Author Archives: mimitorchia

The Hornist

When I dream a painting, I have to try and paint it. Rarely, it comes out like the dream painting, always it’s an exciting painting experience, taking me where I had not thought to go. This painting is of a very special horn player, my son. After waking up from the dream, I searched through pictures that might work with the image in my brain. The reference photo comes from Tobin Holliday Photography.

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The Waterfall at Misol Ha

My husband and I had the good fortune to travel to Chiapas, Mexico this spring. One of the most beautiful places we visited was this waterfall. We had enough time that I sat down right there, with that amazing scene before me and painted it in my little travel journal. Then I painted it again. If it had been a little warmer, we would have jumped into the water. This is a 15″ x 22″ painting on fine Arches watercolor paper. It is for sale, I am asking $300 for it. All proceeds go to endangered species conservation.

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a cat named Little Singer


I have been very proud and happy to be painting pictures of and for Il Gattaro di Aleppo. After painting another portrait of Alaa, I saw this adorable little cat sitting, a little timidly, with her tail wrapped around her front paw. I had to paint her! She’s so beautiful. Some of these Syrian cats have the most amazing faces. This was painted on 300 pound Indian Village Handmade paper (thicker than normal) and measures 14″ x 22″
All proceeds from the sale of this painting will go to Il Gattaro di Aleppo

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The cat man of Aleppo – 2

In some ways, the world has gotten very small thanks to social media. I have friends all over the world, including one in Syria. It’s easy for us Americans to pretend that places like Syria don’t exist, that is, until you actually KNOW someone there. And this is my friend Mohammed Alaa Aljaleel. He was in Aleppo. He was there saving lives, feeding cats, finding food for people while we were sitting here, safe in our heated and air conditioned homes, trying to decide whether or not we wanted to believe that Aleppo was even a place. He made the world very small for me, indeed, posting pictures every day; of cats, of his bombed out ambulance, of people waiting in the streets for food that he was somehow able to get, partially because of donations from friends like you and me. Who believed there were fathers and mothers with kids and cats and dogs that once lived in Syria, much like we do; going to work every day, buying groceries, making dinner, and feeding their cats – but couldn’t any more. Who believed that people in Syria could be deserving of charity and compassion, even if we don’t know their language, their customs, or their religion. Today, Alaa is safe. Alaa is trying to find a sanctuary, in a safer place, for the cats he rescued for his neighbors, for the orphans who will need a safe place to play. The money came from people who care from all over the world. Some of it came from children who could afford to donate 50 cents. Others are big spenders and have written out checks that would flatten my bank account. This painting is up for auction on the Il Gattaro di Aleppo page on facebook. I hope someone I know bids on it. In these times when so much in the world looks bad to me, a small group of compassionate people helping out a guy in Syria make me feel like there is still goodness in the world.

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A cat named Ernesto

I recently posted about the cat man of Aleppo, Mohammed Alaa Aljaleel, Il Gattaro di Aleppo. This is one of his pets. Ernesto seems to be a very easy going lovable little cat who clearly appreciates his human. Recently Alaa, as he is called, went to Turkey where he received all sorts of cat toys, cat beds, and commercial cat food. This painting depicts Ernesto in his very own plush bed. This painting is being auctioned to raise money for a sanctuary for cats and orphans in Syria.

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