January 2020 As the new year begins, my focus is on cats. Felicia, an orange tabby, is one of the many animal characters in Milkweed Manor, so she highly approves of this issue which stars felines, both wild and domestic!
A TV show on the National Geographic Channel introduced me to the rare and wonderful Pallas’ cat. This house cat sized feline lives in isolated pockets across the arid grasslands and mountain steppes of Central Asia. It is a high-altitude species and can live successfully at up to 15,000 feet.
Peter Pallas, a Prussian zoologist and botanist, was the first westerner to describe the cat. Catherine the Great of Russia invited Pallas to serve as professor at St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences. From there he led expeditions into Russia’s central provinces and, in 1776, identified and documented this wondrous creature, dubbing it Octocolobus (Greek for ugly ears) Manul.
Well, once seeing those amazing faces, it was only a matter of time till I needle-felted one! Here’s the result, my little Mira (short for miraculous). I gave her a decorative collar of sari silk and brass temple bells, imagining her in her native Butan. This project was a true delight.
This is, thank goodness, a common story-the love between cat and person.
Phreddee came to me from the cat shelter where I volunteered as a cleaner. When I first saw him, he was in a cage with about 6 other kittens, but he twice the size of the others. He was sitting quietly in the middle of the kitten pandemonium looking totally bewildered. At that moment I knew he would be coming home with me that day. And that was the beginning of a beautiful friendship that lasted nearly 15 years.
I suspected that my dear Phreddee was possibly not as smart as my other cats (his spelling being an indication), but he was sweet as could be. He loved all the more laid-back cat activities – napping on the carpet in a patch of sun, napping on my lap, napping on my pillow, and, of course, gazing adoringly into my eyes.
So how do I know God loves us? Because he gave us cats.
A few years ago, after re-reading four of Jane Austen's novels, I gave myself the thoroughly enjoyable task of depicting four of her heroines as cats. This first one is Catherine Morland, from Northanger Abbey, who definitely has a literary bent being particularly fond of Gothic novels.
This piece, as well as the other three, is mixed media. I began with pencil to sketch the image, then added colored pencil, and finally acrylic.
Here's Mary Crawford from Mansfield Park.
And Fanny Price, also from Mansfield Park.
And, finally, the beloved Elizabeth Bennett from Pride and Prejudice.
I'm offering you, my precious subscribers, a 15% discount in my Etsy shop. (Please note this discount does not apply to any of the items in the bear section because I donate the proceeds from sales from this section to Idaho Black Bear Rehab.) The offer applies to everything else in the shop - all items hand made by me. From January 2 to January 115, just use discount code JAN15OFF at checkout. I ship the day after I receive your order, and shipping is free. Click on the image above to go to my shop!
This Month's Free Downloadable Art
I fell for the expression and fluff on this feline and just had to paint her. Click on the image and it will open in a new window (from dropbox.com). You’ll see the image, and at the upper right of the window you’ll see three little dots. Click on them to open a menu, then choose “download.” Please note that this image is copyright protected. I’m sharing it for your personal use only.
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