September 16, 2008

"China with Kittens"

Oil on museum quality, archival ampersand gessobord™ panel - 8” x 8”


I guess the feral kittens outside have reminded me of when my own cat China gave birth to her litter almost eighteen years ago.  The last of which, Anna, is on my lap as I type this, with both paws over my left wrist and her head resting demurely on them. This does not help my already poor typing skill, but if I try and extricate my hand, she takes her paw and puts it back where it was.  I think she is pleased that I finally got around to painting her, albeit if only one day old.  As China got close to delivering, we made her a nesting box and placed a yellow towel on the bottom. Here, exhausted after a long night in labor, she settles in with her new family.  The next night she decided we all should sleep together and one by one placed them on our bed.  Fearing to crush the kittens in our sleep, we tried to persuade her keep them in the nesting box, to no avail.  In the end, we made an island of pillows on the middle of the bed and there the seven of us slept for the next 8 weeks.  It was one of the happiest times of my life.  China, too, lost her battle with cancer three years ago, which was one of the saddest. 

18 comments:

kaycrain said...

Love this painting.....love the story too.
The bright yellow background looks great here and I really like all the colors in the white fur....the pinks and blues. Too cute!

Mark Adams said...

Thanks, Kay. Siamese kittens are born all white (and pink) Their smudgy faces come a out days later. I did take some artistic liberties with flattening the towel and the introduction of the hints of blue in the fur, but hey, it's art.

Robert said...

I lost my cat Toonces to cancer three years ago and still miss him. There's something about animals, and especially cats, that people who don't like them just cannot understand. I don't understand how anybody could not like animals...frankly I don't trust people who don't care for animals. Sorry to go on, but your painting and story inspired me. And by the way, after Toonces passed away, I adopted three shelter cats, all of which I love dearly.

Mark Adams said...

Robert, I can't imagine life without an animal companion. The studio but be a pretty lonely without JJ and Anna to keep me company. Good for you for adopting shelter cats.

Diane Hoeptner (hep-ner) said...

Fantastic post. This lovely painting reminds me of a Japanese Woodblock print.

Mark Adams said...

I can see that Diane. The simplicity of the compositional elements and the almost calligraphic arrangement of the seal points contribute to that impression. Thanks for the observation and nice comment.

Diane said...

thank you for sharing Anna's first hours. The piece is lovely

Mark Adams said...

Thanks, Diane. Welcome back.

deb o said...

Love the last 2 cat paintings. So different in feeling and, yet, both so beautiful. You know what a fan I am of Anna and Vincent, so its a treat to see them both as petite chats.

Mark Adams said...

I always thought it was kind of mean of Dorothy to say to the scarecrow in front of the others; "I think I'll miss you most of all", but I sure miss my Vincent. Thanks, Deb.

~:~ Holly said...

Already feeling quite emotional myself... the painting, the story and all the responses have brought me to tears as I grow ever bigger, awaiting another new little life of our own.
I remember back to all of these feline tales, and sit with you Dad, in missing the sweet bunch. My thoughts wander to Tao... and the beautiful spirit he was too.
Let the memory live again~

Mark Adams said...

If Vincent was the scarecrow (although he sometimes acted like the cowardly lion) then Théo would have been the Tin man. He certainly stole my heart. Alas that pets leave us too soon. Thanks for stopping by sweetie. Give me a call.

Rhonda Hurwitz said...

What a wonderful painting. thanks for sharing the story of China the cat.

Mark Adams said...

Rhonda. They say a writer should always write what he knows. That philosophy holds true with artists as well, but it makes it very hard to let go of the work. It was extremely difficult to put the paintings of China, JJ and even Piper up for sale. I love the fact that these little gems are out there pleasing other people but I miss the personally poignant ones most of all. Thanks for stopping by.

Diana Moses Botkin said...

It's a beautifully sweet painting without being sappy at all. Wonderful composition and color and gesture.

I envy you with your furry companion!

Mark Adams said...

I was nervous - kittens and all - but I think the painting is more about motherhood than sentimentality.

It's true - I am blessed to have such great companions.

Anonymous said...

This is one of the most beautiful new paintings I have seen in a while. i don't know what else to write other than I am amazed. I try painting like this - but can never quite do it. The composition - aside from the kitten at the cat's head - is flawless ... the color is perfect. You are amazing.

Mark Adams said...

Thanks, mystery person. I don't know about flawless, but I find the kitten at China's head compelling. Not only does he mirror his mothers position, his little head and arm lead your eye back into the scene. He also is important to the story. When we finally went to bed at 5 am., assuming China had, after hours of labor, finish delivering her kittens with just the three, we were surprised to find this little guy nestled by her head when we woke. He would become Théo, one of the sweetest cats I have ever met.