People are always questioning how I got started painting cats, sometimes by simply asking ~ “Why cats?!”
I’ve never known how to reply to this, because the answer seemed obvious to me; I’ve been cat-obsessed all my life. My family and school-mates can attest to it. I once believed I was a cat!
As a child, I amused myself by dressing up my poor calico kitty in dolls’ clothes… bless her heart, and she actually allowed me to take pictures of her! She was such a good-natured and patient companion for a little girl.
I also staged musicals with my stuffed animals dressed in costumes; I once performed “Oklahoma” with a full feline cast!
I never considered becoming a painter, and aside from a couple of high-school art classes and one summer watercolor workshop, I devoted most of my teen-years and early 20′s to the performing arts and theatre. I dreamed of becoming a successful actress, not a starving artist.
And like most actresses waiting for their big break, I worked various day jobs to pay the bills: a short-lived waitressing gig, as a sales clerk in an arts/craft shop, a grocery manager, a wedding cake decorator, and most recently as a bakery manager.
I rediscovered my love for painting after having a family and deciding to become a stay-at-home mom. In-between caring for two small children and an infant, I squeezed-in a bit of free time for a hobby. So I took up my paint brushes and began painting our cats dressed in period costumes, as characters from my favorite novels.
One in particular seemed to catch everybody’s fancy ~ a portrait of our tuxedo cat, Dominic, dressed as Mr. Darcy from Jane Austen’s, Pride and Prejudice.
I opened a little Etsy shop online to sell my cat artwork, and within a few months had requests for commissions from all over the world ~ complete strangers who were offering to pay me to paint their cats depicted as scholars, musicians, or Japanese geisha girls. In between doing these custom pieces, I continued working on my very special project… a complete feline adaptation of Pride and Prejudice.
In the last year, my little art business has branched out into wholesale partnerships with boutiques in Canada and overseas, selling my greeting cards, matted prints, and wooden plaques (my husband’s contribution). I’ve enjoyed meeting new and returning customers in person, renting a booth at the Westminster Farmer’s Market during the summer and fall. And I recently took my artwork to Megacon, in Orlando, Florida, the largest sci-fi/fantasy/comic convention in the south east. It was my first appearance at a major venue, and my work was seen and appreciated by thousands of attendees.
I am still a one-woman show, and I create all of my prints here at home using archival materials. All the bookmarks, greeting cards, plaques, and gifts that I sell are made by me.
I’m honored to be where I am, and I appreciate every single person who writes to tell me how much they enjoy my artwork. My kids get a kick from watching my little business grow, and they brag about their mother to anyone who will listen. They are my biggest supporters!
So to all the crazy cat lovers, I’m delighted to make your acquaintance! I hope you find that special piece you’re looking for, and if it hasn’t been created yet, I will be happy to paint it for you! =^,,^=