Aby-a-Day – Pictures of Dashiell (Thursday Things)

The other day, Dashiell was sitting in the window and he looked so handsome and photogenic, I had to capture him.


I mean, just look at him!


His coat is so very shiny. All of the cats have great fur (I think it’s the raw/Bozita diet), but none of them are as shiny as he is. It’s like he has special reflective hair.


“Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful…”

Aby-a-Day – 9 September 2020: Wordless Wednesday (A cat with hair brighter than the sun)







Aby-a-Day – 28 April 2020: The Maltese Dashiell (Cartoon Tuesday)

Today I finished that special portrait of Dashiell I started almost a month ago. Because Dash is named after the author Dashiell Hammett, who wrote The Maltese Falcon famously portrayed by Humphrey Bogart in the film version, I had an idea I wanted to make real. Above is the fur texture layer along with a neutral grey background.


Then I added a shadow of the Maltese Falcon based on one of the two photos of Bogie I used as reference.


Of course, Sam Spade needs a dashing fedora.


And a trench coat.


Then the final touch, to give the portrait a real Film Noir feel…the shadows.


But something was bothering me. I went back to my other Bogie reference photo and realised what was missing: There is a dark shadow of his hat, and the original background had a shadowy texture. I went back and fixed those two things and…voilà!


However, I generally crop my drawings to a standard size, but I draw on a larger canvas. This is the full-size version. Not really different, apart from the proportioning. It’s such a great feeling to finally get the image out of your head so others can see it.

Aby-a-Day – 21 April 2020: Dash’s portrait project, the colour layers (Cartoon Tuesday)

I’m still working on that special portrait of Dashiell I shared two weeks ago. While it isn’t finished, I have actually got more done that I am posting today. Above is the colour layer, ink layer and whiskers layer.


This is the only the colour layer, which is underneath the ink layer. Instead of painting inside the lines, I painted under them. It’s a neat technique. This was all done in Procreate using what fur brushes I have there; now I need to add a texture layer (for his ear furnishings and ticking) with my fur brushes in Photoshop, but I think I got his base colouring pretty well. As someone commented last week, getting the markings and colours right on an Aby is not easy!

And, of course is just the Dash part…there’s still the background and the other details to be finished.

Aby-a-Day – 7 April 2020: Dash’s portrait project, a work in progress (Cartoon Tuesday)

I’m working on a special portrait of Dashiell. I don’t want to give away what it is, but I can share these early sketches. I’m actually using a different method of sketching on this drawing, because I want to capture all of his colours. The head model I am using is this photo of Dash that was taken on his first ferry trip from Finland to Sweden. The body will be different.


This is the ink outline (using brown, not black) and the “map” I will use to paint his base colours. I know, it doesn’t look much different from the sketch layers, but trust me, it is.

This is just the Dash part…there’s still the background and the other details to be finished.

Aby-a-Day – March 30: Who are you, Cecil B. Demille? No? Then go away. (Hipstamatic Monday)

Jacoby is always ready for his close-up.


It doesn’t matter if it’s a phone camera, or an actual camera. He’s learned that cameras = attention.


And attention is a good thing.


To a point. Okay, you’re dismissed.

Aby-a-Day – April 22: “Funny face” (Cartoon Tuesday)

For being such beautiful cats, Abys take a lot of less than beautiful photos. Not that they don’t love the camera, but…sometimes the camera just doesn’t love them.


These are all based on actual photos of Abys I found on Facebook. There is one whose name I am not sure of, but the rest are Kiipi, Bella and Kumal, Yaro, Racy, Poupette, Jasmine, Ollie, Xapuri, Gaatsbi, Buttercup and Sophie.

Yes, they really DO all look like that!

(Click cartoon to embiggen, or you can view all cartoons in Slideshow mode on Flickr.)

Aby-a-Day – January 23: Who wants pancakes?!

I’d been wanting to get one for a while, so I finally broke down and ordered my very own Jacoby Pancake Pet from Tokipoki.


I got him just after Christmas and couldn’t wait to introduce Jake to his two-dimensional alter-ego.


The Pancake Jake is supposed to be lifesized, but I think it may actually be larger than Jake. Now I will have a lovely – and easy-to-pack – surrogate Jake to take along with me when I travel.


I think Jake was less than impressed, though.


“Really? Really!? Anyone can see I am much handsomer!”


Finally, though, Jake deigned to give his likeness a sniff…




“It was an accident, I swear!”


Luckily, Pancake Jake is made tough. He got a little dent, but he’s otherwise unscathed.

Aby-a-Day – April 10: Wordless Wednesday (A girl and her cat, photo by John Rutherford)

Aby-a-Day – October 31: Wordless Wednesday (Happy Halloween!)









Aby-a-Day – August 12: The Magic of Photoshop

I love this photo I took of Jacoby and myself in a mirror at the Mansfield show.

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But what I love best about it is that, through the magic of Photoshop, I was able to flip it so it doesn’t look like it was taken in a mirror. It’s a super simple fix, but it transforms a silly photo taken in the mirror into a pretty nice portrait.

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Aby-a-Day – July 27: Land ho! (Fashion Friday)

Just as we did last year at ArtBeat, we made a point of stopping by Mike Ritter’s photobooth at ArtBeat. Mike takes wonderful photos of people at ArtBeat, and he has a lot of fun props to play with!


This year’s theme was “Migration,” and Mike had a coming-to-America backdrop and shipworthy props. Mike remembered us, too (which I guess makes sense…how many other cats are there at ArtBeat?)!


I wore the Captain Steubin hat, while Jacoby got lei’d.


Since I was born here, I didn’t ever have to migrate, but I have been to Ellis Island. None of my ancestors came through there, though. My dad was born here, too, and my mom was born in Alberta, near Edmonton…but she emigrated to the States via San Francisco, not New York. Jake, however, was born in Fredericton, New Brunswick!

Oh, and my shirt? Is from

Aby-a-Day – July 22: The Cat Lady in Red (Fashion Friday)

Last weekend at ArtBeat, Ritterbin Photography had a booth set up for free Facebook photos. Well, I said, I don’t do Facebook, but can I use them in my blog? “Of course!” was Mike’s response. Now, I don’t know how fashionable we are, but we did avail ourselves of some of the props.


Jacoby has red star sunglasses, and I am wearing a red fez.


Or, as my dad would say, “I don’t remember the name, but the fez is familiar” (Yeah, it’s a genetic problem, obviously).

Aby-a-Day – April 22: Living art

I never get tired of watching Angel.


She never really seems as goofy as Jacoby; no matter what she’s doing, even if her actions are silly, her demeanor never is. She reminds me more of Egyptian statues than Jake does much of the time.

Aby-a-Day – April 6: Wordless Wednesday (Feigned innocence)


Aby-a-Day – March 27: It’s “coordinated,” not “crazy”

I’ve mentioned that Jacoby and I have the same LL Bean faux shearling coats before, but the problem with being the photographer is that you never have any pictures of yourself.


Thanks to our concierge Noel, however, now you can see Jake and I in our matching outerwear.


Of course, my coat doesn’t have my name embroidered on the back, but then, his hasn’t got any pockets, so I think we’re even.


Which one of us is the copy cat?

Aby-a-Day – March 22: Better living through technology

The advent of digital photography has seen the biggest improvement in my photography. My dad gave me a Brownie Starflash camera when I was 4 years old and right from the start my preferred subject was…you guessed it, cats (which may or may not have been the fault of the camera’s owners manual). I took so many photos of cats as a child, I think my dad must have dipped into my college fund to pay for the developing. This continued on through junior high and high school; I have more photos of cats than I have of people. I got to the point, once I got my first SLR, where I could take a good shot of a cat in natural light with a 1/8 sec. shutter without a tripod…but for every amazing photo I took, there were dozens of blurry, tilted pictures of cats’ tails as they were moving away from me.


Of course, this still happens with digital photography, but you don’t have to spend money to develop all your duds to get that one stunner. In fact, you don’t have to spend money to develop any photos at all if you don’t want to.


I suppose that’s part of my recent fascination with Hipstamatic; it reminds me of my Brownie Starflash and my later Kodak InstaMatic. The photos take time to “develop” and the flash takes time to warm up and you don’t always know how your photos are going to turn out until you see them. Sometimes, that’s kind of fun.


But no matter what type of film you are or are not using, there’s no denying that thrill you feel when you click your shutter and know, in your heart and in your gut, that you’ve just taken a truly awesome shot…like this one.

Aby-a-Day – Day 350 of 365

I love this photo of Jacoby and Tessie (and the mistletoe hat).


I just wish I could do something about that eyeshine!

We just weighed all the cats tonight. Tessie and Jake actually weigh exactly the same: 11.2 lbs. He gained a little, and she lost a little. They definitely don’t look like they weigh the same.

When I woke up this morning, both of them were curled up on me. Tessie was on my chest, and Jake was draped over my shoulder and arm. No wonder I have a hard time getting out of bed in the morning, with almost 22½ lbs holding me down!

Aby-a-Day – Day 171 of 365

I really like this photo of Angel, and the ethereal glow that surrounds her.

She seems so intent. On what, I’m not entirely sure.