I always celebrate my one truly feral rescue on National Feral Cat Day, October 16, not because she was my rescue, but because she taught me about feral cats before I really knew they were any different from other cats. Our 19 years together were one long lesson in patience for me as I let Moses come to terms at her own pace with living with a human who wanted to touch her all the time.
And this painting is no less a celebration of feral cats than an article I might write. Feral cats often have the reputation of not being able to be “saved” or “tamed” and so they are often exterminated like vermin when they are found to be unwanted living outdoors, and are usually euthanized in shelters without being given a chance to adjust to life with humans, and yet here she is looking pretty pleased with her situation.
This painting is about one of the moments in those years I saw Moses coming to terms with the fears and mistrust she’d learned growing up in her colony of cats, in fact, it was inspired by the evidence of that very healing. I looked in the dining room and there was Moses in the middle of the floor—Moses, who walked about under and behind the furniture, who never left herself vulnerable, who never had a nap in an open spot, like the middle of the floor. And yet there she was, and she was looking pretty confident and relaxed. She had never done anything like this before. She was nine years old.
I stopped and looked at her on the floor, napping, purring, I remember seeing her breathing as she did when she was purring heavily, and I didn’t want to move at all in case I would startle her. Eventually I snapped a photo with my film camera. I actually painted the portrait fairly quickly as I’d been working on a series of paintings of my cats in the sun in that same colorful yet realistic style I’d developed, more on that below. As I explained this painting when entering it into my portfolio:
She found a warm spot to sleep in the sun on that old pink sweater of mine, and the look of contentment on her face was my first inspiration, especially since Miss Moses (we all thought she was a boy) had been a feral kitten and to this day hesitates to walk across the center of any room but finds security in keeping close to the furniture. Next, the contrast of all the grays with the varied pink shades in the sweater and the patterns of direct and reflected sunlight all through the scene made me snap that photo and render this scene.
It’s called “A Rosy Glow” because her silvery gray fur reflects the bright pink sweater onto her chest and face which for me added to that feeling of comfort and security I felt from her in that moment.
One of these days I’ll look up the person who purchased this portrait and I’ll be able to scan the actual portrait, but for now you’ll just have to imagine the details. Looking closely at the gray of her fur, though, and the bright pink reflected, you’ll also see there is obviously blue and green along with softer tones of violet and rose to give her thick fur the depth I remembered when touching her. Even when she wasn’t in the sun her gray fur was full of complementary colors that our eye puts together into one overall tone, but studying in detail over time you’ll see all those hues. Her nose was “terra cotta” as I called it, that natural color of red earth, but here it is reflecting that sweater.
When I painted it so the pink reflected as brightly as it does in the reference photo it simply looked overdone; I still had a bit to learn about handling colors and areas like that. Yes, I decided to move the chair, and a lot of other stuff…
In the background too you’ll see many colors mixed in with the gray of the shadows to keep them lively.
I still treasure this moment, and each moment when Moses took a step toward trust. Read Moses’ story in “My Favorite Feral, and My Enlightenment”.
More artwork featuring Moses
In the painting “Sunday Morning” Moses watches over my easel in the corner of my studio, and I continue to draw inspiration from her, the moment and the style, with all the work I do. Browse the category “Moses” to see all the posts where she is the subject.
My Cats in the Sun
These paintings celebrated this special group of cats and what they taught me about art, and in each the splash of sun made their everyday activity brilliant and special. I learned to handle the contrast of light and shadow and reveled in all the colors I saw, using them to add depth and texture to fur and background. Just showing the paintings and eventually selling a few was not enough, I had to do something to get these images to as many people as possible.
“Bright sunshine on anything will inspire me, especially when it’s illuminating one of my cats…and so I’d like to share that inspiration with other feline fans. These four designs are printed from my original artwork, each of them cats who’ve shared my life past and present.”
These cards are 4.5″ x 6.25″ printed in full color on matte-finish cream stock with matching cream satin envelopes. They also have only the art on the front and are blank inside. You can find these cards in my Marketplace, and also as a set in my Etsy shop.
If you’d like to read more about artwork as I develop it, about my current portraits and at assignments and even historic portraits and paintings, each week I feature a piece of artwork on Wednesday and a new product on Thursday. Choose the category for featured artwork.
Browse some rescued cats and kittens!
All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check my Etsy shop or Fine Art America profile 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.