~ S P E C I A L ~ F E A T U R E ~
by Emily Eve Weinstein
published by Beau Soleil Publishing
reprinted here with permission.
We are pleased to feature three portraits from CAT BOOK, an exquisite collection of paintings and stories by artist Emily Eve Weinstein.
First up is Scarlett, the famous New York firefighting cat who gained national attention rescuing five kittens from a burning building. Next is Lucy, a unique cat (her eyes are different colors) who lives in a unique household. Finally, meet Maximum Paws, a husky calico with too many toes!
You'll find a biography of artist and animal lover Emily Eve Weinstein right behind the kitties, along with more information about her lovely CAT BOOK. Enjoy!
An alleged crack house in an abandoned garage is up in flames. Possibly arson, probably a careless crackhead with a light. These details are moot points; what matters to the stray cat that lives there is getting her five kittens out alive. She makes five trips, each time returning to a structure that is further engulfed by flames and smoke. Every hair singed off her body, ears radically burned, eyes melting shut, she will not stop until she has rescued all five.
Firefighter David Giannelli finds the unconscious cat lying near her kittens. He carefully gathers the feline family and goes directly to North Shore Animal League. Word goes around the world about this heroic cat. The masses pray for her, send cards with best wishes, and 7,000 offers to adopt her pour in. After a month, the white kitten succumbs to smoke inhalation. After three months, Scarlett is healed enough to go to a new home. Out of thousands of potential adoptees, Karen Wellen is selected -- herself the survivor of a terrible accident. Two pairs of kittens go to the homes of two other finalists.
Five years later, and I am visiting with the famous cat in her Brooklyn home. Scarlett is now a solid 16 pounds, with a full, shiny calico coat. The deep scars on her legs and feet, near hairless face, oddly upturned eyes, and nubbed ears bear witness to her ordeal. She needs no bribing to pose for me; she enjoys being around people. Scarlett is a symbol of loyalty, heroism, and the best stuff life is made of.
Feral cat activist Julie Smith tells me of Debbie Meyer, a newspaper columnist who writes informative articles on animals. We finally meet at her serene home on a pond. Three friendly horses approach me and walk right by to Debbie with the hay. In the barn, tabby Violet peers down. Orange tabby Dante inspects my car. Dogs Zelda and Buzz are leaping up in their pen to be noticed. Betsy, the adopted potbelly pig, is not in view. Inside this airy house a one-eyed black & white cat, Schroedinger, greets us, and three-legged black cat Ella scoots by. The youngest cat, Steward, bounds up the stairs.
At animal shelters I have seen people surrender animals to face uncertain futures because they are moving, the animal sheds, or it doesn't match the new couch; the list of heartless reasons goes on. At Debbie and Eric's exquisite new home, the philosophy is the opposite. "You can't replace a life, but you can a couch." Actually, Buzz destroyed their couch -- twice!
Debbie has written on homeopathy for animals, feral cat colonies, good horse care, and a woman that tamed a cat by reading to her nightly from the Bible. An irate reader writes to accuse her of "just" caring about animals. As it turns out, Debbie chairs a mentoring program for youths, works full-time at Duke University on one of the world's most important scientific weeklies, and facilitates a column at the Chapel Hill newspaper called "My View." Would the complainer take in blind amputee cats or care enough about people to help them be heard?
The Queen Mother, cat Lucy, with one blue eye, the other yellow, nearing 20 years, looks out over the pond. Ella shakes her head to the right for Debbie to scratch under her chin. With her right leg missing, she can't reach that spot. "Part of the attraction of getting involved with animals is that they easily make us feel like heroes. I do something as simple as loan a trap. A cat gets caught and spayed, and many lives don't suffer in vain." Nobody is suffering at this location.
Maximum Paws and Zip
McIntyre's Fine Books at Fearrington Village has two felines in residence. The staff feels the literary cats are most suitable to grace the pages of a book on cats. B&W Zip grooms her hulking son as if he were a tiny kitten. They sleep curled up in each others arms. Maximum Paws is polydactyl, with two extra fingers on each paw. Bookseller Martha preferred naming him Thumbs Hemingway after the multi-toed cats living on the Hemingway complex. I follow the cat trying to figure out the best angle to capture his broad feet.
He leads me into an office, enjoys being petted, and then is on the move again. Up the stairs he sits still at last. Having given himself a partial bath, he leaps back downstairs, and I follow, into the children's section and then on to travel. Some paper crumples at the cash register, cueing him to run in that direction. Someone opens the front door, and so back up the stairs we go. Three hours of following Maximum around, and I finally have something resembling him.
Maximum and mom Zip have their jobs at the bookstore. They help with the gift wrapping by playing with the ribbon. Maximum helps Peter check in books, particularly the paperwork. Zip keeps Robert company when he is at the computer. She also warms the laps of men with facial hair, as she is partial to them. Maximum protects his toys from imaginary thieves with a growl, but is most affable during book readings where he works hard to steal the show.
About the Author
Emily Eve Weinstein was born in 1955 in Newburgh, New York, and presently resides in Durham, North Carolina. Her formal art studies came principally at Academie Charpentier in Paris, West Surrey College of Art in England, and Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, where she earned a BFA degree in painting.
Emily has had numerous solo shows throughout North Carolina, Virginia, and England. Her most recent grants have come from the Durham Arts Council for the Emerging Artist Grant, Mary Biddle Duke Foundation for the Hayti Heritage Square Mural Project, and the Eno River Mural, Culture & Animal Foundation for the Animal Shelter Mural.
Emily's work experiences include four artist-in-residencies (Oregon, Nevada, New York, and North Carolina); teaching portraiture, landscape painting, mixed media, mural painting, faux finishes; originated two businesses -- Pet & People Portraiture and Murals-By-Many; lived in a van/studio for three years while painting the unwinding scenery of America; proprietor of Zia's Gallery (named after her cat).
Emily is the author of Moon Book (Discovery Press, 1999), CAT BOOK (Beau Soleil Publishing, 2002), and is currently working on Dog Book for release next year. Her web site is located at http://www.weinsteinart.com, and you can contact her by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Book
by Emily Eve Weinstein
Published by Beau Soleil Publishing
ISBN 0-9666085-8-5, 124 pages, 82 full-color plates, hardcover, $16.95
Available wherever fine books are sold.
Or Buy It From Our Bookstore Now
CAT BOOK started out simply enough. Emily Weinstein set out to do a series of monoprints of cats she is personally acquainted with. Exploring the subject, she soon learned that every cat has a story, and one story led to another. As the stories became more fantastic, Weinstein traveled to places like West Virginia to meet Regis, the talking cat, and to Brooklyn's world renowned Scarlet, who rescued her five kittens from a fire.
Equipped with art supplies, note pad and cat treats, Weinstein worked to entice her subjects to paint them and interview their people all at the same time. Remarkably, it all works in this unique, beautiful, often touching and funny book on cats. It's all great fun --and wonderful art!
CAT BOOK makes a superb gift for cat lovers everywhere. Every element of this book works to enrich the central theme -- feline affection. Weinstein creates these portraits using the monoprint technique. She paints with oils on glass, then carefully transfers the image to paper. The result is a colorful burst of movement -- swirling backgrounds coupled with moments of clarity that capture one of each cat's nine lives.
Weinstein captures another life in the narrative, whether its Avi climbing 80-foot trees; Snappy sailing around the world; Kitten, the two-timing neutered Persian; Dazzle surviving against all odds; Wild Boy, born feral in the High Sierras; Space Kitty rescued from a lab . . . just to name a few. The author renders the vignettes in the present tense, reinforcing the impressionism of the monoprints. Even the package is purrfect: from the leggy trim size (9" tall) to the vibrant green dust jacket, attractively priced at just $16.95.
CAT BOOK is endorsed by Best Friends Animal Sanctuary and is featured in fundraising efforts by several animal advocacy groups. Fifty-eight of the 59 cats profiled were adopted from shelters or rescued from the streets. For information about bulk sales, discounts for nonprofit organizations, or rights sales, please contact:
Grace Associates, Ltd.
P.O. Box 2395
Huntington, WV 25724
Copyright ©2002 by Emily Eve Weinstein. All Rights Reserved. Please feel free to duplicate or distribute this file, as long as the contents have not been altered and this copyright notice is intact. Thank you.