Saturday, 23 August 2008

Cats and Pastels Don't Mix!


We are looking after another cat at the moment, Maddy, while friends are on holiday, and I'm enjoying having the company around the house. Normally it's just me during the day, with a short 'hello' from the postman if my luck is in.

Fortunately Maddy is altogether more diginified than poor Clyde (see Chopping and Changing), and is used to little holidays with us, so there is no inappropriate peeing. As you can see, she is rather sweet (Maddy is the little furry one, the other character is John, my long-suffering husband), although she does enjoy sitting on my graphics tablet, which is not entirely helpful.

We have to be careful not to let her out, but I nearly lost her onto the roof earlier! My attic studio has big, velux windows on both sides of the roof, which allow in lots of light, but it can get a bit hot up here on a sunny day, so I often have them open, to get a nice through draught. I turned round from the computer, to find Maddy perched on my tall, draughsman's drawing chair, stretching up ready to jump into mid-air...


Which reminds me of another bit of 'cat flight' some years back, with the wonderfully grumpy Smudge. This is an illustration I did for John, back when we had her, of him trying to put Smudge to bed in the kitchen, a nightly battle of wills.

Anyway, one day I had nearly finished a large piece of pastel artwork, and it was tacked to my drawing desk. You may have noticed from my earlier photo that I have my desk at an angle - this prevents the visual distortion you get working on large drawings on a flat surface, but mostly it helps the chalk dust to fall away, off the bottom of the drawings.

Poor Smudge was never the sharpest knife in the drawer, so didn't forsee the shortcomings of trying to sit on an angled surface, and launched herself at the desk from across the room. If we had been in a film, it would have happened in slow motion. I turned from the doorway to see her in mid flight and, powerless to prevent the inevitable, screamed and ran at her, arms flailing...

The unexpected commotion panicked her, but it was too late to alter her trajectory. She hit the desk dead centre, scrambled in vain for purchase, then slid down the middle of my drawing, leaving perfect tram-lines in the chalk before her undignified crash to the floor. She was so freaked out by my screeching, that she barely touched the ground before shooting under the adjescent plans chest, where she cowered in the corner, refusing to come out for the rest of the day.

Fortunately the damage was not as bad as I expected, and it only took about 20 minutes to touch things up. Smudge was banned from the studio though. Maddy doesn't know it yet, but she's about to be kicked out too, as I am starting on some pastel work immediately after the holiday.

This, by the way, is a card I made for John, featuring Smudge (Photoshopped onto a vintage photograph from the Hulton Deutsch catalogue). Inside it reads: Feline Rountines no 3: Cat Hair - John's new protective suit was proving to be just the ticket.

8 comments:

granny grimble said...

That was so funny Lynne It really made me laugh. I'd not heard the story of Smudge and the drawing board before. Maddy looks beautiful, very sophisticated!

Croom said...

Wah ha, how funny Lynne. You are very patient with the darling little pastel wreckers aren’t you? I would have been in floods of tears if that had been my work destroyed (or very nearly!)

Do you have a cat of your own now? What happened to smudge?

Thank you for sharing
Tinax

Sindie said...

Oooh ha ha ha! You really should get another cat Lynne, they're SO entertaining! I know they're not the most helpful when you're trying to work, but still......

Lynne Chapman said...

She caught a mouse last night too - quite a big one. We're trying to work out how it got in. We're both a bit soft about dead things, which is the down-side of cats of course.

Lynne Chapman said...

Unfortunately Smudge died a few years ago. She was pretty old when we inherited her.

She belonged to a neighbour who moved abroad. It was one of those situations where she visited us more and more frequently, until we were a second home, so it was the logical thing to do when he left.

weechuff said...

That was very enjoyable and funny Lynne. You tell the story so well that I can imagine it all happening as if I were there! I am soft about dead things too, which is the only reason I won't have a cat.

Babs (Beetle) said...

Oh the joys of having cats ;O)
I must say, they are worth it though!

Lynne Chapman said...

Yes, cats are great fun and we both love having Maddy. But we are also really enjoying all the wild birds in the garden, now we don't have a cat. It's so lovely watching them all feed and hearing the bird-song.