About Me

My Photo
Washington, United States
loves: you win if you guessed "pets" and "museums". Also books, art history, travel, British punk, Korean kimchi, bindis, martinis, and other things TBD. I will always make it very clear if a post is sponsored in any way. Drop me a line at thepetmuseum AT gmail.com !

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

the cat and mouse: hostile takeover

thanks wikimedia commons. pd
British artist Walter Crane created the illustration above (I regret I can't find a bigger version) for a Brothers Grimm tale, "The Cat and Mouse in Partnership."  In this story, a cat misleads a mouse to think that they will have a prosperous and happy life together.  What actually happens: the cat lies about where it goes and what it finds, eats up all the treats he discovers, and leaves nothing for his friend.  In the end, the mouse gets wise and the cat eats her. Him.  Well, you can see where the genders would really be open to interpretation, though yet again the cat is the bad guy.  A version of this story about the cruel, cruel world is here.

Monday, August 03, 2015

the timeless patience of dogs

thanks wikiart.org.  PD
Any guesses on when this portrait was painted?  The answer surprised me.  Because of its immediacy and the presence and insight given to this stalwartly waiting friend, I thought perhaps the American 1930's.  Wrong: this undated "Study of a Dog" is by French Academic painter Jean-Leon Gerome (1824-1904), who must have wanted a break from harems and deserts.  This makes me think about how the drive for modernism in art must have had some link to a drive for greater intimacy in subjects; but then, I liked the golden serenity of the image for a Monday.

Sunday, August 02, 2015

a new take on cats and trashbaskets

My crew don't really care about wastepaper baskets, though they do love balled up letters and invoices and all that.  My crew are complete and utter weirdos, though.  Most cats do love a fine trashbasket full of crunchy paper and perfectly sized for snug nappin'.  Yet...what if they could get in and frolic with all the trash on your computer?  Animator Kelsey Goldych has figured this out in her hilarious short Trash Cat.

(Big thanks to TaraM for making sure I saw this!!)

Saturday, August 01, 2015

the chesma: a cat spirit

The Chesme, or Chesma iyesi, is a Turkish spirit that may take the form of a cat (or a fish, a woman, or a fairy - but it seems most well known as a cat).  In this guise it lures youths to their deaths.  Those spirits that belong to a well only are a variety called kuyu iyesi.

Did I find much more on this fascinating-sounding creature?  So far not.  I did find this jolly snippet from a children's book, Johnnykin and the Goblins (1877) in which the hero meets such a spirit:
"If I don't happen to be a girl when you speak to me," said Chesme', "you must wait, you know, till I come round to it. Come on!"
"What a beautiful large cat you are," said Johnnykin. "Is that the kind they call Persian?"
"Yes," said Chesme, very much pleased. "We are the finest cats in the world. I come from Persia. I was born in a fountain, and Chesme is the Persian word for one. All over that country and Turkey people show you fountains which are inhabited by Chesme' cats, which are only seen by moonlight, and then appear as beautiful girls, who smile all the time, and then vanish quickly into other forms, as you have seen me do. My mother's name was Empusa. She was a Greek. Ah! you ought to have seen her change!"
Since this book is Google-digitized, I'm not allowed to post images of Chesmé here, but she's delightful and you ought to see at least one of the images.  Try this link. Scroll back to pages 62 and 67.

Leland, C. Godfrey. (1877). Johnnykin and the goblins. London: Macmillan & co., 62-68.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

thursday's wednesday night salad

Summer at the Museum: the Kat eyeballs her favorite and forbidden vegetable - the potted bamboo.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

dogs: agreeable and necessary, 1858

taken at fremont solstice a few years ago
A French writer has boldly affirmed, that with the exception of women there is nothing on earth so agreeable, or so necessary to the comfort of man, as the dog.  (!!?! - curator, who is female) This assertion may readily be disputed, but still it will be allowed that man, deprived of the companionship and services of the dog, would be a solitary and, in many respects, a helpless being. Let us look at the shepherd, as the evening closes in and his flock is dispersed over the almost inaccessible heights of mountains; they are speedily collected by his indefatigable dog—nor do his services end here : he guards either the flock or his master's cottage by night, and a slight caress, and the coarsest food, satisfy him for all his trouble. . .  In many instances he has died in the defence (sic) of his master. He has saved him from drowning, warned him of approaching danger, served him faithfully in poverty and distress, and if deprived of sight has gently led him about. When spoken to, he tries to hold conversation with him by the movement of his tail or the expression of his eyes. If his master wants amusement in the field or wood, he is delighted to have an opportunity of procuring it for him; if he finds himself in solitude, his dog will be a cheerful and agreeable companion, and maybe, when death comes, the last to forsake the grave of his beloved master.  -- Jesse, E. (1858). Anecdotes of dogs. London: H. G. Bohn. 1-2
Well, I could be compared to way worse than a dog when I think about it.  And being your friendly Curator, I do think about it.  This is why I find 19th-century texts so fascinating - the points of view are like this crazy cultural zoo that I can walk by and say "Wow, look at that one."

Monday, July 27, 2015

dottie dracos brings us a lovely spaniel

image copyright and by kindest permission of the artist
Dottie Dracos, a Portland artist soon to be in residence in Central Washington, blends representational style with heightened and cheerful color in her pet portraits.  Her English Springer Spaniel above looks out at us in the full glory of wavy chestnut ears and bright brown eyes, but the teal background - and counterpoint of the destroyed yellow toy - provides perfect contrast.  See if you can block out some of the background and look at this pup's fur again.  Just not as rich looking, is it?  Which begs the question:  what color shows off your pet the very best?  I've a bright green throw on my couch against which the Kat Von D looks like a bright white jewel.
Dottie Dracos' Etsy shop is here!

Friday, July 24, 2015

charlotte's lab

image copyright and by kindest permission of the artist
Pennsylvania artist Charlotte Yealey's portrait above is chocolate lab perfection.  The blocky head, the mild and soulful alertness in the eyes, the rich fur - that fur!  See how the highlights on the cheek make it look lustrous in the low gold light.  Here's more, from her artist's statement:
Charlotte Yealey is a professional artist and her love for nature shows in each painting. Being raised on a farm in rural Pennsylvania, she grew up surrounded by animals and nature. Locally known for pet and people portraits, Charlotte wants to work on expanding her style to include the relationship with people and animals showing the love and affection we have for our pets and the appreciation for all the beautiful creatures of the world. York Academy of Arts was part of her training along with classes and workshops with various professional artists including Tom Lynch and Claudia Nice. She opened her own pet grooming business and painted portraits of pets for over 20 years, and now that her daughter runs the business she paints full time when she is not visiting local nursing homes and schools with her Therapy dogs. Charlotte instructs drawing classes for adults and children at the Hanover Area Arts Guild and in her home studio. She currently shows her art at the Hanover Area Arts Guild Gallery, York Art Association and Art & Soul Gallery in Leymone. She is also a member of the Colored Pencil Society of America and Daily Painters of PA. She sells reproductions of her art on various sites on the internet and has her own website at www.charlotteyealey.com.
You should also visit her Etsy shop, Charlotte's Web Art.