Wednesday, April 11, 2012
I have my computer desktop wallpaper set with an ongoing slideshow of photo references, old family pictures and a myriad of photos I have compulsively taken since I was about eight years old. An old black and white picture came up today, a crowd of barn cats that my mother used to feed out the back door of the kitchen. There was a slanty old wooden porch, painted gray, that caught the morning light. She'd set out aluminum pans of milk and stale bread, and maybe a raw egg, and the cats, who were rangy and slim from a life spent outdoors hunting for mice and gophers, would tread and cry for an easy treat. Sometimes there were as many as a dozen, though their ranks were regularly thinned by old age and misadventure. More than once in the winter we'd find a flattened pussy cat who had snuggled up near a warm Holstein, only to have the cow roll over on the little animal. Sometimes they were hit on the road as well, and while we wept when they died, the females produced replacement kittens regularly. It was a thrill wait for them to be born, then listen for their high pitched kitten cries.
I edited several cats out of this sketch. I wanted to keep it simple, but got all caught up in pattern and trying to show the light and shadow. Why they all are the same colors, I'm not sure. At least one should have been a gray tiger, but somehow the calico colors just happened.