My article has been published!!!

I'M SO EXCITED!!! I recently wrote an article about cats and art and guess what?! It has been published in the Cat Protection Society's quarterly journal! I feel so special... Here are some shots of the article and below the pics is the actual article so you can have a read :o)

Cats and Art

Cats have been depicted in art since the beginning of their domestication. It’s no surprise that historical paintings of cats are displayed on the walls of the great tombs and pyramids of ancient Egypt, portrayed as not only efficient rodent hunters, but loving family pets as well. Since then, cats have continued to grace us with their presence in our homes, and have provided us artists with a never ending subject matter.

From the youngest age I always had a pencil in my hand, and if I wasn't drawing cats, I was having them drawn on me! Well, not literally, but I would always ask my mum to "draw cats" on my back with her fingers... I continued to own, love and draw cats throughout my life and went on to study Fine Arts at uni which was a great decision for me. It helped me hone in on my artistic ability and put it to good use! And by good use I mean creating art based on the things I love most – cats, and then selling that art to help the things I love most – cats! Last year I started a series of artworks and opened an online store to help support The Cat Protection Society.

My only problem, like most of us, is thinking of creative, original ideas. I’ve come up with a lot of ideas for cat art over the past few months, but unfortunately most of them have never seen the light of day. I’ve always struggled to appreciate my own art, and if I don’t love it, or if I wouldn’t want it displayed in my own home, no one ever sees it. Luckily I finally came up with the idea of my Contempo Kitties. Modern art with a vintage flair. I love drawing, so I hand draw all of my Contempo Kitties, and they are then completed in Photoshop. I loved the idea of clean crisp prints, with retro, vintage and chic patterns. I also like the idea of a realistic depiction of the cat, with unrealistic colours. I have these displayed in my house, which means everyone else gets to see them too.

Here are a few tips for creating cat based art:
1. As I just said, if you don’t love it, don’t use it.
2. Don’t give up after your first attempt – it’s taken me a long time to come up with my Contempo Kitties!
3. You don’t have to be a good drawer to create good art! Find your niche, there are endless artistic mediums – printmaking, photography, painting, collage, digital imaging, sculpture, textiles, ink drawings, ceramics and so on.

Cats and Photography

I often get asked what the secret to photographing cats is, and for me personally, it’s to take LOTS of photos! It’s hard to get good shots of cats, depending on their personalities, and I’ve rediscovered this in the past year, having welcomed a new kitten into the home. The younger the cat, the harder it is to get a good photo!

If you want to take photography seriously, there are a few important things to remember:
1. Use a good camera – the camera on your phone just won’t do, even if it is an 8 megapixel one! The reason for this is...
2. It’s not just about the megapixels! You need to think about lighting, composition, focal points and depth of field. A camera with interchanging lenses (a DSLR) is the best option, if you’re serious about it.
3. Learn the basics of post production. There are lots of free tutorials online about how to manipulate your photograph in programs like Photoshop. Don’t think this is cheating – these days most professionals touch up or enhance their photos digitally.

Still not convinced you’ve got the skills to get a good photo of your feline companion? Why not take after Cooper: Photographer Cat and get your kitty to take the photos?! If you have no idea who Cooper is, you can check out his photos at www.photographercat.com. Cooper was adopted from a shelter and is famous for wearing a Cat Cam once a week – a light weight camera that hangs from his collar and automatically takes photos every 2 minutes. His photos are just beautiful and he has had exhibitions all over the world. The best part about Cooper is that he gives back to shelters with his art too!

Sarah Menzies, author of The Purr Diaries blog, is a cat lover and artist who combines her two great loves to help The Cat Protection Society. She has been a cat lover all her life and is currently owned by two rescue kitties - Bosco and Oliver.
To read and view more visit www.thepurrdiaries.blogspot.com and www.sarahlovescats1.etsy.com

Famous Artists and Their Cats

• Australian artist Brett Whiteley loved cats and often featured them in his paintings of his living space
• Pop artist Andy Warhol grew up with cats and has a large collection of colourful kitty paintings and screen prints
• English artist Louis Wain learned to love his wife’s black and white cat Peter, and then went on to sketch him many times. He is even quoted as putting the success of his career down to Peter the cat, proclaiming “to him properly belongs the foundation of my career”
• Swiss artist and cat lover Theophile Steinlen’s home was known as ‘CatsCorner’
• French artist Henri Matisse loved the company of cats, and when forced to remain in bed due to poor health, he would be joined by his favourite black cat
• Edward Lear is well known for his drawings of his tabby cat Foss, who he was devoted to. When Lear decided to move to San Remo, Italy, he made his architect design a replica of his old home in England so Foss would not be distressed by the move

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