Just off the easel
'Treading Water' Asian Fishing Cat 2013
pastel 65cm x 50cm
This is my second attempt at painting this remarkable wildcat. The first one was in oil but it just wasn't working so I abandoned it in frustration with no intention of revisiting the work. However I refused to let it get the better of me so after several weeks I decided to try doing it again in my favourite medium - pastels. It's largely an experimental piece worked on rough watercolour paper I chose for the lovely texture that allowed me to create wonderful shimmery water.
The Fishing cat is a South east Asian cat found from northern India, Sri Lanka, Burma, the Malaysian Peninsula, to Sumatra and Java weighing in at 12-20 pounds. The fishing cat is commonly found in areas near water and its primary prey is fish preferring to hunt wetlands rather than moving watercourses. They are excellent swimmers and will dive in after fish.They also will lie in wait and attempt to scoop fish out of the water from the water’s edge with their paws. The main problem facing fishing cats in the wild is the destruction of wetlands. A recent survey found that over 50% of Asian wetlands faced threat of draining, pollution, and human encroachment.
Having a 17 year old cat means I need to be vigilant about his health and prevention is always better than a cure. This article about feline hepatic lipidosis from Cat Wisdom was something new to me. Since older cats are at more risk and we live in a hot part of the world it seemed relevant even though the author is commenting on record temperatures in North America. Australia can be awfully hot in summer too so look out for any of these symptoms in your fur baby during the hotter months.
A few days ago we told the extraordinary story of how two cats were saved when a fishing boat sunk off the coast of Oregon. I have been talking to Mark Schneider, whose boat it was, and who has lost virtually everything when it sank. There were many misconceptions about what happened, and this is a great opportunity to set the record straight…
It always makes me sad to hear that pregnant women think they have to get rid of their cat before the arrival of the baby, I mean why ? This great article debunks the totally misleading idea around whether or not you should find your cat a new home. You should absolutely not, there is nothing to fear and any risk is so minimal it's insignificant......read on......
'Catching the Last Rays' 2013
pastel 36cm x 26cm
My three cats just love the winter sun on their fur. Drowsy with pleasure they take up favoured spots on the rug where a shaft of morning sun comes through the window.
My ginger boy Fergus would love this If only I had the time to make it.
Click on the link below for a full set of instructions on how to create this incredible and very individual pole that I'm sure would give you cat many hours of scratching pleasure.
Have you ever seen those colossal scratching posts made to look like skyscrapers? There are a couple great ones on Etsy by designer Mike Estes. His "Sky Scratcher" projects pay tribute to Chicago and New York skylines. What kitty doesn't fantasize about climbing the Empire State Building? Such a cool concept. But the pricetag, not so much. At almost $150 a pop, they're a little outside our budget.
That's why we love this project from Karen at Maison Kuotidien. Be forewarned: it's time-intensive. But the result is so worth it. The necessary materials are under $10 and she even provides you with a template.
What you need:
Step 1: Drill hole into centre of board
Mark the centre of your board. Place between two sturdy chairs and drill a hole into the center. My cordless drill wasn’t powerful enough to get the screw through so I used a 7/64″ bit. If you have a corded drill, you can probably skip this and use the wood screw – it shouldn’t require any pre-drilling.
Step 2: Drill hole into center of dowel
Use the screw and your drill to make an indent in the center of the dowel. This will make the next step a little easier.
Step 3: Screw dowel into base
Drill the screw all the way through the board. Using a screwdriver to hold the screw in place, take the dowel in your other hand and twist it onto the screw. Keep twisting until it’s securely on. Doing this by hand gives you greater control and ensures that it gets attached straight.
Note: Since the screw head isn’t flat, I find that the piece wobbles on hard surfaces (it sits fine on carpet). If you have hardwood or tiled floors, you can try sanding down the center of the board just enough so the screw doesn’t touch the floor.
Step 4: Cut out templates
Print out a template of the building levels here (7 total). Trace it onto foam board (or cardboard) and cut the pieces out.
Step 5: Trace onto cardboard
Use your new template to trace the shapes onto cardboard.
Step 6: Cut along outline
Cut along the outline with an X-Acto knife. The blade will get dull so be sure to replace it when necessary. You can try using a rotary paper edger for the longer cuts. I personally found it a bit difficult to keep the cut straight so I ended up using the X-Acto knife for most of this project.
Step 7: Assemble layers
Stack the cardboard pieces onto the dowel until each level (marked accordingly on the template) reaches the heights listed below. Don’t glue the layers together. That way you can easily replace any section that gets damaged from overuse.