Friday, December 3, 2010

A Beauty and Her Beasts

Artist Emily Reynolds fell in love with New York after visiting the city in 2003. So she never left. Now she paints from her studio in the West Village, where she specializes in whimsical depictions of man’s other best friend. Splashed with vibrant eye-catching colors, Emily’s quirky acrylic and oil pastels are as playful as the felines they depict.

Bubba and Lima Bean
While occasionally commissioned to immortalize a beloved pet on canvass, most of Emily’s cats are actually fictitious beasts that simply spring from her mischievous imagination. Aside from the strong visual appeal of her art, Emily gives each of her cats a name and personality, the latter usually revealed through a short poem that accompanies each piece. The artist says she began composing poems several years ago when she took her first cat painting to be framed.

“The framer suggested that I write a little story about the cat and put it with the painting,” explains the petite, blue-eyed blond, a native of Montgomery, Ala. “I loved the idea.”

At the time, Emily was enrolled in a college poetry course at the University of Alabama, where she was majoring in creative writing and journalism, so phrasing the story in verse seemed appropriate. She chose to use a simple four-lined rhyme and that has been the formula ever since.

Emily had little formal art training at school, but continued to paint as a hobby throughout college. Pierce Herbst, owner of Washington Commons Gallery in Cape May, NJ, is glad she stuck with it. He discovered her work while attending an exhibition in Atlanta in September, 2005, and purchased several pieces for his gallery.

“They were brightly colored, happy cats that really got my attention,” says Herbst. “It’s fun and carefree art and her style is very unique, especially since each piece is accompanied by a poem which lends an insight into the individual animal’s personality.”

CauliflowerCauliflower, the vegan, no meat will she take.
With aerobics and pilates she stays in great shape.
Though not far from perfect, she has but one vice,
Which she keeps in check with lots of soy-mice.
Emily says her unique blend of art and poetry breathes life into her paintings, making them more personable. She has created more than fifty feline characters in the past few years, and says people will often discover elements of themselves, or someone they know, in a particular piece.

Amongst her favorites are: “Jose Lopez,” a young, nightclubbing cat from Cuba; “Gertrude McRae,” a country club fraternizing socialite; the refined and elderly “Bertrand Giroux” and “O’Flaherty,” a delightfully naughty Irish redhead and renowned kitty Casanova.

When Wall Street broker Gene Croddick purchased one of Reynolds’ cats for his daughter’s birthday, the child was thrilled. She had been ill, says Croddick, and he wanted to give her something that would lift her spirits. “Emily’s work is really inspirational and not just for kids - adults get a kick out of them too,” he added.

From time to time, Emily has painted other animals, including dogs, cows, leopards, and llamas, but domestic cats dominate her work. “A cat can be many-a-devious thing and they have so many different personalities,” she mused. “I love that about them.”

Emily’s cats currently sell for around $800 to over $2,000. Not exactly pocket change, perhaps, but certainly affordable in today’s market. Painted on canvass with sizes up to 24” x 36”, her cats quickly find homes or hang in art galleries across North America awaiting ‘adoption.’

And for those with tight budgets, Emily also produces limited Giclee prints from some of her originals. This technique, which involves scanning a painting with a computer and using archival quality inks and high-resolution printers, produces incredibly detailed canvass copies of the original. Reynolds also produces posters, and has a line of greeting cards that will bring out a smile on all occasions.

The luck 'o the Irish O'Flaherty does keep.
He'll get to your she-cat while you're fast asleep.
A few weeks later you'll wake from your bed
To a basket of kittens with their papa's red head.

Emily's menagerie of cats can be viewed on her web site.
All images © Emily R Reynolds


Suldog said...

Those are EXCELLENT cats. If I ever have a new house with an empty wall, I know where I'll go to make it look better.

Everyday Goddess said...

excellent feature, i like the first one best.

Jo said...

such whimsical cats! jolly good!

Sue said...

What fun! These really do have personality...and then some.


Chatty Crone said...

I'm really not a cat lover - at all - but these cats - I do love - I could take them.


Judie said...

Hahaha! Love those cool cats!!

Raquel Byrnes said...

Love the paintings. Whimsical isn't represented nearly enough these days. I'll have to look her up. =)
Edge of Your Seat Romance

Caren Gittleman said...

I love how unique these cats are...they are full of "catitude" and I love that!

magsmcc said...

These are cool cats!

Farmchick said...

Amazing how you can see the personality of a cat through this art.

Marlene said...

Beautiful!!! She's quite an artist! Thanks for sharing.

Jackie said...

Hello , Jee clays is a new word I hadn't known before. She is very talented ! Good for her and I hope she makes a killin on her cats .

Mollie said...

If you don't have someone 'here' to send to you 'there', let me know. I'll send you some of Tesco's Finest.
Thanks for the comment! I'd love to know how you found me ;)

Jean said...

Thanks for introducing me to this talented southern artist! I enjoyed visiting her website.

Vintagesouthernlife said...

Enjoyed these cool cats and love your humor.

vickilikesfrogs said...

*gasps* KITTIES!

Thanks for the info, I will definitely check her out!

Karen said...

Hey, "cool" cats. Does she do dogs?

Maggie May said...

Love the artwork and the poems. Great!
Maggie X

Nuts in May

Eliza said...

Love those cats :-) Thanks for visiting my blog.

Personalized Sketches and Sentiments said...

Wonderfu J post! What fun, amazing, pretty kitties! Thank you for sharing this artist and her creations. I especially love "Bubba and Lima Bean"!

Blessings & Aloha!
I am once again running late with the "J" posts.

steviewren said...

Her cats really have personality. My youngest son is a cat lover. He has two. The most recent one he adopted gets into all kind of trouble. If he was an artist, I'm sure he would portray his pets much like this artist does.

Kimber Leszczuk. said...

The first one is my favorite though they are all very neat!

Anonymous said...

Very cool! Might have to contact her for a painting or possibly a tattoo.

Jolly Princess said...

Oh, cool! Who says Garfield and Felix are the best cats? Emily made her cats more famous!:)

Jenny said...

Wow. What a unique and clever artist she is. Whimsical painting always appears to be so simple it should be easy but it is so difficult to execute. Or perhaps I should say...I just can't do it.

Thanks for sharing a smile with us on our little journey through Alphabe-Thursday's journey through "J".


Jenn Flynn-Shon said...

Her work is amazing. I know a few cat lovers out there and although the originals might be out of their reach the prints or even cards certainly wouldn't be! The poems really are a perfect compliment.

Maria@BubblegumandDuctTape said...

Her paintings look so fun and how cool that she writes a poem for each one too. She's very talented. I'm glad you featured her as now we know where to find this cool art.

Out of My Mind said...

Clever girl. Can't help but smile when you look at her paintings. OK...a smile!
this is me moving on>>>>>>>>>>>>>>kt