“China Cat” contemporary figurative painting
I’ve had to adjust to living at Darlene’s Home for Special Needs Kitties. It’s quite different from my life before, and there are different rules and priorities. For example, I’m not allowed to make too much noise in the shop because it makes Arthur George nervous. Also, all the furniture in our house is arranged according to which cat likes to sleep in which chair. “Oh, don’t move that. That’s where Mrs. Seuss likes to look out the window.”
I told Darlene that I was going to name this painting “Bad Cat,” but Darlene said that whoever left the bowl of soup on the table was really to blame.
Darlene’s not spent much time outside of Manhattan. She gets a little freaked out whenever we go outside of Atlanta for a variety of reasons, but mainly because she is traumatized by seeing animals on the side of the road. When we have to drive across the rural South on a car trip, if we see a stray dog walking along the highway, we have to stop and try to find where the dog lives. If necessary, we load him wet and muddy into the car and drive him to any houses Darlene sees up and down the road. We turn up gravel driveways in Alabama and knock on the door and ask the people if they know where the dog lives. Of course they never do, but when we start back out the drive, about three or four dogs follow us out, and Darlene has to get out and tell the dogs to get back to the house and to stay away from the highway. While this is going on, I’m still in the car with the first dog, who has started to whine and bark as soon as Darlene has stepped out of the car. Eventually I have to explain that it’s going to get dark soon, and the best thing to do would be to leave the dog about half a mile up the nearest gravel road just to make sure he’s away from the highway. Eventually Darlene gives in, and we leave the dog, but there are always a few tears involved, and Darlene spends the rest of the trip wishing we would have found a grocery store and left him some food. “I wonder what his name was? Do you think he would have gotten along with the cats?”
Darlene keeps begging me to take her back home to Mississippi. For some reason, I keep making excuses, and we fly to the city instead. In the city, all the dogs are escorted, all the cats live in apartments and penthouses, and I can go to the Met and the Guggenheim and relax.