February 07,2020

                                         Excerpt from
                                  STONE AND CANVAS©️
                                          Written by
                           Nana Cook and Charlotte Madison
                                    Copyright 2019 offices;

                     #39 Kittens©

On occasion I caught sight of the kittens but the entire family bolted the moment I appeared. I knew the mother was dining with Mrs. Nickson so I was not worried.

            I looked through the glass doors onto the carport and noticed the mother cat sitting staring at me. I walked closer and closer to the doors and she did not move. The three kittens sat primly and closely bunched eight feet away from their mother.

            I decided to see how close I could get to the beautiful mother. If it was possible to catch her, I could get her spayed. Slowly, I pulled open the door. She did not move! I stepped through and although I was barely four feet from her, she only stared at me. I wondered if she was injured and as I wondered how close to step, she turned to the kittens and spat at them. They did not move. Their mother abruptly stood and revealed a dead bird lying in the gravel by her side. She continued to stare at me, then walked away, leaving three kittens and one dead bird — I did not realize the bird was payment for feeding the kittens for the rest of their lives. It was months before I saw her again.

              I ignored the incident until I noticed the previously fuzzy, round, little kittens were always in sight ungroomed and getting thinner every day. Suddenly I realized I had not seen the mother with them. They were starving to death! I headed for the kitchen and prepared a little milk mixed with an egg on a large flat plate. Their fear kept them afar but after I returned to the house to watch them through the window, they slinked toward the plate several times then finally flicked a paw into the milk, stepped in and began to lap in frantic bursts as they eased their painful appetites and thirst. When they finally ran away they were wearing food enough for a snack.

            G.B. always kept a big water bowl filled for passing critters, thereafter I kept a shallow bowl filled, freshened and sneaked portion of every meal we had — to the kittens.

            I was bewildered, how long could I hide the fact from G.B. that he was the father of three tiny kittens. Then I had frightening visions of a future hunting behind furniture in nine rooms for three big cats who might have sneaked inside the house while G.B. screamed at me to “MOVE!”.

              A couple of days after I began to feed them G.B. walked into the house and said anxiously, “Charle I want y’all to go over to Zetler’s and get a big sack a cat food an’ start to feedin’ an’ waterin’ those kittens. They can live in the shed. Be sure y’all feed an’ water ‘em every day. Them blue bowls’d be good to use — jes’ don’t wash ‘em with people dishes. Sweetheart they’re a-gonna die if y’all don’t get some food to ‘em. Here — till y’all get to the store, give ‘em the last of my supper.” I was speechless! “Ther mother must a been killed. They need help Jes’ don’t let ‘em in my house.”

             “What are you saying G.B.? If we feed them they’ll think they belong here.” You don’t like cats and this is three cats!”

             “It’s fer y’all Charle I love y’all so much. I recon I can stand a few cats. BUT DON’T LET THEM GOD DAMNED ANIMALS INTO MY HOUSE!”

            They were mine! I walked out and called to them, but it would be many months before I was fast enough to touch one. I sat on the step and watched them as I pondered names. One was dark blue gray long fur and painfully timid and conscientious. I called her Shy. Another was almost identical to Shy but she was more seductive and had a complex design on her nose and brow, I called her Fancy. I named the sleek white male Snow.

             G.B. was not a man to stop for cats, and for a while I feared that he would mow them down as he drove through the carport, but they remained so timid I never did see even a near miss.

Posted by Charlotte Madison at 02:09
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For over forty years, painting related totally to the American Southwest. It was people of the dry hot desert, solid mesas, cacti, stone and canyons that made my heart leap.

When I realized I would never see the desert again, I began a search for something to paint. Nana suggested, B.C, vineyards and took me to Penticton where I did one painting. Nana and Gary then began to take me on Mystery tours of the island and always included a vineyard. But they all were so green! So many leaves so many trees - I don't do trees and I rarely use green - dont really like looking at green, but I got started on a duty series not an inspired series.

I guess it was July or early August when we were driving home from a winery visit. I was grousing about painting the Festive Flying Grape series when Gary said "Start another series, you can work on more than one at a time."

For some reason those words triggered the words "I could paint the Island artists!" Nana and Gary agreed and it was the topic of conversation all the way home

For a while I was afraid I wouldn't get volunteers to pose but it is rolling and each one offers something special to inspire me. And it is lovely to feel all I am doing was sparked by Gary and like all I do, supported by Nana.

April Update 2012 Sixteen fine artists, many of national repute, have posed for Artists of Vancouver Island and many are booked or promised. There will be no poses after June 30,2012. When I have painted all twenty-five I will turn my thought to . . . what next?