New year, with various cats

Smilodon californicus, sabertooth cat replica skull with tar pit finish. Measures 14 1/2" long, and those sabers are 6". Best Christmas gift ever- thank you Ant Man!
Smilodon californicus, sabertooth cat replica skull with tar pit finish. Measures 14 1/2″ long, and those sabers are 6″. Best Christmas gift ever- thank you Ant Man!

I’m a cat lover, which doesn’t mean anything but it’s a nice excuse to share kitty pics with you. The Smilodon skull above is a fabulous museum quality cast of a fossil, purchased from the Museum of Osteology’s gift shop. Ant Man gave it to me as a token of love, and nothing says love like an extinct mega predator with six inch canines. It goes nicely with last year’s allosaurus, and bison skull.

Clydesdale consorts with kitten, impossibly cute scene in a barn in Yukon, Oklahoma. An enormous horse named Prince affectionately gnawed the nape of an unnamed barn cat, which purred as the piano-key teeth surrounded its head and chewed lightly. Watercolor over pencil.
Clydesdale consorts with captivating kitty in an Oklahoma Clydesdale barn. Watercolor over pencil.

Last spring I wrote a feature for Oklahoma Today Magazine on a Clydesdale team in Yukon, Oklahoma. The barn cats there were super happy- they could sleep high up on the backs of huge, sweet-smelling, hoofed, heated sofas. I sketched a friendly beast named Prince, who used his big yellow teeth like a row of piano keys to fondly gnaw the head of a purring tabby.

Heidi the cat sniffs at her portrait, in water-soluble graphite in a Stillman & Birn sketchbook. Christmas Day, Lincoln, Nebraska.
Heidi the cat sniffs at her portrait, in water-soluble graphite in a Stillman & Birn sketchbook. Christmas Day, Lincoln, Nebraska.

Christmas in Nebraska, where Ant Man’s people are from, is a regular tradition. A new cat joined the cast this year; she’s a friendly long-haired tabby with a bullseye on her flank. A nice poser, too. Heidi’s her name. We got along well.

Sleeping jaguar, drawing and initial underpainting. Oil on canvas, 48" x 24".
Sleeping jaguar, drawing and initial underpainting. Oil on canvas, 48″ x 24″. Note the bison skull on the wall behind it.

I think this painting might be life-sized. Remember my day at the Tulsa Zoo? I got this nice sketch of a jaguar just before it scared the pampers off a little girl who smacked her hands adorably against the glass as her doting mother smiled. Still warms my heart to remember it. The zoo sketch is now on its way to being an oil painting.

Gizmo, safely asleep. Pastel on paper, about 30" long. Cute!
Gizmo, safely asleep. Pastel on paper, about 30″ long. Cute!

And did you know that there’s a spot on the corner of your wrist that, if a cat bites it slightly, your whole hand goes numb? Gizmo taught me that. She’s so adorable, curled adorably on my lap this very moment. I’m trying not to wake her, since she has an occasional hair-trigger reaction when you bang on the glass, so to speak. Did I mention she used to be a barn cat? If I were a giant Clydesdale horse, she might enjoy a tooth massage, too. I have a great deal of respect for cats, all of them. They’re cute and captivating. And terribly sharp.

Happy Friday.

10 thoughts on “New year, with various cats

  1. rebeccastahr says:

    Yeah I found a fellow artist who loves bones and skulls… My friends lovingly tease me about that obsession. What an awesome gift! Also, I ride horses and the barn cats interacting with the horses are amazing… Love that painting!

    1. zeladoniac says:

      I hardly know any artists who don’t love bones. They’re nature’s sculptures. Wish I rode horses, though. What a great gift to have that skill. Thanks!

  2. Jim Bortz says:

    I had to look at that photo of the skull 3 times before I could recognize the scale. It looks 5 feet tall!!! HA! Really nice. I am very jealous!

  3. fionrk says:

    Well what can one say about a man who buys his significant other a skull for Christmas! Whatever floats your boat. And the jaguar painting is going to be absolutely awesome!

    1. zeladoniac says:

      Stefanie- it appeared in the September/October Cowboy issue. No drawings of sleeping on horseback kitties, but there’s one of a nice dalmation named Hitch and another Prince portrait. I write/illustrate a regular column for them now- thanks for asking!

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