I’ve been creating cat-related art since I was a child. I also wrote stories and poems about cats, and performed “Oklahoma” the musical starring my stuffed cats dressed in costumes. I photographed my ever-patient calico, Flicker, dressed up in baby-doll clothes. She was a beautiful model! :)
As I grew older, though, my interest in art was eclipsed by my passion for performing on-stage, and aside from a small portfolio of paintings (that I gave away!) for my high-school art class, most of my free time was spent learning pages of dialogue and starring in school and community productions.
My devotion to the long, grueling hours of theatre rehearsals, and working full-time in retail management, continued until my second daughter was born in December 2007. After she arrived, something shifted inside me (a maternal instinct, maybe?), and I wanted to spend more time at home with my family.
I started experimenting with Photoshop, creating photomanipulations of my cats as mermaids and dragons… and when my son came along in April of 2009, I opened a little Etsy store, TaraFlyPhotos, to sell prints of them, as well as offering custom photomanipulated portraits of people and pets.
That summer, I painted “Redcoat Cat” and “Mr. Darcy Cat”, both modeled after my tuxedo kitty, Dominic, and inspired by one of my favorite authors, Jane Austen.
I added them both to my meager offerings on Etsy, and sold them to customers who encouraged me to continue painting cats dressed in Regency and period clothing.
Wisely, I took their advice and shifted from Photoshop to acrylic paint, and have been working steadily ever since on the Regency Cats, Flower Cats (inspired by the Victorian Language of Flowers), and most recently the Tudor Cats Collection, along with several commissioned cat portraits.
A Viking Cat in a …..TARDIS?
This dapper young feline bears a striking resemblance to a time-traveling doctor:
The lady who commissioned this piece asked me to paint Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” as the background, in reference to the episode “Vincent and the Doctor”.
I was flattered that someone would think me capable of recreating a famous painting. LOL
I had something nearly finished to publish here on December 17th, but it was quite depressing for a Christmas post…. as I was experiencing “the winter blues”; depressed and anxious, dreading each day, alluding to various stresses we’ve been dealing with (without mentioning details), grieving over lost children I never knew, and of course, making a few sarcastic references to The End of The World.
After two early appearances in December at the Westminster Farmer’s Market…
… I spent the latter half of this month buried under a mountain of blankets, eating comfort foods (lots of homemade pumpkin pie), and watching pre-recorded episodes of Glee.
Oh, and working on commissioned portraits that I’d assured customers would be ready by Christmas. :P
A Viking Warrior Cat on-board his long-ship, crossing the dark ocean to conquer new lands:
This fella is Angus McMeowd ….a.k.a. Otis the tabby, named after “Big Otis”, a fictional character on the cover of Kellogg’s OKs cereal boxes in the 1960′s.
I “borrowed” the Scotsman’s costume to dress this handsome boy. ;)
And here is a new portrait of a beautiful Bengal kitty as a Redcoat soldier:
As far as Christmas goes, it was a small quiet affair; just Joe, myself, and the kids.
He surprised me by bringing the Christmas tree down from the attic on Thanksgiving!
I don’t really collect fancy or expensive ornaments (although someday I may), preferring to use whatever we have on-hand.
This year, we made paper-chain garland to string around the tree.
I hung leftover cat art ornaments from my craft shows…. and we filled in the gaps with pine-cones.
It was a simple and fun tree, and I think, really captured who we are as a family. :)
Oh… and I’ll share one brief encounter that brightened one of my otherwise hectic work-days:
While setting up a cookie display in our bakery, a family passed by…
and I overheard the little boy asking his mother whether we made our Christmas tree cookies using real Christmas trees!
I wanted very much to reply,
“Why, yes! In fact, we use actual pine sap in our secret recipe.
They taste just like real trees!“
Yummmm nom nomnom. ;)