they eat that it’s always a good memory.
Though I photograph my cats plenty of times while they are eating, the sketch is more intimate for me because I notice more, and because I really only have about five minutes while they are eating I have to capture the most important details, important to me, that is—the way Kelly always stood while she ate, all the years she was with me, and pulled her ears back and curled the end of her tail, and the way Cookie crouched, but often seemed to eat from the side, I think she may have been keeping a protective eye on the others. Mimi, the protegé, the representative of the next generation, was there with them, learning to carry on the management of the household, as she has.
Most of all, it’s a memory of Cookie and Kelly together in a very happy moment for all of us. I framed this and it hangs in my kitchen, where I often look at it while I’m feeding dinner to my current household.
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Looking Out on the Morning, 12/7/2012
Mimi crouches on the windowsill, watching the back yard, glad, I am sure, that she is inside on this wet and misty morning. Another sketch that came together in my mind as I looked at Mimi on the windowsill, and the scene outdoors that is so familiar to me.
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And this was a cold and snowy morning, once again I’m sure Mimi was happy to be indoors and looking out on our back yard instead of trying to survive in it as she once had. The window is new, but I’ve been looking out on those houses for 23 years; I often sketch of photograph the scene out this window. With my paintbrushes drying in the jar and Mimi on the windowsill (even if she looks a little tubby, which she is not!) it brings together a lot of memories for me.
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