Sometimes when I look at Kelly the only feature I can distinguish in all those tortie markings is her extremely round eyes.
“The Roundest Eyes” is a hand printed, hand tinted linoleum block print of a very round tortoiseshell cat, matted and framed and ready to hang. Image is 8″ x 12″, with mat and frame outside dimensions 11″ x 14″ or 16″ x 20″. “The Goddess” is the other print in this set.
Options for ordering:
A. Framed, double matted, tinted print (as shown), 16 x 20, $100.00
B. Framed, single matted (cream black core), tinted print, 11 x 14, $75.00
C. Double matted, tinted print, 16 x 20, $65.00
D. Single matted (cream black core), tinted print, 11 x 14, $55.00
E. Print only, tinted, $45.00
F. Print only, black and white, $35.00
Choose your print style:
ABOUT THE PRINT
As you know, I am unendingly inspired by my houseful of felines, especially my Tortie Girls. I initially designed these in 2001 because I wanted something I could print myself on a variety of things to offer inexpensively for sale and for donation; at the time high quality home printers and inexpensive digital printing were a few years in the future and all I had to offer was original art and expensive giclees.
Unlike many of the other prints I sell, I print these by hand from a hand-cut linoleum block, then each print is hand-painted in watercolor, and with the slight variations in the printing process and the individualized coloration each print is just as unique as torties themselves. “The Goddess”, featuring Cookie, is the other print in this set, and I have more information on her, below.
What enchanted me first about block prints years ago, and what I wanted most to see when I began creating with them, was the clarity of black ink on white rice paper. While I often use other colors of ink and types of paper, and when the image is my tortie girls, usually also tinted with oranges and yellows and green for their eyes, pink for nose as I had designed, the black on white is what I usually return to.
When I initially print these two they are that familiar black ink on white, and I watch the ink reveal all the cuts and trims I made on the surface of the block to create their image, it makes me smile as I remember designing the prints and cutting the blocks, and I remember my girls and the inspiration they gave me.
The Roundest Eyes
In designing the set, I didn’t have a signature photo of Kelly as I did Cookie lying on the floor, but I did know how I thought of Kelly—sitting at attention, paws and tail neatly placed, a little uncertain and with very round eyes. When I pictured her, this was what I saw.
I began with a few photos of Kelly sitting in this position—in the days before digitals so I had to wait for film to be developed—sketched it out, then filled in the details by observation. It was a real trick since Kelly never sits still for too long. And I actually wanted two different orientations so Cookie was the horizontal image and Kelly the vertical one.
The design of “The Roundest Eyes” doesn’t have a long and detailed story as does “The Goddess”, but between the two, while Cookie gets more notice and stories which I’ve collected over the years, Kelly sells more t-shirts and prints…we just never let Cookie know that. Last year a young couple just getting engaged purchased one of each shirt to wear in their engagement photos too!
Customizing your tortie print
To a certain extent I can take an untinted print and hand-tint it to resemble your favorite tortie. I can’t remove any of the black that is there or paint over it, but I’ve done several to date. Here are examples of how I customized “The Goddess”.
Rosie from the UK
“I found your print of “The Goddess” and think she looks like my cat, Rosie…I live in the UK and was wondering if it was possible to get a print without the frame… If they’re not coloured, would it be possible to get one coloured like Rosie if I sent you a photo? I’m assuming not but thought I’d ask! (Of course I could, and the finished print is below.)
“We got Rosie when I was 11. My dad told me we were going to mum’s boss’s house to pick something up and asked if I wanted to go with him, and as Annie, the boss, had two ginger cats my sisters and I loved to play with I went. When I got there I saw a tiny purring little bundle of fluff and claws and played with her for about an hour. Then dad came in and told me to pick her up, we were going home!
“15 years later, and we’ve moved to another city. Rosie is still going strong, mum had a terrifying moment a few years ago when she felt a lump in Rosie’s belly and [went] to the vets with the instructions to not allow her to be in pain….The vet sent her back with a packet of diet cat food. She’s a wonderful purry old thing, with a beautiful temperament—she had to have one to grow up in a house of 3 little girls and all the neighbourhood kids!
“Whilst we got Rosie as a kitten, Polly is the tortie who holds my heart. She was much more than a cat and was my constant companion for the two years we had her. I adored her, she adored me. Then one night she escaped, and my housemate forgot about her and didn’t let her in. I returned home to find her missing and we spent 4 days looking for her, I was distraught and couldn’t cope without her, but then we got a phone call from the vets, Polly was found by a lovely lady (who was also owned by a tortie – Mitzy) who realised how sick she was and took her to the vets. She lasted 2 days before dying of anti-freeze poisoning.”
A tortie print to honor your favorite tortie
I love a good rescue story, and I am always heartened by the stories of rescues and so much love that people share about the torties who share their lives.
A customer ordered this matted and framed print a few days ago. I received the notice in e-mail, then just a few minutes later I received an e-mail from that customer with a photo attached.
“Hi, Bernadette…just thought you’d like to see who I’ve purchased your piece in memory of. This is Java…the best little tortie girl I’ve had the pleasure of knowing. Can’t wait to get it.”
Java is lovely with those pale green eyes and lots of speckles all through her fur, and a very direct and focused expression. Torties are unique not only in markings but also in purrrsonality, and whether they be the ones who make it clear they are the boss or, like my Cookie and Kelly, are non-stop sweet, they are devoted and demand your devotion in return.
I’m always sad at the loss of a kitty and couldn’t be more honored than for someone to purchase a piece of my artwork as a permanent memory of a beloved cat. I was very touched for Java’s human to send Java’s photo and her note along with her order and I asked if I could share Java’s photo and her note. It warms my heart, as I remember Kelly and near the first anniversary of her passing, to know that her Kelly’s image is traveling off to another household to provide comfort and love. I promise my cats they will never be forgotten and I always hope my art ensures that.
My sympathies to Java’s human, I know that she will be one of the torties I think about when I look at prints of The Roundest Eyes.