Celia Hart's blog about what's going on in and around her studio.
Art, printmaking, inspirations, gardening, vegetables, hens, landscapes, wild flowers, East Anglia, adventure, travel.

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Remembering and celebrating

This morning Cliff and I remembered Charlie. Charlie the cat lived with Cliff (and later, also with me) for over sixteen years, in five different houses and after a very happy life he passed away four years ago today.

As you can see, Charlie had bags of personality . . .

He was an out-doorsy, boysy, rough and tumble sort of cat, but in his retirement he sometimes spent a few hours with me in my studio sitting on my drawing board in the sunshine and that's when I painted his portrait - a Renaissance cat sitting next to his favourite plant - catmint.

Charlie could never really be described as a 'studio assistant', I think he saw himself as senior management! But my studio was so quiet and empty without Charlie checking up on me and we knew that there were cats and kittens out there needing new homes so in May the following year we adopted 'the ginger one' and his 'tabby sister' - the studio assistants.

As regualr readers of PPPs know, the studio assistants spend all day sleeping in baskets next to my desk, but when the light fades they stretch their furry catsuits and make it known that it's time for tea :-)

I know that many of you, like me, have a studio assistant or two (or many!) – mainly cats, (many ginger), some dogs. Today, in memory of Charlie, lets celebrate our studio assistants for their support, companionship and inspiration.


  1. My 'household assistant' is a blue and yellow budgie - rescued when he landed in the garden minutes after we'd seen the local sparrowhawk passing over. In spite of advertising locally no-one claimed him, though it had been so windy he could have come miles. As a juvenile he was named Primrose after the colour of his face and head. He then turned out to be male - with attitude! He ensures I vacuum regularly by strewing feathers and seeds liberally around the living room. Charlie looks true Management material. I'm not surprised you missed him.

  2. Oh Celia that's such a lovely post. Charlie looks like a great boy, he must be missed so much and your painting is a real tribute to him. As you may know, our dear tabbycat Daisy died in February at the age of 19, it hurt so much that I swore I would never get another cat. But like you I felt there were so many cats needing good homes and we had a surplus of love to give so here we are with our new assistants Jess and Bobbi.

    I always love seeing pics of your two - they are gorgeous! Oh and I love 'furry catsuits' - brilliant!

    Have a good day. Jeanne x

  3. Fabulous portrait of Charlie... What a handsome cat! I'm afraid I'm always telling my studio assistant to get out because I worry he will get pins in his paws... a hazard of being an embroiderer.

  4. Great "Renaissance" portrait, what an absolutely beautiful boy.

    Ollie, my own Studio/Garden Assistant passed away just three months ago, but how ever much times passes, you never completely forget those very special four-paws.

    We're still hurting too much but common-sense tells me that this will eventually pass. I don't need a crystal ball to know that one day there will be eight-paws - muddy, hairy ones as we bring two Beardie Collies into our lives.

  5. i wouldn't have to know charlie's name to know he was a tom!:) the house's Feline Members are extremely put-out by the seasonal time change (it's put feeding time back an hour)!!

  6. Celia,what a lovely tribute to an old friend.
    I'm sad to say that Rusty has left us.But when the tears have stopped I know we will have some smiles.Just not today.
    But thankyou for your wishes.

  7. Bless him. One of our moggies went missing for twelve days & we all felt awful. Luckily she came home.

    I have three: "kitchen assistants" in the cats and four: "gardeners" with the hens (...they are destroying everything ) ... and two SHADOWS with the dogs... don't even get me started on the kids or husband !!!

  8. I'm typing this whilst trying to keep my furry desk tidy off the keyboard. She is a desk tidy as she knocks anything you put onto the desk onto the floor. Thus the desk remains tidy!
    Lovely to remember old friends and very appropriate at this time of year.

  9. oh yes, such a warm post full of love for our assistants. I can no longer have cats and sure do miss them but my assistants are my dogs. Your Charlie looks so much like my mom's last ginger cat. My mom loved all cats but the ginger ones had a very special spot in her heart. Thank you for stirring up these warm memories. Here's to all our assistants, past and present.

  10. I loved reading about your special assistants...

    Hi Veg Heaven - how lovely of your little feathered household assistant to scatter seeds for you to hoover up.

    Hi Cottage Garden - Yes, of course we missed Charlie, but his health issues made us worry about him every day. In the end his death was very sudden from a stroke and it was good that he had enjoyed his life right to the end.

    Hi Gina - but your canine assistant takes you on inspiring country walks :-)

    Hi Bilbo - Your lovely dog Ollie will always be fondly remembered, I can tell. You'll know when you are ready to share your life with new Collies.

    Hi Petoskystone - well after all it's us who have got the time wrong - our furry friends are right to feel annoyed!

    Hi Moreidlethoughts - Oh I'm so so sorry - Rusty must have been a great character just like our Charlie. You'll have lots of happy memories of him.

    Hi Bad Penny - I loved reading about all your assistants :-) especially the hens LOL!

    Hi Alot of Veg - welcome to PPPs, 'furry desk tidy' - brilliant! My ginger assistant used to sleep in the in-tray and chew the edge of the letters! He still gets in there when he wants instant attention!

    Hi Diane - your dogs are very special, I love how you capture their characters in your photos. You're right, there is something special about ginger cats (but don't tell the tabby one!)


  11. What a wonderful painting of Charlie! Pets are like family members, aren't they? It's a huge trauma when they die. It takes me years to recover, and I never forget them, so I understand how you feel. My studio assistants don't jump on my desk thank fully!
    Love Vanessa xxx (do you mind if i knit)

  12. Hi Vanessa - thank you, all pets are special - but the ones who share our lives for many many years become part of the household.

    I love your new rag rug hobby!! Beautifully colourful as ever - I often drop into your blog for a bright zing of colour! but can only leave a comment from our laptop (my studio computer is strangely selective about what it does these days).


  13. What a handsome chap! Even though I have my own two Studio Assistants, (altho I'm sure Henry would go for the senior management title), I still have vivid memories of Dylan my tabby and white cat who died years ago. They make a special place in your heart, don't they? A lovely tribute.

  14. Amen to that. Love my absurd studio assistant Herbie, and wouldn't be without him for anything.

  15. Thank you Penny - yes indeed some cats will always be 'senior management'. Dylan sounds wonderful.

    Hi Soilman - Herbie must be a very special cat, perhaps he can do a guest spot on your blog one day?



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