I wish I was still doing this kind of work. I did the original drawing using graphite and hard lead drawing pencils. Then I had mechanical prints made from that drawing. I hand-colored them with pencils, making each one different.
My old artwork was done in the company of cats. Often they were snoozing on the drawing table or on me as I worked, exercising watchful feline supervision.
I wrote, but I was mainly a painter and mixed media artist before I became ill. After that I no longer had the fine finger coordination needed for visual artwork.
So I wrote the book Catwoods, Stories and Studies of Our Feline Companions. Writing helped me stitch mind and memory together across time. Volume 1 includes the years when I could draw and paint and collage. When I began this website I used photographs as illustrations. I’ve come to really enjoy doing photo essays. I know my photos are far from technically on point, as I don’t have a background in photography basics. It’s hard for me to learn new things now. I just use a few photo editing techniques the hubs taught me to make the color and light and dark balance closer to something I like. Which usually means, extreme bright color. I never really get the pictures exactly as I want them.
However the book is not like a photo essay. There are only pictures on the cover, no pictures inside, because they are so expensive to print. Imagery is built of words in the book. I wrote it like a painter. It dances with cats of all colors. Friends say it’s “vivid”. It’s not only about cats, it’s about the natural world, and going to live in a wilderness full of leaves and animals and insects and amphibians. It’s about art and music and work and community in the southern US in the 70s, 80s, and 90s. It’s also about the great forest of North America. This first volume goes to 2004-2005. I wasn’t from this area, but I’ve lived here 50 years. It’s southern, it’s weird; but even though I’m partial to black cats, it’s not Southern Gothic, or old-style Gothic either. It’s heavily researched, and I tried to make the science solid.
As I wrote, our savvy cats were in close attendance. Major influences on the prose are: Shakespeare, and Faulkner; fellow artist friends who were and still are into surrealism and experimental writing; the crisp, precise description found in scientific writing; the stellar story-telling abilities of US Southerners; music – I try to make syntax rhythmic, because sometimes a sentence just needs another beat. The writing style changes over the years, like real life does. The biggest influence through all times was, our cats.
The bibliography would fill several pages. I checked out a major textbook on rabies from the library (for Vol. 2), and read other cat narratives, cat mysteries, cat science, cat picture books, James Herriot stories.
So the book’s not exactly like the photo essays you read on this website (and there will be more but busy, difficult times are making us slower to get the needed work done to make space on the computer.)
The book pages are in black and white, like the above picture of Franklin.
We can add color to artwork, and soup it up in photos, as you see below:
Though the mechanisms are different, it works that way with books, too; when we read we get color and stories from black and white markings; they flash through our brains in full spectrum.
Check out this post for the ways you can get Catwoods. Shipping is free until the end of March. If you are not in the US you will have to email email@example.com to make arrangements.
Stay tuned for spring photos and uh, more cats and kittens.