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Archive for January, 2012

Healing plants of Hawaii

January 27th, 2012 26 comments


A lot of you know that my husband spent nearly 2 months in the hospital, with the resultant weight loss and weakness from the length of time he was there. He was home for almost a month with no appreciable weight gain when we left for a week of sun in Hawaii.
We stayed in Kona, which is a bit more rural and agricultural than a lot of the Hawaiian hot spots. And as a result, we had access to fresh produce; with 2 farmer’s markets within 3 miles of where we were staying. We ate papaya every single day; and avocado, strawberry bananas, lemons, macadamia nuts, mangoes, passion fruit and pineapple. We found papaya trees like these everywhere, and sometimes, beneath them, we found fruit just laying there, waiting to be eaten. We sat underneath a Macadamia nut tree and ate nuts that were laying beneath our feet. (they are tough to crack!)
I am happy to report that my husband gained more than 3 pounds in one week. He did NOT drink the high protein drinks his doctor suggested; he ate fruit, fruit, fruit; fresh every day. (and other good stuff too; like chocolate).


My nephew Paolo lives in Kona, and he is very attuned to the native (and non-native) plants in the area. He took us under his wing, answering our many questions about this plant and that. Our first day there, I discovered a ubiquitous tree full of big fat fruits. They reminded me of the breadfruit, so I was certain when I saw this one; that I had found yet another plant full of sustenance, free for the taking, as they were everywhere. This plant is called the Noni. It’s in the mulberry family and it was brought to Hawaii by the original Polynesian settlers for its healing properties. I picked up a fruit, and it smelled like rotten cheese! Hawaiians put this stuff on infections. You don’t eat it. Lucky for me, I didn’t have to try it.

These two paintings are out of my travel journal. Stay tuned next week for a new wildcat painting.

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Chace – the story of one serval

January 18th, 2012 35 comments

Gather round, I have a story to tell. While the Serval Cat, native to Africa, can be found south of the Sahara desert, it is not considered to be endangered, even though they are now extinct in many areas like Morocco,Tunisia and Algeria.
This painting is of a cat named Chace, whose early life is unknown, but he was rescued from a perilous situation in 2007. A woman was walking down the street one day in upstate New York when she saw what appeared to be a wild animal crazily crashing into the windows of a home. Animal control officers quickly rescued the cat and discovered that he had been left without food for some time, having resorted to eating furniture stuffing to survive. The house was abandoned by a drug dealer, who had apparently returned from time to time with food for the serval cat.
Chace was lucky, they nursed him back to health and eventually sent him to where he lived out the last few years of his life safely and comfortably.

Servals are wild animals and are not suitable as pets. There are people who breed and sell these cats, they are taken from their mothers at birth and declawed. They are great while they are kittens, but the older they get the more solitary and timid they become. They are huge (for house cats) weighing in up to 35 pounds. They require a very specific diet to thrive. They are rather destructive because they can jump 15 feet up and are extremely athletic and even while neutered at a really young age, both males and females tend to spray.

Servals can be found in sanctuaries and museums all over, so of the cats I have so far depicted, you have a good chance of being able to see one alive.

Chace died after living at the wildlife sanctuary for about 2 years from kidney failure. They estimated his age to be around 13 years of age, which is not too bad for a cat who was so badly mistreated.
This painting is not for sale.

reference photo taken by Dan Butterworth.

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The Fishing Cat

January 8th, 2012 33 comments

The Fishing Cat (Prionailurus viverrinus) is a medium-sized wild cat of South and Southeast Asia. They are twice the size of a domestic cat. Their claws do not retract all the way like most cats, and they love water. Not only do they swim and fish, but they swim underwater for long distances. Fishing cat territory is unfortunately, prime waterfront property where human development continues to destroy habitat and over-exploit fish stock. Fishing cats are forced to eke out an existence among human settlements, even in cities, where they are hunted and blamed for predation of chickens and other small livestock. Luckily there are some foundations that are working to protect them and give them sanctuaries where they and other wild animals can live.
This painting is for sale 8.5″ x 11.5″ and for only $150.00! The proceeds will go towards renting two fishing ponds in Thailand to help conserve these wonderful cats.

Read more about fishing cats: http://www.fishingcatproject.info/

Want to hear a Fishing Cat’s meow? http://catinwater.files.wordpress.com/2011/04/embarking-on-a-mad-journey.m4a

About the painting:
I depicted the cat on a rock, which is like a small island, depicting the fragility of their existence today. The reference photo was taken from a large group of photos taken by a Russian couple who have a Fishing cat in their home. They have given open permission to use their images.

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A cat called the Kodkod – Oncifelis guigna

January 2nd, 2012 46 comments


Happy New Year!

Imagine a cat smaller than the cat on your lap; but it looks just like a Jaguar. What an amazing little creature! According to wikipedia they weigh up to five and one half pounds (my tiny cat Nutmeg weighs 8 pounds and she’s not overweight!) and they have a long thick tail. They are threatened since they live in such a small area, parts of Chile and Argentina, in temperate rain forests. They are threatened by logging and habitat loss. This beautiful creature deserves to have a safe place to live. They eat all kinds of vermin, bugs, lizards, mice.

This watercolor painting is painted on Indian Village Handmade paper (which is no longer being made) and is 6″ x 8″. It is for sale for $125 and half the proceeds will go to the CAT ACTION TREASURY, an organization that was created in 1995 to conserve the world’s 36 species of wild cat including the little cats like the Kodkod, the Pallas Cat and the Sand cat.

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