February 21, 2014

Cat Paws

The interlude between the end of creating art for my current exhibition and the start of a small commission saw a creative pause - or should I say paws. I was inspired to make some small painting/collages by the poetry of a friend. I had been sharing images and rhymes from my Small Book of Marvelous Cats with Kris for some months now. After reading several of my little kitty ditties and offering constructive advice on how to make the illustrations better, Kris was inspired to try her hand at writing poetic odes to the cat as well. I usually write one or two a month when I have an idea for an illustration. Kris, however, in a wild burst of creative energy much like the leaping cat that inspired it, wrote a fifty poem tome within a few weeks. Amazing!

The first poem in her newly written book of poetry was based on watching a cat trying to catch a fly. There was an interesting allusion in the poem to Kris’s unusual February 29th birth date. A leap year and a leaping cat. I made a painting for this that depicted a many armed cat flailing away at an unseen fly. I thought the fly should appear in the collage border around the miniature. I made this intensely decorative by painting each square in the border with flying insects, cat eyes, and bird beaks. It was a mess of color and shapes. Just out of curiosity, when I glued the last square down and counted them up. There were thirty-one squares. That was close to the leap year twenty-nine so I decided to try again with another version of the painting. In the second version I made a more natural looking cat, albeit blue. I then surrounded it with exactly twenty-nine squares. The four corner squares are a stamped design reading “flying” in Chinese seal script - hard for me to resist a stamp or two. The poem that marks Kris Miller’s debut into the society of cat poets is as follows:

1 - Little ballerina cat - an ode to Sadie (Sadie) Look at the little ballerina cat

She has her eye on a fly

She leaps She spins

She's very spry

But can't quite catch her prey

So perhaps another day... I'll bet in Leap Year she'll get a boost

To jump and twirl even higher

And bring down that nasty fly at last

Her giddy heart's desire! -Kris Miller

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