cat art

Art Inspired by Cats: Meet French Artist Raphael Vavasseur

cat_art

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Raphaël Vavasseur’s unique cat paintings captured my attention on Facebook, and I wanted to learn more about this talented artist, and where his inspiration for these stunningly gorgeous paintings comes from. I’m delighted to introduce you to Raphaël and his art today. Raphaël Vavasseur spent the first 25 years of his life in Paris, France, where he also went to graphic design and art school. He eventually interrupted his studies and focused on creating and becoming self-taught in both computer graphics and painting. Feeling a need for nature and more space, he moved to the countryside of Normandy. The tranquility and fresh air of this bucolic region of France promote his creativity. Continue Reading

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Top 5 Cartoon Cats

cartoon-cats

Before cats took over the internet, there were cartoons. From Felix the Cat, who was created in the silent film era in the 1920’s, to Simon’s Cat, the white British feline cartoon character who has taken the internet by storm over the last few years, cartoon cats have delighted and entertained cat lovers for decades. Meet five of the top cartoon cats.

Felix the Cat

Felix’s black body, white eyes, and giant grin make him one of the most recognized cartoon characters of all time. Developed in the 1920’s, Felix cartoons began airing on American TV in 1953. He first appeared in a short film called Feline Follies, and shortly thereafter, he made the transition from screen to print. Eventually, Felix was syndicated n over 250 newspapers all over the world. He is still published today in various magazines and publications.

Tigger

Tigger is the fictional tiger in A.A. Milne’s book The House at Pooh Corner. This sweet tiger with distinctive orange and black stripes bounces rather than walks, which fits his cheerful, outgoing personality. Tigger often overestimates his own abilities and has complete confidence in himself, which leads him into some interesting predicaments. In addition to the books, Tigger has appeared in multiple Disney movies.

Garfield

Garfield was created by Jim Davis in 1978, and the lazy feline who loves to eat and hates Mondays has spawned an empire that includes merchandise earnings of $750 million to $1 billion annually. The strip has also been turned into animated television programs and two full length feature films.

Hello Kitty

This fictional cat was designed by Yuko Shimizu. The female white Japanese bobtail cat with the red bow first appeared on a vinyl coin purse in Japan in 1974. Since then, Hello Kitty has turned into a global marketing behemoth worth more than 5 billion a year.

Simon’s Cat

Simon’s Cat is an animated cartoon series created by British animator Simon Tofield. Based on Tofield’s own cats, the cartoons feature a charming, yet mischievous cat that lives with Simon. His first cartoon alone, Cat Man Do, featuring black and white pencil drawings of a cat trying to wake his human has garnered more than 45 million views since it was posted on YouTube five years ago. In addition to the cartoons, Simon’s Cat has several books out, and Simon’s Cat merchandise ranges from toys to household goods, turning Simon’s Cat into a multi-media empire worth several million dollars.

For most cat lovers, the most enchanting feature of these, and all cartoon cats, is how well they capture cats’ unique traits and personalities.

This article was previously published on Answers.com and is republished with permission.

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Cats are Part of the Family Business for Artist Deborah Julian

Deborah_Julian_art

Deborah Julian has lived and worked in New York City for over twenty years, working as a photographer, innovative artist and art gallery director. She graduated from Marymount Manhattan College with honors and a degree in Art History. For the last ten years, she has been the director of a fine arts gallery in Manhattan and has continued to sell and exhibit her photographs.

Art and photography were Deborah’s primary passions for many years—until her heart was captured by a smart, funny cat named George. It was love at first sight from the moment they saw each other at the Humane Society of New York. She has since adopted two other terrific cats, Billy and Sammy. Her cats have become part of her art work as she creates colorful, whimsical images.Continue Reading

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Review and Giveaway: The Big New Yorker Book of Cats

The_Big_New_Yorker_Book_of_Cats

I absolutely adore The Big New Yorker Book of Cats. Aside from the from that fact that it combines two of my great loves, cats, and New York City, into one beautiful book, it’s everything a special cat book should be.

This beautifully illustrated collection is a celebration of cats. The book features articles, poems and humor pieces by such literary luminaries as Margaret Atwood, Roald Dahl, Robert Graves, Ted Hughes, Jamaica Kincaid, Jean Rhys, James Thurber, John Updike, Sylvia Townsend Warner, E. B. White, and many, many more. And of course, it also contains plenty of the New Yorker’s signature cartoons and drawings.Continue Reading

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Animal Sympathy Cards from Portraits of Animals

animal_sympathy_cards

“Each time I’ve lost a cat, I’ve gained something in my life—made decisions about my career, begun working in a new medium or style, found new friends. Perhaps the trauma of the loss caused me to see things from a new perspective, or it was a gift of gratitude from the cat I’d lost,” says animal artist and writer Bernadette E. Kazmarski.

She had determined years ago to design animal sympathy cards as most of the cards she’d received for her losses were not animal-specific, but wanted to make sure she had enough experience and perspective so she wouldn’t design something she’d later feel was incomplete or immature. One cat’s passing in 2009 gave her the space to follow through. As a fine artist as well as a commercial artist designing these cards was second nature. Continue Reading

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Meet BZTAT, artist, writer and cat advocate

Orange-tortoise-shell-cat-pop-art-painting-bztat-LR

Artist Vicki Boatright, known as “BZTAT” (pronounced bee-zee-tat), is an accomplished artist with several public art projects to her credit. An avid pet lover and business partner to her cat Brewskie Butt, Vicki specializes in whimsical drawings, paintings and prints of cats, dogs and other companion animals. She creates colorful customized pet portraits, which are unique in their original contemporary style. Vicki also creates murals and other artworks that address a variety of themes.

I’m delighted to welcome Vicki to The Conscious Cat today.

When did you first realize that you were an artist?

I cannot remember a time in my life where I was not creating. Being an artist is something I am, not something I do. I remember drawing and doodling and coloring, etc. when I was very small, and I never stopped!

cat_painting_BZTAT

Your unique style is instantly recognizable. How did you develop this style?Continue Reading

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Review and giveaway: The French Cat by Rachael Hale

The French Cat Rachel Hale

“Cats make their own decisions, follow their own instincts. French cats are probably the most independent and enigmatic of them all.” This perfect quote from The French Cat sets the scene for a collection of beautiful cat photographs in a beautiful setting. Award winning photographer Rachael Hale says this assignment was like a love affair for her. Having previously photographed animals in a studio setting, this project allowed her to work with them in their own environment, using natural light.

Born in New Zealand, she moved to France with her new husband in 2009. France intensified Hale’s creativity. “Every corner I turn…makes my mind and eyes explode with inspiration.” And then there were the cats. “The…wonderful thing about French cats is that they occupy one of the most beautiful countries in the world. Artists through the ages have relished France for its old-world villages, rustic charm, and most of all, for the luminous quality of its light.”Continue Reading

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Gorgeous cat quilt to benefit Siamese cat rescue

Siamese cat quilt

There were a lot of vendors and rescue groups at the National Capital Cat Show last weekend, and there were a lot of beautiful cats, and cat things, to look at, but nothing caught my eye more than this gorgeous quilt.

Created by a volunteer for the Siamese Cat Rescue Center, the quilt is an oversized queen size quilt featuring Siamese cats.  Continue Reading

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Book review and giveaway: I am Tama, Lucky Cat

I am Tama, Lucky Cat

I am Tama, Lucky Cat by Wendy Henrichs, with illustrations by Yoshiko Jaeggi, is based on one of the versions of the Japanese legend of Maneki Neko, which literally translated means Beckoning Cat. Maneki Neko is also known as Lucky Cat, Welcoming Cat, or Fortune Cat. 

From the publisher:

Under the shadows of the white-capped mountains of Japan, a white cat with unusual markings arrives at the door of a rundown temple. With little more than a few grains of rice to share, a kind and gentle monk take him in and names him Tama, after the river of the monk’s boyhood memories. As Tama gets accustomed to life in the temple, he promises he will bring good fortune to his new master and the worshippers who come to pray. One afternoon, a mighty spring storm gives Tama the chance to do just that, and he earns the nickname “Lucky Cat.”

Heinrich’s almost lyrical style of telling the story, combined with Jaeggi’s absolutely charming illustrations, create a special magic. I found myself pausing at each page, absorbing the words, and losing myself in the pictures. The drawings of the cat capture feline body language and emotion purrfectly and make you feel like you want to reach out and touch Tama.  

In addition to telling Tama’s story, the book also provides a glimpse into Japanese culture and the teachings of the Buddha. When Tama first arrives at the temple, he realizes that his monk “never considered his own hunger, but looked with compassion upon the hollow cheeks of his people…It was for me and the temple worshippers that he wanted more food…more warmth…more comfort.”

This beautiful book is aimed at children ages 4-8, but I think adults will enjoy it equally as much.

I’m giving away one copy of this book. To enter the giveaway, please leave a comment and let me know why you’d like to win the book. For an additional chance to win, share this giveaway on Twitter or Facebook and share the link in a separate comment. This giveaway ends Friday, August 5.

July 26 update: Wendy Heinrichs generously offered a second copy for this giveaway, and she’ll even personalize and autograph it for the lucky winner!

This book was sent to me by the publisher.

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Book Review: Travels with George: Paris by David Stone and Deborah Julian

Most cat parents can relate to this dilemma:  you’re about to go on the vacation of your dreams, and you’re excited – but, you also hate leaving your cats behind.  No matter how well you know they’ll be taken care of in your absence by pet sitters, neighbors or friends, you know you’ll miss them every single day.  But what if you cats could come on vacation with you?  And what if you didn’t even know that they tagged along?

In Travels with George:  Paris:  A Cat’s Eye Adventure, George, a much-loved indoor cat living in a New York City high-rise, and a bit restless in his restricted, secure environment, craves adventure.  When his humans prepare to go on a trip to Paris, he seizes the opportunity and hides himself  in their luggage.  When he next sees the light of day, he finds himself in a Paris hotel room.  Much to his surprise (not to mention his humans’ surprise!), his younger cat friend Billy has stowed away, too.

After the initial surprise wears off for the cats’ humans, and basic needs such as litter box, food and water have been satisfied, the two humans decide that, rather than leaving the two cats in their hotel room all day while they’re off sightseeing, they’ll include them in touring Paris.  The reader follows along as George and Billy discover the beautiful city on the Seine while either being comfortably carried (well, comfortable for the cats, at any rate!) in two secure bags, or walking on harness and leash.  They encounter such sights as the Eiffel Tower, the Champs-Elysee, and the Jardin du Luxembourg (a particular favorite with both cats).  They even get to take a boat ride down the river Seine.

Through the eyes of George, the reader follows along as the two cats and their humans explore the city and gets to experience Paris from a cat’s point of view.  George gets to know aspects of the outside world that he’s only been able to see from his window in the past.  Charmingly told by Stone, and beautifully illustrated with Deborah Julian’s whimsical full-color prints, this book is a delightful fantasy, travelogue and cat story all rolled into one thoroughly enjoyable package.

David Stone is the author of two other works of fiction, The Garden of What Was and Was Not, a counterculture classic, its sequel, Traveling Without A Passport, and of the nonfiction title: A Million Different Things: Meditations of The Worlds Happiest Man.

Deborah Julian is a photographer, innovative artist and art gallery director whose favorite subjects are cats, New York City, and travel.  

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