Why am I painting cats?

When I'd captured a tiny black kitten that eventually was named Canuck, she was a barely-weaned (and starving) orphaned feral kitten. 
I adopted her (or did she adopt me?) and she became a most wonderful companion pet for nearly 25years. 

In December of 2009 Canuck passed away and I decided to find another feral or homeless cat for a pet. This time, instead of  capturing a feral cat, I adopted a homeless kitten from the Pet Paw-See no-kill shelter located in Great Falls, Montana. I named this kitten Neko.
Neko had been dropped, nameless and homeless, into a pen at one of the Pet Paw-See's adopt-a-thon events. She could have been just as easily  dropped into the Missouri River nearby. I'm glad that the person who had her decided to give her a chance at the Pet Paw-See, even though it was accomplished not in the usual way. Neko is a joy.

Since adopting Neko, I still visit the Pet Paw-See website and have noticed that several cats have been available for adoption for a long time. Some are very old (hard to find homes for "seniors"), some have special needs (again hard to find homes), and some simply have been overlooked for a long time. Not all the cats are feral; a percentage of the cats are either "owner turn-in" or abandoned. In August (2011) I started painting portraits of these and other cats on the shelter's website.

It's challenging to create portraits that capture something essential about each feline. Also, the paintings are my way of saying that each animal is worthy of our respect and consideration. That said, I wanted to help Pet Paw-See continue their efforts to care for animals awaiting adoption. I've decided to donate a percentage of the  price of each painting sold to the Great Falls Pet Paw-See (25% to 30% depending on a painting's size.) 

What is my work method?

Each painting (whether it's a cat portrait or some other subject) begins as a free-hand drawing with a hog bristle brush and oil paint directly on the canvas or specially prepared paper I've chosen to use. I work completely free-hand -- I do not use projectors or other means to transfer reference materials.

My initial drawing is very gestural and flowing. Often it is a series of lines moving over lines and it greatly influences how I proceed with the painting process. Sometimes the marks of the gestural drawing remain visible or are reinforced by subsequent brush strokes in the final painting. 

If I have a photograph as a reference for a specific animal, then  I refer to it initially to be sure to note key physical characteristics (for example, some cats have noticeably round heads while others are oval or narrow, wide set versus close set eyes, etc.) Once those keys are established (sometimes more in my mind than on the canvas or paper) then the photo reference is set aside. Design/composition may start out with a concept but that can also evolve as a direct result of my interaction with the painting process.

Paint quality is important to me. By paint quality, I mean that I am not trying to reproduce a photograph. Rather, I am interested in creating a work of art that contains elements of design, movement, color and an energy flow evidenced by the brush strokes which are a record of my thought process.

Purchase and Shipment

Sold paintings are shipped upon receipt of payment (I accept PayPal. Email me for details.)
If a buyer prefers to make a direct donation to the Pet Paw-See themselves, then I ship the painting after receipt of payment to me and confirmation of the donation to the Pet Paw-See. 

Please email me if you wish to purchase a work or have questions.  
Some works may, from time to time, be posted here and in my Etsy shop (which can accept paypal.)  Also, on my blog I documented much of the start of what is becoming a series of works about cats.
Mae Ling
Oil on gesso archival paper
Image size approx 12 x 8 inches

I've not met Mae Ling, but her name brought to mind the moon, the sea, the journey and exotic intrigue. 

In the painting Mae Ling wears a Chinese coin on a red ribbon around her neck. She is a world traveler about to stow away on  the next junket to leave the harbor for distant exotic lands.

I'm happy to say that, since completion of this painting, Mae Ling has been adopted.

Matted & Framed in ornate silver-tone frame that matches frames on Samese Eyes paintings (to see those paintings click for more feline art near end of this page.)
Painting is available for purchase.

25% of purchase price of this painting will be donated to Pet Paw-See for care of felines still seeking adoption.

Questions? Click Here to Email

Want to purchase? Click Here to Email

C.S. Poppenga -ARTiculations  P.O. Box 28,  Lewistown,  Montana  59457   For Feline Art Email: carol@poppenga.com
Click image to see close-up detail .
Commissioned paintings of your favorite feline also qualify for making a donation to Pet Paw-See!

Meet Thomas Big Eater, a big green-eyed gray tabby! 
He's not a Pet Paw-See cat seeking adoption but the sale of this commissioned painting generated a 30 percent donation to to the no-kill shelter. 
 And that helps felines not as fortunate as this tabby.

Click on the image to see close up detail  of this painting.

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This page was last updated: September 27, 2015
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Click image to see close-up detail .