Stormin' Cat

When I was a kid, we had a Maine Coon cat.

His name was Hero, and the city kids who happened through our suburban neighborhood were once heard identifying him as a bobcat.

He was a really awesome cat–a great hunter, and very affectionate. Of course, combine the two and you become the hunted. Hero was known to jump out of the bushes and attack our legs, or steal the hat off my head in the winter, or bear-hug you (with claws) if you tried to leave before he wanted you to.

There was an orange tomcat named OJ two doors down that sometimes came into Hero’s territory, and we’d hear the noisy posturing of the toms and let the dog out to chase off the interloper.

Our dog was a miniature black poodle–actually a pretty well trained little guy, trained by my mom and the indoor Siamese–and he would happily chase off OJ and then come back to touch noses with Hero.

There is something special about going outside and being sought out by the animals that live outdoors–just for companionship. I have fond memories of going out to play in the yard and being joined by our giant fluffy cat.

I should find a picture of him and paint it.

But this gray fluffball spoke to me, reminded me of him. Fear the might of the angry Maine Coon! He just looks like he should be named after Gandalf the Grey, Stormcrow, Lothspell, Mithrandir….just about any of those really work, I think.

Let me know what you think in the comments, and if you like, subscribe so you won’t miss any art, incredibly profound musings, or other treasures from the Raven’s Landing!

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Charlie

I got new brushes for Christmas. And They Are Amazing.

They are the Black Velvet brushes, and painting with them is so different. They are far softer than any of my other brushes, and come to a much finer point.

What does that have to do with Charlie? Because Charlie was the first full painting I did with them. He’s also painted in gouache, which was fun. Holbein brand, if anyone’s curious. I don’t have anything to compare them to, but the internet says they are some of the best and I like them.

Charlie was a rescue from a hoarding situation, adopted out by the Middleburg Humane Society. Nobody really knows his breeding, but it involves fancy movers. Before he bulked out like the hulk, I would’ve said Morgan–Lippett like–but now it seems more Percheron or possibly Cleveland Bay. And Charlie did bulk out, he wasn’t a very gawky youth, so it wasn’t obvious he’d just KEEP GETTING BIGGER but he did. It’s amazing what a difference a few years in a good home with good food and work will make.

Charlie’s a sweetheart, thinks everyone is there to see him and expects treats. He takes treats politely, though, which I’ve always appreciated.

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English Labradors

Thought you might enjoy seeing this piece I did as a gift this Christmas. Schultz and Rylie were my in-laws’ English Labs. Different as night and day, both entirely and completely lovable.

Schultz has been gone for a couple years now, and Rylie for a year. It’s still odd not having them to greet us when we visit.

Schultz generally conducted himself with dignity and restraint when greeting at the door (but boy, that was a big bark if he was so inclined). Rylie was pretty much always exuberant, always loving, always underfoot.

Neither of them would have tolerated those hats for a moment.

I don’t normally work with colored pencils, but it really seemed best for capturing the buttercream coloring of the dogs–Rylie darker than Schultz.

They leave these gaping holes when they move on.

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