Tuesday, February 28, 2012


Of all The Kitties, Mini is the only one capable of revealing Norman's playful side--
and getting him some exercise.

Capable (February 28, 2012)
(Illustration Friday: February 24, 2012)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


I haven't been able to stop thinking about fabric since the mention of this week's Illustration Friday word. I waited a few days for something else to pop into my head, but Kate Moss has taken over.

Last summer, I traveled to New York to see the Alexander McQueen exhibit, Savage Beauty, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. (I remembered seeing some of his fashion shows on TV when I was younger. His show was always considered a major event during London Fashion Week.) I figured the exhibit would be interesting....I didn't imagine that the line to get in would wind through all other exhibits leading up to it. But, it was worth the trip and the wait: I never expected to be so moved by seeing a bunch of clothing. And, apparently, it's still all in my head.

That's how my "Kate Moss (Mother) Kitty" showed up this week. (In her day, The Mother Kitty was the fairest of them all.) One of my favorite parts of the Savage Beauty exhibit was peering through a waist-high slot of a black wooden installation and discovering a hologram of Kate Moss floating in billowing fabric. Rather than strips of cloth, her dress looked like frothy clouds, trickling waterfalls, or fluid watercolors.... Here's our salute to however he created that fantastic work of art.

Fluid (February 17, 2012)
(Illustration Friday: February 17, 2012)

You can find on YouTube a version of the hologram against a plain black background, as it was at showcased at The Met. It's restricted from playing on my blog. So, instead, here's the real thing: The finale of Alexander McQueen's 2006 Fall/Winter collection. This is better, right? I mean, don't you wish you were there, marveling in person?


© Alexander McQueen

Monday, February 20, 2012

Finding The Artist's Way...

Hi everyone,

It's been years since I bought The Complete Artist's Way a compilation of Julia Cameron's creativity-inspiring books, The Artist's Way, Walking in This World, and Finding Water. I felt ambitious that day, thinking I'd run home and read them all immediately. Instead, the massive volume landed on my bookshelf after I read the introduction.

This year, I'm getting it done! Well, the first one, at least.

I joined a 7-week creativity circle workshop at Tranquil Space--my D.C. retreat/yoga studio. During the workshop, I--along with about 10 other ladies--will be reading The Artist's Way: Creativity as a Spiritual Practice. This international bestseller is a guide to finding and living a more creative life. Two supplementary books will complement our work: 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women by Gail McMeekin and Hip Tranquil Chick by Tranquil Space founder/workshop leader Kimberly Wilson. Like The Artist's Way, Gail McMeekin's book helps readers find their creative path in life. It offers input and lessons learned from fellow creative women artists. Hip Tranquil Chick is a guide to yogic living on and off the mat. Who can't use more of that in life?  These book offers tips and exercises at the end of each chapter, reinforcing key chapter highlights and helping readers practice what they've learned.

We'll be meeting every 2 week until May 9th, and I'll keep you posted periodically on my progress working through these books.

I hope you enjoy this journey with me! Let's see what happens.


Wednesday, February 15, 2012


For Christmas, I got my sister Julie's kitties a carrot full of catnip. For a while, it was the most popular toy in the house, and the black-and-white kitties battled it out.

Popularity (February 10, 2012)
(Illustration Friday: February 10, 2012)

There was one clear winner in this fight.

(Don't worry, Ashes shared eventually--even if she still complains about it.)

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Johnny Kitties: Celebrating Johnny Depp Film #17--The Astronaut's Wife (1999)

[What is Johnny Kitties? See Johnny Kitties: Celebrating Johnny Depp for all the details.]

"Johnny's an alien!"
That's what my mom said as we left the theater after seeing The Astronaut's Wife. Here's the story: When Spencer Armacost: (Johnny Depp) and fellow astronaut Alex Streck (Nick Cassavetes) abort a shuttle mission after a 2-minute "incident" in space, their wives notice some peculiar changes in their personalities. Soon after their return, Spencer's wife Jillian (Charlize Theron) learns she's pregnant, which sparks her suspicions about her husband's motives, what really happened up there, and the future of their unborn twins.

"Huh. I wonder why Johnny made that movie."
That's what my dad said as we left the theater after seeing The Astronaut's Wife. I don't know all of Johnny's reasons, but he was fascinated with the idea of the all-American hero not being who he seemed to be. Never in a million years did I imagine Johnny playing an astronaut--Let alone one named Commander Spencer Armacost! A manmade boy with scissorhands didn't phase me, but an astronaut?

I admit, when people have asked me if there's any Johnny Movie that I don't like, this is the one that comes to mind. First, I was already annoyed before I saw the movie because critics everywhere were comparing it to Roman Polanski's classic creepy movie, Rosemary's Babyjust because Charlize Theron had a pixie haircut and became pregnant with babies not of this world. Critics also said that Johnny was unbelievable as a menacing bad guy. I do not agree with that. But, aside from having no stomach for scary movies anymore--no matter how predictable they may be--my main problem with this one was that I never liked Spencer Armacost, even before he became an alien trapped in a human body.

Usually, Johnny somehow finds ways to get you to like his bad-guy characters, so you're practically rooting for them by the end of the movie. And, he'll always interject funny moments that lighten the mood. This movie doesn't seem to have that, and this cocky Southerner never appealed to me. "It was fun to play a redneck, an all-American hero gone wrong," Johnny said. "What interested me was not the idea of some kind of 'being' possibly inhabiting his body. Whatever happened in space just allowed him to reveal who he really is. He's got this image of being an all-American guy, with bleached white teeth and sun-kissed hair, but he's an awful person." Okay, I don't feel so bad now.

This is the photo!
I've never forgotten Johnny's description of his hair--"sun-kissed." (Why, why do I remember these things?) I had a photo of Spencer Armacost on my wall for a while. He is a good-looking alien, at least.

Watching it recently for Johnny Kitties, I discovered that The Astronaut's Wife is actually not that bad. The acting is solid, and I really like director Rand Ravich's stylized shots with sharp graphic shapes and cool lighting. There's a good sense of atmosphere and the sets are all pretty visually interesting.

The Kitty From Another Planet
Aside from Johnny playing an astronaut with awesome hair, the other most exciting thing about this movie--to me--was Johnny's costar, Joe Morton. He's the brother from another planet! I don't remember much about The Brother From Another Planet from when I first saw it in the '80s but, ever since, my family has pointed Joe Morton out whenever they find him in his other movies, exclaiming, "Oh! It's the brother from another planet!" So, now, I can apply that to a Johnny Movie. It's the simple pleasures, right?

So, here's a scene featuring Joe Morton (B.J.) as Sherman Reese, a NASA representative who first uncovers the alien invasion and tries to warn Jillian (Lily) of his discovery. Here, she's on her way up from the New York subway to meet Mr. Reese to discuss it. But she's stopped abruptly when her husband shows up out of the blue. Mr. Reese leaves his bag on the stair railing for her to take, as he heads off to have coffee with the commander. Too bad Spencer snatches it up before she can grab it!(Yeah, this is the G-rated level of suspense I can typically take.)


What's next?
Johnny stays in suspense and takes it to France to work with Roman Polanski in The Ninth Gate.

(Image credits: Astronaut's Wife stills © New Line Cinema; Johnny Depp portrait courtesy of JohnnyDeppFan.com, © unknown; Illustration: © Melissa Connolly) 


Suspense (February 3, 2012)
(Illustration Friday: February 3, 2012)

Saturday, February 04, 2012


It's Kitty Yoga time!

Stand with feet parallel, hip-width apart. Hinge from the hip with a flat back and line up fingers and toes.

Chin to shin, hang like a rag doll. Sway side to side and hold on to opposite elbows, if that feels good. For a shoulder opener, interlace fingers behind your back, making a fist with your paws, and reach toward the front of the room.

Uttanasana: Forward Fold.

Forward (January 24, 2012)
(Illustration Friday: January 24, 2012)