Deconstructed Calico

I’ve been making a virtual collection of calico cat images on Pinterest. I have a board called “Deconstructed Calico,” because I kept finding images with the calico palette (red/orange, black, and white) that weren’t pictures of calico cats! I’ve found that trio of colors–plus the often added complement, green–on images of quilts, on African textiles, paintings of the Aboriginal dreamtime, on cat cartoons, and on stationery.

I love how it looks like the artist, photographer, or designer thought about calico cats, but then distilled out the colors and applied them in other manners than just being combined on one cat (or tricolor collie, or Beagle, or . . . . ).

I’ve been wanting to share some of these images in various blog posts, but (tech spoiler), I can’t get any of them to upload, so damn, I give up trying to share them here. I’m just going to share the link to my “Deconstructed Calico” Pinterest board instead, and you can wander on over and see the red/black/white textiles and Manets and stationery!

I hope you like all the ways in which calico gets expressed . . . if you think about it: http://pinterest.com/cocoowen2/deconstructed-calico/

If you have some images of calico split into its three constituent colors–like the image below–and you want to share, please leave a comment with a link to the image.

Pinterest featue in Metro - 27th February 2012

Pinterest feature in Metro – 27th February 2012 (Photo credit: Great British Chefs)

Calicos In Business

Calico Cat Motel

I love this sign! I’ve had the image on my desktop for months, waiting to go into a blog post. It isn’t the pinkish cat image I like (not very calico), but the coloring and typography of the sign itself, especially the words “Calico Cat”. Cool, retro font! I found the photo of the sign on Pinterest (yes, home to my many calico images) and the hotel is apparently in Tacoma, WA.

I’d almost stay there just for the sign. I wonder if it’s a hip motel, or one of those, um, motels by-the-hour kind of place.

I’ve been collecting calico images in three categories beyond the obvious one of calico cat images:

1) other calico (i.e., tricolor) animals,

2) what I call “deconstructed calico”–i.e., anything using the calico palette not in one cat, and sometimes not in a cat at all, and

3) calico cats on objects (like this sign), as objects. What I might call calico-as-commodity or calicos in advertising. Regular readers of Catty Callie may remember my informal marketing survey of how often images of calicos and tricolors are used to sell pet products.

Here is another cool calico-in-business, the Cat & Fiddle in Los Angeles:

Cat & Fiddle

And just in case you’re visiting Tokyo soon, you can go to the Calico Cat Cafe (see below). Do send along any other images you’ve found of calicos in business!

Cats and the “Aesthetic Sense”

I have found lots of great images of calicos on Pinterest. One source of interesting classical Japanese and Chinese images is a board called “Classical Asian Paintings at the Museum of Cat Art” (found here). It is part of an extensive “Museum of Cat Art” at Pinterest. There are numerous other boards of Japanese cat art there as well. I’m not sure who runs it, or I would tell you!

[*Breaking news update: I found out who is the curator there. It is Tama Neko. Good work, Tama!]

This is a link to my calico board on Pinterest (click here).

In case you were about to roll your eyes and think, “Yeah, cat people are crazy!” read this quote, which is the slogan for the Museum of Cat Art on Pinterest:

“To respect the cat is the beginning of the aesthetic sense.” – Erasmus Darwin

So there.

Now enjoy!

Source: picmonkey.com viaCat on Pinterest

Source: lemewsee.tumblr.com via Coco on Pinterest

Now this is a busy Japanese piece with lots of busy calicos!

Source: google.com via Coco on Pinterest

Notice the clever little calico kitten playing in the lower left-hand corner in the image below, and the other one hiding just to the right of what’s probably the mother cat:

 

Source: en.wikipedia.org via Coco on Pinterest

Source: russelldjones.ru via Coco on Pinterest

  

The image is by Kaho Tuye, who lived in the 17th century.

Source: mollat.com via Coco on Pinterest

(The Zen Cat)

“A Couple Of Wittgensteins Slinking…”

In solidarity with our winter-bound friends on the East coast, here is a lovely short essay on ‘the mind of
winter’ by poet Charles Simic. It’s on the New York Review of Books blog.

Note the essay’s fourth section, in which he imagines the natural philosophizing of cow, dog, and cat around him–those “Wittgensteins slinking around back porches in the vicinity.”

So, if your cat were a philosopher, which one would s/he be?

I’ll have to think about that one because I can’t really think of Callie thinking, but rather as purely existing. That makes me think of her (as with our perception of all cats) as a Zen practitioner.

But that is a well-worn trope and probably a facile misreading (either of cats or of Zen). Maybe I should rephrase this and ask what Western philosopher’s thought a cat would exemplify.

Simic invokes Wittgenstein; I don’t know enough philosophy to have an opinion.

Anyone?

Read his essay here:

www.nybooks.com/blogs/nyrblog/2011/jan/04/winter-philosophers

Callie on a footstool-cum-meditation bench

20130209-083428.jpg

Gwen John’s Cat Portraits

I came across this lovely portrait on Pinterest some time ago and pinned it to my Calico Cat board there. (Pinterest, by the way, is where I often find images of calicos, and my Calico Cat board is where I collect them for potential later use here!) I looked at this portrait whenever I added something to my board and was always touched by the expressiveness of this seemingly simple picture.

Gwen John-Cat

Finally I went back to the original source of the image. I found out that it is a well-known portrait by the Welsh artist Gwen John (1876 – 1939) who did many now highly-regarded portraits of women in France, her adopted home. Some of these portraits are in the collection of the Tate Museum in Britain. At the time, it was thought her portraits were old-fashioned since they used subtle color and were traditionally posed, figurative portraits. Her reputation seems to be growing because of the beauty of her compositions, their depth, and that subtlety of color.

I was taken aback that I’d never heard of her–though her brother, Augustus John, was also a famous painter and she was Auguste Rodin’s mistress for some years. [Do I need to point out that she has used the calico colors in her self-portrait below? Look at the dress and the cameo pin at her throat!]

Self-Portrait (1902)

I found more of her work in the Tate Museum collection. From their website here, I learned that Gwen loved cats and had a number of them. The cat in the portrait above was named Edgar Quinet–after the street near her place in Paris–though the cat was female. At some point Edgar disappeared, and Gwen was quite upset.

Here is another of her cat sketches

Cat (1904) Gwen John

Cat (1904) Gwen John

Gwen John’s cats are tortoiseshell rather than calico, but the color scheme is the same. By the way, if I understand correctly, the difference between tortoiseshell and calico cats is that the black, red, and white colors in a tortoiseshell cats are mixed together rather than being in large, discrete patches.

So here is a tortoiseshell kitty

Tortiecat

Tortiecat (Photo credit: LuAnn Snawder Photography)

while here is a calico . . . well, make that two!

2013_01_090011d

2013_01_090011d (Photo credit: Gwydion M. Williams)

Here’s a last pencil and watercolor portrait by Gwen John

Cat Cleaning Itself (1904–1908), pencil and wa...

Cat Cleaning Itself (1904–1908), pencil and watercolor (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

I think Edgar–if indeed this is also she–looks almost calico here because of the broad brushstrokes, but if tortoiseshell is the preferred term in Europe (as I’ve read somewhere), then tortie she is.

A Visual Poem (In Calico Colors)

I wanted to share a piece called “High Density” by Rosalie Gascoigne (1917 – 1999) because of the text and the colors she used. It is a visual poem–or Vispo–done in a beautiful calico palette. I can’t get it to embed correctly, so here it a link to it on the tumblr blog of visual poet Anatol Knotek:

http://visual-poetry.tumblr.com/post/458469529/high-density-by-rosalie-gascoigne-1917-1999#.UQBW-aUlZlI

Now that I did that, Zemanta/Wordpress is suggesting these other art works–in the calico palette. How can it tell what I mean by that?? I mean, is it making visual matches, or does the search feature understand what ‘calico’ means?

But wait! I guess I should have done my research before posting, hmm? Zemanta just knows Rosalie Gascoigne’s work when it sees her name. It didn’t give me her name with the captions provided (see below), but the first two are her work. I don’t know why the second one says “Gascoigne Monaro,” except that I learned she lived in the Monaro area (in Australia) at some point.

Here is a link to a gallery/site about her work:

http://www.abc.net.au/arts/headspace/tv/express/gascoigne/default.htm

 

Metropolis, 1999 (detail)

Metropolis, 1999 (detail) (Photo credit: aur2899)

gascoigne monaro

Gascoigne Monaro (Photo credit: One Thousand Words)

Poem and calligraph

Poem and calligraph (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A Lady With Tigers (via Tumblr)

Is the lady accordionist in this charming illustration by Naomi Wilkinson harping while dreaming of tigers? Are the tigers dancing the polka? Flying? Burning?

Check it out!

naomiwilkinson.tumblr.com/image/22727922108

Here’s William Blake’s Tyger poem, with his engraving, to which I’m alluding
William Blake's "The Tyger," publish...

William Blake’s “The Tyger,” published in his Songs of Innocence and of Experience (Photo credit: Wikipedia)