Simon has kept residence at the Church of the Advent since July of 2012, and a parishioner, Julianne Ture, documents his antics on Facebook and Instagram. He is the latest in a long succession of church cats at the church.
He takes his job very seriously, as you can see in the slideshow photos below.
Painting Simon’s portrait was a bit of a challenge for me. I wanted to capture his personality, as well as express something about the spiritual environment that is his domain.
It is a study in contrasts. His countenance is a mixture of mischief and pride, both stately and comical at the same time. His domain, on the other hand, is very regal with beautiful woodwork and ceremonial furnishings. Behind the scenes, Simon keeps the office in working order, and he manages the church’s recycling program.
You can see that Simon is a very busy cat. He is very friendly as well, and he is very observant of the job description that was developed for his predecessor Jeoffry. I wonder…are there lint rollers hidden in the sacristy to keep the vestments and pillows free of Simon fluff?
Cat portraits are always fun for me to paint, but Simon’s was an extra special treat. I hope someday to meet this amazing beast. Thank you, Julianne, for sharing Simon’s antics in cyberspace, and thanks for the opportunity to paint his portrait!
Many of the animals whose portraits I am commissioned to paint come from humble beginnings. Often, a pet who has been rescued from dire circumstances becomes a beloved pet, and the humans whose lives are touched by it ask me to paint the animal’s portrait.
Few, however, have as compelling a story as my most recent subject, Claude.
Claude is a blind white cat who lives in Phoenix, AZ. He once was part of a feral cat colony tended by two dedicated human caregivers who continue to feed the group and ensure that all of the cats are neutered. As one of his caregivers, Kate tells it:
One day I noticed that Claude was running into things and couldn’t find his way through the hole in the fence where we feed them. He had recently had a big wound on the side of his head and that is probably what caused him to loose his sight.
I was able to pet him when he was eating so I scooped him up and brought him inside. I’m the only one who can pet him and only if the moment is right and I approach him from the right angle. But once I start petting him he loves it! He’s been in the studio for two years now and he’s fat and happy! Well, as happy as a grumpy cat can be…
Living on the streets in a feral colony is not an easy life for a cat. Being blind and on the street is a tragedy waiting to happen. Thankfully, Claude had a savior, and he now lives a great life indoors.
But the story does not end there.
Claude did not stumble his way into just any studio. He found his way into the studio of Kate Benjamin, Cat Style Expert, founder of cat style website Hauspanther, and recently honored New York Times Best-selling Author for her co-authored book Catification with Jackson Galaxy.
Claude is not only living a life of comfort now. He is living in style!
Although he cannot see the great colors in the cat bed upon which he lounges in his portrait, he certainly knows that he is of value, and that his caregiver loves him deeply. He has clearly “catified” his domain, and I am certain he has had the opportunity to test out some of the most fabulous cat style products available on the market.
Catification, in case you wondered, “is about creating feline-friendly environments that cater to a cat’s natural instincts to climb, perch, rest, play, and own their space.” It is as much about creating a home environment that allows for cats’natural behavior as it is about creating a stylish dwelling for cat lovers.
I have known Claude’s caretaker Kate for a few years, and I have admired her style and unique knowledge about cats. Her partnership with Jackson Galaxy of Animal Planet’s My Cat From Hell not only brings an element of celebrity to her work, it also brings a mix of style and knowledge about cat behavior to people who desire the best for their cats. Kate has been featured in various media, includingThe New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, USA Today, NY Daily News, and CBS Sunday Morning, and she often is a guest on Animal Planet’s My Cat From Hell with cat behaviorist Jackson Galaxy.
Beyond all of that, Kate is a wonderful person who lives a life dedicated to her own 12 cats, as well those beloved by many around the world.
“I would like to see every cat in a happy, loving, forever home, and I want to keep them there through design.”~Kate Benjamin
Painting Claude’s portrait was a privilege. I cannot wait to see the painting take it’s place in such a wonderfully catified space!
Interested in a portrait of your pet? Click here for more information.