As you may know, my studio cat Ron Weasley is often the bane of my existence. He is well known for climbing around where he shouldn’t be (my desk) and getting his nose into places he oughtn’t (my paint water.)
Every time I walk away from my desk I have to go through a ritual of precautionary measures.
- Move paintings off desk
- Move chair away from desk
- Close paint palette
- Keep one ear open for sounds of scurrying or rustling paper
On the (not so rare) occasion that I forget to do this, I can expect to find Ron Weasley at the very least perched on my desk slurping paint water. At worst, as in two instances last week, I might find him stretched out right across a painting or two, his fur matted with watercolor pigment and water.
These are not my finest moments.
Last week I had to start over on TWO paintings because I made the mistake of walking away for a few minutes without going through The Ritual. Even so, I received an email from a client who cheerfully commented on the cat hairs permanently preserved in her painting. I tried to explain it away with a reasonable explanation about paint brush bristles, but relented. Who am I kidding? It was totally Ron.
Every time I finish a painting, I let it sit (out of Ron’s reach) for a few days, then examine it carefully under bright light. I painstakingly pick out small fibers, dust and residual masque pen with an X-acto knife. Then I seal the painting, and go over it one more time.
Thankfully, I have clients who are primarily Pet People, too. They understand that a little pet fur never hurt anyone. It just adds to the charm.
My husband suggested that I cover my paint water when I’m not painting. A solution so simple, I hate to admit it. The theory is that if Ron can’t get to water, he won’t jump up on the desk, I won’t have cat hair where it shouldn’t be and problem solved.
I bought a Mason jar-type container with an attached lid. When I paint, the lid hangs open. When I leave, I flip the lid up.
After all, it’s a fine line. I want Ron to be in the studio with me. I just don’t want him up in my business.