Simon has kept residence at the Church of the Advent since July of 2012, and a parishioner, Julianne Ture, documents his antics on Facebook and Instagram. He is the latest in a long succession of church cats at the church.
He takes his job very seriously, as you can see in the slideshow photos below.
Painting Simon’s portrait was a bit of a challenge for me. I wanted to capture his personality, as well as express something about the spiritual environment that is his domain.
It is a study in contrasts. His countenance is a mixture of mischief and pride, both stately and comical at the same time. His domain, on the other hand, is very regal with beautiful woodwork and ceremonial furnishings. Behind the scenes, Simon keeps the office in working order, and he manages the church’s recycling program.
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You can see that Simon is a very busy cat. He is very friendly as well, and he is very observant of the job description that was developed for his predecessor Jeoffry. I wonder…are there lint rollers hidden in the sacristy to keep the vestments and pillows free of Simon fluff?
Cat portraits are always fun for me to paint, but Simon’s was an extra special treat. I hope someday to meet this amazing beast. Thank you, Julianne, for sharing Simon’s antics in cyberspace, and thanks for the opportunity to paint his portrait!
“REALLY? You’re talking about the holidays NOW? Already???”
Yeah, I am.
There’s no better gift than the gift of art, and a portrait of a beloved pet can make your loved one’s holiday very special. Custom art takes time to complete, though, so you need to get your order in early.
To ensure that your custom pet portrait gifts are completed and shipped in time for Hanukkah and Christmas, you must order before October 15, 2016. After that, I cannot promise to get your artwork completed and shipped on time.
Premiere Contemporary Custom Pet Portrait Paintings are deluxe artistic interpretations of your pet that are painted in a colorful and highly customized style. These paintings reflect the unique characteristics of your pet in a semi-abstract style. They take many hours to complete due to my technique of layering various colors and attention to detail.
Contemporary Folk Art Portrait Paintings are artistic interpretations of your pet that are painted in a fun, contemporary folk art style. These paintings reflect the characteristics of your pet in loose and whimsical fashion. Although less customized that the Premiere Contemporary Custom Pet Portrait Paintings, Folk Art style portraits capture the essence of your pet in a colorful and cheerful work of art.
Contemporary Pet Portrait Drawings are artistic interpretations of your pet that are created in a contemporary style. These drawings reflect the characteristics of your pet in loose and whimsical fashion. Portrait drawings are created with Prismacolor Pencils on colored papers or white Bristol Board with inked in backgrounds.
Contemporary Digital Pet Portraits are artistic interpretations of your pet that are created from your photos in a contemporary digital style. Using a variety of digital apps and filters, I digitally manipulate your photo into a unique, one of a kind artwork. Choose to get the image printed on paper or receive a jpg image that you can print on your own.
I look forward to creating a special gift for your loved ones for the upcoming holiday season!
In December of 2008, a cat started tweeting on Twitter. He tweeted about many things, but his favorite thing to do was tell stories about his human companion, who was an artist. He became the spokescat for his artist companion’s burgeoning arts business, and he also became a worldwide advocate for the Canton Arts District. He tweeted about his everyday cat adventures, and he tweeted about some, well, shall we say, extraordinary misadventures.
That cat was Brewskie Butt and his human companion was me. Although his stories in cyberspace were quite fanciful, I assure you, Brewskie Butt the cat was every bit the character that the stories revealed.
Brewskie Butt (AKA The Brew) was a real cat who came to my home in 2004. A friend at work brought him to me after he had been rescued on the side of the road by a school teacher friend of hers. The first night I had him, he stuck his nose into my freshly poured beer and he started drinking, earning his name by rights in an instant.
Brewskie was ornery, obnoxious, pugnacious, nosey and annoying at times. He was also loving, curious, humorous and the biggest presence in the room no matter who was in the room with him. Although he was a huge presence, he also had a way of sharing that presence, making everyone around him feel welcome.
I am sad to say that Brewskie is not in the room anymore.
Brewskie went to the storied Rainbow Bridge yesterday. He had been suffering from pancreatitis since January of this year, and he declined rapidly over the past week. I cannot tell you how much his presence is missed here in my home.
I really miss that ornery, obnoxious, pugnacious, nosey, annoying, loving, curious, humorous cat who was the biggest presence in the room no matter who was in the room with him.
The Rainbow Bridge for me is in Dellroy, OH. I used to live in a cabin there years ago, and my friend who owns the property allows me to continue burying my pets there. Brew’s body, and spirit, rests next to that of his former nemesis Slick, and those of Bub and the original Beezie.
I am not sure how to move forward without my buddy Brew. He has been such a big part of my life for 13 years. I owe him a lot, because, without his presence, I don’t know if I would have explored the creative depths that I did with him by my side. I know I will come back around, but, for now, I feel pretty lost without him.
I have painted, drawn and digitally mastered many artworks of Brew through the years. I even created a picture book and a coloring book with an artistic character based on him. But I never created a serious portrait of him. I have painted serious portraits of many of his cyber friends, but I have not seriously depicted the huge impact that he has had on my life in an artwork.
So a few days ago, when I realized that the end of our wonderful time together was near, I started painting a Premiere Portrait of Brew. I began painting it at home, with him sitting next to me, then I finished it in my studio today after he was gone. It was both the hardest, and the easiest, painting I have ever painted.
I often paint portraits of pets for people who are going through the experience of losing a pet. I want them to know that, when I paint their pet’s portrait, I feel with them, and I try to translate that love that they feel into the portrait. I have to be authentic with that experience. I know their pain, because I am living it too. It is the sweetest pain, because it is the sweetest love – that human animal bond.
Anyway, this one is for you Brew. I have loved you with every ounce of my being, even when you were annoying the crap out of me. I miss you dude. Life will never be the same.
But life is so much grander because of your having been here.
Life is an Adventure!
Many times Brewskie shared this song and video on Twitter with friends to comfort their loss of a beloved pet. I know he has many friends, and I wanted to share this with you to comfort your loss as I deal with my own private sadness.
“Someday we’ll find it, the Rainbow Connection, the lovers, the dreamers and me.”
One hundred and sixteen days might might seem like a long ways off. It isn’t so long, though, if you are planning to make someone’s holiday very special this year with the gift of art.
When it comes to custom artwork to be given as holiday gifts, I like to remind people to order early. In order to have your custom pet portrait gifts completed and shipped in time for Hanukkah and Christmas, you must order before October 1, 2016. After that, I cannot promise to get it completed and shipped on time.
Customized pet portraits make wonderful gifts for people who love their animals as family. I have 4 portrait styles that fit with different budgets, including:
Custom pet portraits make wonderful gifts for people who love their animals as part of the family. They also make great gifts that you give to yourself!
The portrait here of a cat named Orbit was commissioned by his loving human companion. Knowing that he is aging, she wanted to have a piece of art that celebrated the love that they share. (Read more about Orbit’s portrait here.)
If you have been thinking about commissioning a portrait of your own pet, or were thinking of getting a portrait as a gift for someone else, now is the time to do it. If you order a Premiere Contemporary Custom Pet Portrait Painting by 7/15/16, you can take 15% off the regular price.
It’s not too early to be thinking about gifts for the winter holidays or upcoming birthdays or other special events. Ordering early ensures that the artwork will be completed in time for your gift giving needs.
According to his person, “He is mellow and friendly to every person and animal he meets. He’s like the ambassador.” He offers support when his person feels down, and he allows her to carry him around.
“Since he was a kitten it’s been our morning ritual. I pick him up and he puts his paws around my neck, and I carry him around while I open up the house. It’s how I’ve started every day for the last 16 years! He has all this fuzzy belly fur that looks like whipped cream, and he’s still soft as a kitten.”
Orbit is 17 years old, and he has developed kidney disease. Wanting to treasure every moment they have left together, his person commissioned a portrait of him.
Painting a portrait of a cat who shares such a special relationship with his human companion is such a gratifying experience. Although the commission came from online contact, I feel as though I know them both. There is a deep soulfulness in painting an animal’s portrait, and that connection is real, even if we have not met face to face.
I hope that Orbit and his person have many days ahead together. I will treasure the moments that I shared with them in creating an artwork that celebrates their love.
First, the orange cat’s owners moved away and left him behind. Luckily he had a neighbor who fed him and checked on him as he roamed his neighborhood. One day, however, he showed up with severe burns all over his head. Poor guy!
That is when his luck started to change. Keegan was taken to Good Karma Pet Rescue of South Florida, where a veterinarian tended to his burns, and a team of volunteers gave him much love and care. He is still recovering, but he is doing well.
Keegan had mange, leading the veterinarian to believe that his burns were due to a chemical that someone had applied to treat his skin condition. Because of the burns, he lost most of his fur on his face and neck. Eventually, he should have a full fluff around his neck again.
A donor and volunteer for Good Karma Pet Rescue commissioned me to paint a pet portrait of Keegan to be placed in the rescue’s new adoption room/cat cafe. Keegan will soon go on to a forever home (yay!), but his pet portrait will remain for all see and to remember the great work that is done there for cats. The pet portrait was painted in my Contemporary Folk Art Style.
Good Karma Pet Rescue is an amazing organization that rescues animals from challenging circumstances in the Fort Lauderdale, FL area. Learn more about their great rescue work by following their Facebook page. You can also send donations here.
I am so glad that they shared some of their “good karma” with Keegan, and many other animals in need!
I offer discounts to those interested in donating artwork to animal rescue organizations. Contact me if you would like to learn more about the process of purchasing art for donations.
As a teaching artist, I visit a number of preschool classes every week. One of the many learning objectives layered into my art lessons is helping students identify patterns. Each child’s moment of recognition of a pattern is often filled with excitement. Discovery of patterns is thrilling when it is a new concept.
We still have strong emotional responses as our minds grow and become more adept at identifying patterns. The response is deep. Sometimes it is relaxing and sometimes it is exhilarating depending on the design, textures and color intensity.
Patterns can spark a range of emotional reactions while also enhancing intellectual capacities.
I enjoy adding patterns to my compositions when I paint portraits of pets. Many pets have intriguing patterns in their coats, and combining those with patterned backgrounds can be a great visual challenge. Often, when I see a patterned rug or cloth of some sort in the photos submitted for a portrait, I find a way to include it in the composition.
In the above portrait of Tommy and Ollie (Thomas and Oliver if we want to be formal), I included the patterns from an authentic Persian rug on which these two felines loved to lounge. Their tabby cat stripes are offset by the rich designs and colors in the rug. I believe that this makes the portrait a more dynamic artwork than if I had focused simply on capturing the cats’ likenesses.
A portrait calls for more than making images that look like the subjects. A portrait calls for an interesting design and composition that inspires emotion on many levels. The emotion is not sentimentality, although some sentiment is acknowledged. The color and patterns take the painting to a different level, making it an artwork that can be appreciated even if you have no actual connection to the subjects.
In this portrait of Claude, I could not resist including the intricately patterned blanket on which this beautiful cat reclined in the submitted photos. Including the pattern made the portrait much more difficult and added considerable time to the process, but I think it was worth it.
The patterns in Francie’s portrait to the right led to a more abstract design for the the overall composition. I was intrigued with the cool colors of her coat contrasting with the warmer colors in the background. I also enjoyed playing with the haphazard quality of the patterns in her fur and the energetic quality of the background designs.
I do not include patterns in all of my custom pet portraits. Sometimes a simple background makes a strong composition, and sometimes I include scenery or other background choices. I find that the ones with patterns are often my favorites, however. I look forward to creating more of them in the future.
The important takeaway here is that painting a pet’s portrait, for me, is more than painting what the animal looks like. I am challenged to create an experience for the viewer that excels in the visual elements as well as meets a patron’s desire for art resembling his or her pet. Achieving an accurate likeness of the pet is important. The relationship between human and beast is best expressed, though, when the rigors of color, texture and design are applied to the painting. My hope is that I meet that challenge each time that I combine patterns, pets and portraits.
Dogs can be heroes just by being there when we need them. Some dogs, however, do more than simply “be there”. In the case of Marron (left), her presence inspired a movement that brought real change to a community in Peru.
Rescued off the streets of Iquitos, Peru, Marron became the co-founder for the Amazon Cares charity that has rescued countless other stray animals in the region. Capturing the heart of her human companion, Marron inspired an international effort to bring improved quality of life to animals in the region. It has been no small effort, but it has been a successful one.
Sadly, Marron went to the Rainbow Bridge on March 4, 2016. It was my honor and pleasure to paint her portrait with her pal Marilyn, another rescued pup from Peru.
Capturing the essence of an animal’s character is a primary objective when painting the portrait of someone’s beloved pet. Although my pet portraits are somewhat abstract, and the colors diverge a bit from reality, there still has to be plausibility. The image has to look like a specific animal, and it has to strike a chord with the animal’s human caretaker in a deep and moving way.
Even so, there is room to play.
Cats are fantastic creatures, and the relationships we form with them include a great deal of imagination. Painting their portraits often allows for a great deal of creativity beyond the simple depiction of their features.
In my most recent portrait of Francie, a beautiful dilute tortie cat (tortoise shell/calico with gray and creamy colors), I found a lot of creative energy in the way that her presence interacted with the background of her home. The reference photos I received of her revealed a rug with amazing abstract patterns and designs and colors as part of her domain, and I was drawn to it as I developed the initial sketches. I had to include that rug in the painting.
Moreso than many of my portraits, Francie’s painting took a turn towards the abstract in many ways, yet her personality still dominates the painting. According to her human caretaker, she is an intense creature with a variety of expressions, ranging from worried, annoyed, sleepy, impatient, alert, goofy, and loving. She can be demanding, yet also very loving, and she is a generous “big sister” to a younger feline with whom she shares her home.
“She is very emotionally involved with us and sensitive to our moods; she is always in the room with us, participating in whatever we’re doing… She was a rescue, found by a workman riding his bike home from work. She was on an overpass and he picked her up and carried her to a restaurant parking lot. We saw them from the window and we took her. She was not feral; she was vocal and made eye contact, and bonded with us immediately.”
Francie’s story is as amazing as she is. She was so fortunate to be rescued at the exact moment that the most perfect family arrived to take her home! I had great fun painting her portrait, and I am grateful that my artistry could help to express that love in a special way!