Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Gifts From Deep Dark Space


I hear my mother, "You never know from where you sit, who from the balcony is going to spit". This always rang true to me, the boy, and I still never sit right under the Balcony Spit Zone.  But the Outer Space Zone is another matter.

Meet my new black cat.  Showed up on my back porch on Halloween.  "No way," I chortled. "Go away you apparition," I hissed at the thing. I mean, come on. Halloween? I've read Nataniel Hawthorn, Snow White, and MacDonald's Photogen and Nicteris. I wasn't born yesterday.

But the so-called cat was clearly starving. It had twigs and waify things in its fur. "Not falling for it!"  I opened and slammed the back door for emphasis.

Well, I couldn't let it starve could I? A few tidbits.  Next day the same. Now the cat owns me.

What does one call a seriously black, Halloween cat. I thought of the blackest things I could think of. Charcoal. Inky. Midnight. Trite, trite, trite. Tar? Skid marks. Oil spill. Burned carrots. I was pulling hard for Atramentaceous, but try saying it three times in a row. Susi said, "What about Olive?" For a boy?!!  Maybe. "What about Space?" I beamed. "It's so dark out there. And the weird cat might be from outer space. Acts like it."

"For a cat?" wife doesn't look up from laptop.

We were at loggerheads. What does that even mean? "We'll let the grandkids decide," I proclaimed.

They listened to our closing arguments like diplomats. Held counsel and announced, "The name should be Space Olive." Whoah. Profound. Think about it. What could be blacker than a black olive in outer space? Especially when you climbed inside the hole.


Art inspired by another almost all black cat, Wiley.  Holding marzipan mice.


Well? 


 I hate to be wasteful. So when my cat puts poor dead creatures on my door mat. I first lecture the cat. Then I sketch the offering.


You learn so much from observation. A must for artists. Writers. Superhero costume makers.


I even used my cats when painting this lion to see the way the fur layers.


Sometimes I hide things in my art.  In this illustration of the expulsion from Eden, I hid a cat in the flames.


See the cat? 

18 comments:

M. J. Muir said...

Nice post Richard. Your Halloween Cat could be the inspiration for a new book? I love your work as always.
Happy February in Blog land.

The Art of Kim Kincaid said...

Looks like Space Olive knew exactly whose door to come to for Trick or Treats. My two kitties are indoor cats (due to a threatening neighbor) and they still bring me their "kills". Ribbons and strings become snakes in their feline minds. This summer, they were allowed some back yard play and brought me dragonflies and grasshoppers, often not quite dead. Ick.
I am an admirer of your work. So versatile and expressive. Thank you for sharing with others your process.

Richard Jesse Watson said...

Hi MJ. Thanks for the kind words. That's a great idea to do a book about my alien cat. q:>)

Richard Jesse Watson said...

Hey, Kim. I can imagine the ribbon snakes. Yikes! Funny. love the moods in you latest posts.

Michaele Razi said...

Space Olive? The best name ever! What a great idea to sketch your cats' offerings. My cat's gifts are usually still alive--with me screaming and trying to shoo them out. Lovely and fantastic artwork as usual!

steven said...

space olive! yep i'm all over that - nice!!!! steven

Richard Jesse Watson said...

Thanks, Michaele.Glad you like Space Olive's name. Me too. Cat's are definitely a bunch of animals.

Richard Jesse Watson said...

Steven! Hey nice to hear from you. Space Olive sends his warmest hello.

Faith Pray said...

No, I can't see it! Tried. Will have to consult the book and turn the page around. Or get the kids on it - "find the cat!" Welcome, Space Olive. Dubbed the Most interesting Watson cat name yet. Nice sketches!

Richard Jesse Watson said...

Look Faithy, it's right there. No, over there. More to the left. Yeah! That's it. Good job.

Ruthie said...

Richard - "Space Olive" - now thats just sooo good. I so love kids imagination & the way they see the world, oh to keep hold of that gift! a mysterious black cat that brings offerings for your own inspiration - that was meant to be ;-)

Robin Weiss said...

Cool cat!...and a cool cat name!

I can see the mole making it into a R.J.W. illustration... or book! We should think of a name for him...or her....How do you tell?

Richard Jesse Watson said...

Ruthie, I agree. To keep the childlike view of the universe is a gift indeed. The full-on expectancy that wonderfulness is possible and on its way.

Richard Jesse Watson said...

Hey Robin! I like that idea. One of my favorite characters of all time is Mole from Wind in the Willows. There are so many characters just waiting for us to bring them to life! Knock, knock, knock, "hello, is anybody there? Let us out so we can play."

MollyMom103 said...

Cats. We have two: Mr. Tibs who was saved from certain death and Mr. Oreo, who was plucked from a shelter. Cats get in my work too. My cats are partial to birds with beautiful plumage. I wave hi.


Like the black cat.

Half-heard in the Stillness said...

I only just found your great blog and you disappeared, hope you are ok and having a good summer.

Jane

Richard Jesse Watson said...

Hi Molly sorry for the vanishing act. Mongo deadline, new book projects, busy, busy. Hope y'all are finding ways to stay cool. It has been thunderstorming here lots. Miss you.

Richard Jesse Watson said...

Hi Half-Heard-In-The_Stillness. Sorry that I have been out-to-lunch lately. Hope to get back to more blogging soon. Love your blog. This has been a time of running around like a chicken... you know. Thanks for visiting my blog. Hi from Port Townsend, WA!