I have to say—these were even better than last year, though when I asked for some relief from all the dogs and cats pouring in, a few members got a little smart-assed and sent vacuum cleaners and coils of clay. No matter. We now have a separate category for “Inanimate Studio Pets,” and maybe next year can accommodate even more mediums and more whimsy.
I wish all the photos chosen had shown pets in the studio, actively participating in the creative process by making aesthetic choices or sweeping the floors. But most are simply posing or cocking a critical eye on work in progress.
So Sylvia and I chose the winners based on time-honored principles of color, composition, lighting, and mood. First place goes to Tamara English’s portrait of Zuzu and Mariposa, at the top of this post (we loved the juxtaposition of color, pattern, and texture). Second place belongs to Alyse Rosner’s Eddy, a seven-year-old Field Spaniel who knows how to strike a pose and hold it. And Jill Bedgood’s Sibyl gets third place for her back story of courage and survival.
But of course everyone is a winner. Because you are blessed to live with the most understanding creatures on the planet.
“Really, don’t you think you should give up abstraction and focus on canine odalisques?” asks Alyse Rosner’s Eddy.
Jill Bedgood’s Sibyl survived a catfight that left her with a mangled eye. She is now recognized as one of the most discriminating art critics in the country
Still Life with Shepherds shows Euan and Shalah at their favorite studio job—”supporting the wall,” says Marieken Cochius.
Julian Hatton’s Maine Coon Cat, Brutus, rests after a long day of stretching (not canvases).
“Hey, those shoes back there?” asks Lee Albert Hill’s Fiona, a German short-hair pointer mix. “You think I could have one of those shoes? I mean, hey, you got two of them….”
“If you insist on using me as a paper weight, then I’m going to have to ask for overtime,” says Annie Coe’s Zoe.
Chistine Sauer’s Toby has been through a terrible time lately but is responding well to acupuncture. “He’s a small cat with a huge personality,” says the artist.
Leslie Fry’s Henry, who has his own Facebook page, enjoys the chance to stand guard in the artist’s sculpture garden.
Aki is learning some of the fundamentals of computer animation from his mistress, Marina Cappelletto. They also enjoy occasional games of footsie.
“Don’t be fooled by that winsome charm,” Chevy tells Tracy Linder about studio mate, Mama Cat. “I’m much better at keeping the coyotes away.”
Dana Kane has four cats, but Gizmo, who has a special fondness for Seurat, looks enchanting surrounded by circus figures
Alternative Studio Pets
Elizabeth Levine’s Bandit is made from white earthenware, meticulously glazed. He and his colleagues in the studio, Levine says, add up to “a humorous and endearing commentary on our pet centric culture,”
Muffy, Erik Gellert’s studio companion, is made from hand-rolled coils of clay, and requires minimal grooming other than an occasional sponge bath.
Sheila Miles sent three doggie portraits (and next year I’ll open the contest up to all mediums), but I found this guy the most irresistible. He is Sherman, oil on canvas, 24 by 20 inches.
Barbara Cowlin claims “Big Bird” is the most useful studio pet she’s ever owned but not much fun in bed, unless you’re into really kinky stuff.