Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Why Cat Art?

I'm always trying to clarify why I do what I do.  Why do I focus so much on cats in my artwork?  

I recently came across an article that talked about creating a mission or purpose statement, and it had you ask:  what do you do? for whom? and why?  It suggested creating a one sentence statement that included: who, what action, what subject, what audience, and what benefit does your artwork provide.  

This is what I came up with.

"Nestled in My Heart"

I, create handmade linocut art prints, of cats, for cat lovers, to beautify their homes, and remind them of their furry loved family members.

That's it!!  That's my mission statement.

Another reason why I focus on cats is how much I love my own.  Primatologist and anthropologist Jane Goodall, you know the woman who studied wild chimpanzees in Tanzania for years and is now an environmental activist, has said, "You cannot share your life with a dog or cat and not know perfectly well that animals have personalities and minds and feelings." I cannot agree enough.  If you are a cat person like me, you know how different each cat is from the other.  No two have the same personalities.  And I find cats, as well as dogs, just embody love.  My life has become enriched by all the furry companions I now have, and the ones who have graced my life in the past.  

Favorite furry family photo from maybe three years ago.

I have a book that I like called "Steal Like an Artist," and chapter three in that book is, "Write the Book You Want to Read." Because I am a visual artist, I have always interpreted that as "create the art you want to see." I love cats and I love cat art.  I collect cat art by other artists.  My collection is large and growing.  I am ALWAYS looking for new cat art or artists to follow who create cat art. Cats inspire me creatively. So I am creating the art I want to see.  


From the feedback I get from my collectors, there is an emotional connection to my art.  It reminds them of a cat, or cats they have, or of a beloved cat who has passed on.  How truly rewarding it is for me to know that my art is really connecting to people from a heart space. What more could I ask for.


I was asked in an interview by Sam Marshall, another printmaker, on Instagram, if I feel stuck having to only create cat art since I have a large following of cat lovers online.  I thought about that question a lot, and I can honestly say, I don't.  I will continue to create art that comes from my heart. That's where my kitties reside.

"Window in My Heart"

Framing Your Art Print

When I was in my thirties, I worked as a framer in an art shop.  I learned a lot about the proper materials to use if you want an art print to last for many years with the least amount of aging as possible.  By aging I mean fading and yellowing, or in damp climates, getting mold. 

The paper a print is printed on is important.  For longevity, you want an art print to be printed on 100% cotton paper, also called acid free or rag paper.  Acid is what causes a paper to yellow and age.  Almost all of my prints are printed on Stonehenge, a beautiful thick acid free printing paper.  Any other paper I have printed on is also acid free.  I am very aware and do not want my paper to looked aged.


There are a few things to consider when making your choices for framing.  For works on paper, glass is a must to keep a piece clean and scratch free.  

Here are your choices of glass:

1. Regular glass is clear and inexpensive.  It is what you find if you buy a ready made frame.  The good thing about regular glass is it is clear and shows an artwork beautifully.  The downside is that it shows light reflection if your art is across from a window or near a light.  It is also not UV protective, meaning your artwork will fade over years.

"Cat Nap'" with regular glass

2. Non-glare glass has a sort of frosted look to the glass,  It does cut down glare and light reflection, but it also takes away from the color and clarity of an artwork.  It is also more expensive than regular glass, and is also not UV protective.

3. The highest quality of picture framing glass available is conservation or museum glass.  It protects artwork the best from fading because it is generally 99% UV protective.  There are a few different types of conservation glass available, but in general, this glass is the most expensive, because of it's UV protective qualities.  

4. And then there is plexiglass.  Plexiglass or acrylic is lightweight and shatter proof, two good qualities, but it scratches easily.  You need to use a cleaner specifically for plastics and a soft cloth to clean it.  You can find UV protective plexiglass as well as regular plexiglass.  Personally, I do not like using plexiglass, but it is better for shipping artwork because it is lightweight and shatter resistant.

Mat or no mat?

If you live in a dry climate or the your home or room where you are going to hang your art is dry, not damp, you can "float" the art print on a larger piece of mat board backing, and have the print up against the glass.  "Floating" means taping the art print with acid free framing tape, onto a mat board that is larger in size than the print, leaving a border of mat board showing around the print image. I like to frame like this if possible because I love showing the papers ruffly edge, called a deckle.  I would recommend using acid free mat board that you can buy at a frame shop if you want to protect the art from aging.  Acid free mat boards come in lots of colors as well as shades of white.

"Center of the Universe," floated on a mat background.

If the climate or the room where you are going to hang your new print is damp, I would recommend having a mat cut.  The mat keeps the artwork off of the glass, which helps protect it from any moisture that might get inside the frame.  Acid free mat board is best to use because it will help keep your artwork from turning yellow and aging.

"Stretch" with a cut mat border.

Framing choice?

That is really up to you. Metal or wood is a personal choice.  Neither is better than the other in terms of protecting the art.  I am really boring when it comes to framing.  Because I also ran an art gallery for ten years, I prefer a very clean simple look; white or off white acid free mat board and a black frame. I choose black frames because almost all of my prints have black in them.

Where should I hang my new artwork?

"Nestled in My Heart"

If you would like to have your artwork looking it's best for many years to come, the best conditions for art on paper are a dry, warm environment, and not exposed to direct sunlight or indoor light.  So do not hang you art piece across from a window, or next or a lamp or bright light.  And if you choose acid free framing materials, you are doing the best you can to preserve you artwork.

I hope this is helpful information for you.  If you have any questions, please send me an email at and I would be happy to answer it.