“O lovely Pussy! O Pussy my love, What a beautiful Pussy you are, You are…”From Edward Lear’s famous Limerick “The Owl and the Pussy-cat”. It is said that the cat in the Limerick was based on Lear’s cat. Not sure about the Owl, Maybe he had a pet owl as well. who knows! We are engaged by stories that give animals human qualities. The owl and the pussy cat have a romance and get married, by a Turkey, no less. On a “land where the Bong-tree grows”! Owls and cats would obviously do no such thing. But we find that charming.
I think there is something else that attracts us to cats. Their indifference perhaps? Rudyard Kipling hit the nail on the head in his just so story, “The cat that walked by himself”. Of all the domesticated animals the cat has remained wild. Maybe we like their aloof nature, their inherent wildness.
This watercolour was a Battle! Technically I wanted to get a simple shape, kind of in keeping with how children draw cats. round head, round body, and stick legs. The head was the struggle! I kept doing and re-doing the shape, I knew it needed to be heart-shaped, but finally when i re-did the muzzle it all slotted into place! You can see an eairler version of the painting here
Image © Daniel Mackie
View All the cats at The DM Collection
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There’s a lot of ancient mythical beasts which seem pretty isolated, unique to a country’s culture, or even to a specific region. Others, like mermaids, dragons, and giants, are intercultural, being known by many. The Phoenix is one of these mythical superstars, and was known by the Greeks, the Romans, the Egyptians, and even by the Chinese.
In the year 1500 BC, the Israelites who had settled in Egypt had significantly grown in numbers. So much so that the Pharaoh at the time grew fearful of them: paranoid that they would eventually take over. Forgetting that it was actually an Israelite by the name of Joseph - yes, the guy with the groovy coat - who had guided the Egyptian people away from famine a few hundred years earlier, the Pharaoh made all the Israelites slaves. Things then took a most heinous turn when the Pharaoh ordered the midwives to drown all male Hebrew babies at birth.