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September 2013



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Calico Scout

Calico Scout fini, originally uploaded by Cathy (Kate) Johnson.

This one was difficult to do, but satisfying. It's the final art for the section of the book I'm working on--I think, anyway! This section is on dry helpers, like watercolor paper, paper towels, tissues, plastic wrap and more...

I hand-raised Scout from a kitten; she barely had her eyes open when she led her siblings out from under my canoe, demanding care and food. Her mother, a stray, had died, and I was left with three babies to care for when I most needed them.

It was the summer my first husband died, and to have something charming and challenging to capture my attention was just the medicine I needed to help heal my soul. Scout did that, in spades! She was always a personality kid, loving and funny and always the ringleader, though she was always small for her age.

She continued to be a joy all the years of her all-too-short life. Her kidneys failed suddenly at age 9, and I cried for days. It's been over two years, and the first stages of facing this painting were still filtered through tears. Funny how much a part of us they become...

I had taken this photo a few years ago--it was as if she knew how she mirrored the Double Wedding Ring design on the quilted pillow and was quite aware, thank you very much, of how beautiful she looked! The winter sun streaming in the window warmed and lit her, and I couldn't get to my camera quickly enough! I always knew I'd want to paint this, someday...and I'm glad I did.

(If you're interested in the techniques used, you can click on the image, above, to go to my Flickr page--I made notes on the process, and on the one before this one, the work-in-progress.)


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Wow! That is gorgeous. I love the textures you've captured with this one. I want to reach out and stroke Scout's soft fur. It's a beautiful memorial. They do become such a part of our family...
Thanks, dear heart--I was SO glad I was reasonably happy with it. I would have hated to blow it!

We have five, now, since J. moved here with his two, so I still get plenty of feline affection, but Scout really was special...
Wow, girl, that may just be the best compliment I ever got! Thank you!
I really envy your ability to capture feline beauty...I have tried and know how hard it is!
Thank you! Maybe it's just practice--I've been drawing and painting cats for 30+ years now! :-)

Edited at 2008-11-02 04:30 pm (UTC)
That is gorgeous!
Thanks, Jen, she was really a beautiful animal!
scout is the soul of peace, comfort, and happiness in this painting. it is such a picture of bliss. i love the echo of shapes, and the colors are wonderful. (yes, i'm partial to blue...why do you ask??)

there is something special about certain pets. she chose you--for good reason. and she will live not just in your heart, but in the eyes of everybody who sees this painting. life is good, made better by the fur involved...
I love blue, too! And it really set her off...

You are such a wonderful friend, Abbie...


I loved this painting already, Kate, for its wonderful composition and technique, but having read the story behind your subject, I love it even more.
I'm glad. I found I just couldn't paint Scout without relating how special she was. When I'd first see her in the morning, I'd hold my hand about a foot over her head and she'd rise up on her hind legs for a pet. I'd lift her up, then, and she'd throw her front paws up, throw back her head, and expose her chest and tummy for a kiss...it was a very sweet ritual between us.


P.S ...

Previous comment was mine. Sorry! I still forget I no longer have an LJ account.


Re: P.S ...

Thanks, EJ...I'm glad you liked it. She really WAS incredibly special. I love all my cats but there was just something about Scoutie...
Very tender painting and the story behind the scene tells us why. So glad you're nearing the end of the book project!! Congratulations, sweet Kate!
Thank you, Miss Laura...

I have to admit, though, that I'm only nearing the end of part 2 of 3. It'll be another couple of months before I can really kick back!
A labour of love. Beautiful.
That's exactly what it was, Van. Took me a long time to be able to attempt it, but I'm glad I did.



Beautiful painting and beautiful story.
I think when we paint a thing/person/place we love we automatically re-think all our associations with it, too. No wonder you're feeling pensive. I'm sure you bring love and comfort to many as Scout did to you.

Re: PainterWoman

I think you're right...it can be healing, it can allow us to let go and perhaps really say goodbye, but it's still hard to do.

I hope I do bring love, though...it's very important to me, thank you.


calico scout

I hope you get this since I am not an account holder...just wanted to say thank you for visiting my blog and to ooooo and ahhhhh over your kitty painting. I really love it and the story of her life. I actually have a story very similar to yours with a litter of kitties I raised with my children, especially my little girl when she was maybe 6. So sweet, those memories and those cats were around for years, until we moved, the kids were grown and they had become barn cats. I will be checking out your methods for capturing the light so well in this painting. That is what I most noticed when I first saw it, the feeling of morning light.

linda~ http://vulturepeakmuse.blogspot.com

Re: calico scout

Thank you, Linda, I'm glad you enjoyed it, and that you have similar memories!


Fur Persons are so family and the connection we share is always there. I am glad that you were able to do this painting, and, also, are able to share how you did it with the rest of us. We'll always have it, too, in our updated book.
Thank you, Annie. Glad to share, it made it easier to paint.


Scout and your quilt along with the story are all so lovely. I intend to paint my recently deceased "Lil Cat" but need some time or I will cry while I paint. What a wonderful restful piece you have created.
I understand, Lisa...it's been a bit over two years, for me, and I still cried while starting this. They really become a part of us in the most amazing ways...


Dear Kate, the feelings you have painted and the story you tell in your painting is just incredible. Thanks to you, I have started my first art journal, and I made it with my own selection of papers...an idea that came from you. Rosie

Re: snuggled

I'm delighted to hear you started an art journal! I find mine so healing and nourishing...thank you for writing!
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