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Archive for May, 2013

Scottish Wild Cat

May 28th, 2013 No comments

swc01
This cat has fascinated me for many many years. Not much bigger than a domestic cat, but smarter, faster, stronger and simply ferocious, this amazing animal lives in the roughest parts of Scotland. Other cats related to the Scottish Wildcat used to live all over Europe. Now not too many of them are left. A small group of dedicated people are trying to help sustain the last remnants of what was a large population. The biggest trouble with these cats is that they readily breed with our domestic felines, so their gene pool continues to be contaminated with the genes of cats who learned to live with humans thousands of years ago. The effort happening right now to help these cats is a neuter and return policy of all feral domestic cats found in the habitat where these cats live. THey are also captive breeding some of the Scottish Cats.

If you wish to learn more about these cats, please go to http://www.phillarsen.plus.com/wildcat and read all about them.

This painting is SOLD. If you wish to buy a giclee go here 66% of the price of the giclees go directly to the Scottish Wildcat conservation program.

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My best friend

May 27th, 2013 No comments

girlhorse

Growing up, many little girls fall in love with horses. A few lucky ones actually get to be around horses and even fewer to have horses of their own. Acting out my own dream, I moved to Idaho when I was 18 years old, and by the time I was 21, I owned my own horse. I learned to ride them, care for and train them, and finally, I even had the opportunity to live with my own horse just outside my door when I lived in Eagle.

The little girl in the painting grew up with horses, and sits astride her faithful steed, who was probably mature before she was born. I dedicate this painting to someone I know that actually did grow up this way, and throughout her life, she has displayed the horse sense she probably was taught by horses; Mari Whitmer.

Painting is for sale $175.00 it’s an 11 x 15″ watercolor on fine watercolor paper. All proceeds of sales go to wild animal conservation.

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Hat Killer

May 22nd, 2013 2 comments

hatkiller

Nothing is more ferocious than a young house cat with a new toy. Here, Abby does her best to kill a soft woolen hat.

This painting is sold and measures 11″ x 15″

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Iberian Lynx, rarest of cats

May 21st, 2013 No comments

iberianlynxgaud
Using techniques I learned at Bev Jozwiak’s workshop, I decided to try a few paintings. This first one is the Iberian Lynx. I felt that it is an important cat to paint because there are so few of them and they are so beautiful. I figure the more people that know about this cat, the better it is going to be; education goes a long ways.
This painting is for sale, $175.00, all proceeds will go towards conservation of cats like the Iberian Lynx.
It measures 11″ x 15″ and is painted on fine watercolor paper.

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Zio Matteo

May 20th, 2013 No comments

ziomatteo
I am of Italian heritage and I still have a lot of ties with the small town in Southern Italy, Sersale, where my grandfather was born. Last summer I read a blogger’s tale about an old man who lives in Sersale, named Matteo Torchia, who celebrated his 100th birthday in April of 2009. Link: http://emiliogrimaldi.blogspot.com/2009/04/zio-matteo-fa-centanni.html The town threw him a big party and there was a fuzzy blurry little video of him in this huge hall full of people dancing. To see the video, you can follow the link above.

I decided I was going to find this man, who if still alive, would be 101 years old. After all, not only is he the oldest guy in Sersale, but he is probably the oldest Torchia alive in the world as well, and that happens to be my surname. I never met a centenarian before and it seemed rather poetic that the first one I would ever meet was a guy with my own last name.

Among my ties to Sersale are the teenaged grandchildren of my cousins; I keep in contact with the whole family through them on Facebook. I asked one of them to introduce me to him, but she said she couldn’t, she would be too embarrassed. ok, no big deal, I’ll find someone else.

So when I got there, I started asking around. I asked my cousin Santina, about him; she had never heard of the guy. Zio Matteo? But she liked the idea and started asking others as they arrived to greet me, did you ever hear about this guy who is 101? One of the younger cousins spoke up, “My little boy saw him in school, I’ll ask him if he knows where Zio Matteo lives.” The next day, I was given more information; truly, all the cousins liked the idea that I wanted to look for him and I was informed that he hung out up in the piazza near Bruno Carristo’s pharmacy, so I headed up to that neighborhood as soon as I could.

Sersale is a small hill town, the only places to be found there that are flat are the piazzas. All the streets are very steep and curvy, and most of them are too narrow for me to drive a car in, so all of this coming and going is on foot.
There was a bit of confusion about him; I knew him as Zio Matteo, (Uncle Matteo) but even though his name is actually Matteo, in dialect he is called Mattia di Paola. So when I originally asked about Zio Matteo no one except the young people knew who I was talking about because everyone else in this town speaks only dialect.

Anyway, the first day I went up to that piazza looking for him, there was really noisy street scraping equipment working on the road, and there were no old men out at all, so I gave up (I hate loud noises). The next day I returned and asked some people if Zio Matteo had been there today, and no one had seen him (did that mean they understood who I was looking for?).

On the third day, someone pointed out the exact spot where Zio Matteo and his friends usually sat; and I could see three old guys were up there so I hustled over to this bench overlooking a cliff with a tree shading it and asked them if they knew where Mattia di Paola was. One old guy instructed another old guy that he must take me to Zio Matteo’s house. This very strange man who walked like a chicken with his head thrust forward led me into a part of Sersale that I had never seen before called La Colla, the oldest part of the town. It had streets that were extremely steep and narrow, where in parts you can touch the walls of houses on both sides of the street at the same time. Finally after a lot of twists and turns and ups and downs, we were there. #30 was the street number above the door. This tiny little blue eyed old man walks out, perky and bright, and the weird guy that led me there disappeared into the maze of streets. “Yes,” he says, “I am Matteo Torchia,” and I told him “I am a Torchia too!”

I told him our family’s nickname (Cristariella) and his eyes lit up and and he started reciting the names of my grandfather’s siblings – he knew them all. He even knew that my grandfather never returned from from America to visit. He told me how he survived the Spanish Flu in 1918 but that his mother died. He told me a good deal of his life history, he has been interviewed a lot recently, so he was prepared. Finally, he stood and looked at me as if to say;”I’m one hundred and one years old, I don’t have a lot of time to waste, what was it you would like to know?”
So I asked him what did he eat that enabled him to live so long. he responded with gusto; “EVERYTHING!

“I eat meat, pasta, beans, vegetables, coffee, wine, everything, everything!” The only thing he doesn’t do is smoke. I asked him if I could take his picture, and he said, “Ok, just one.” I shook his hands and said farewell and spent the next 20 minutes trying to get back down to some place I was familiar with because I was completely lost.

This is a repost of a story I put on my travel blog. The painting, however, is new; I painted it during a Bev Jozwiak workshop.

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