Tasmanian artist Felicity Edwards and her feline muse – find out who’s the boss?
Felicity Edwards is an artist and animal lover. Stray cats, rescue horses and dogs have been a big part of her life and her art. Felicity lives in Tasmania with her two black cats, Xena and her son, Marvin. The cats were both strays and now happily live in a life of luxury inside. Her partner Peter’s Cavalier King Charles, Button, sadly died around a year ago and they’ve been too devastated to get another dog since. Felicity says Marvin is definitely her muse because he is such a character. The dynamic between Xena and Marvin gives her endless inspiration for her drawings.
Felicity shares her heart-warming story about the relationships between the humans and animals in her household. Find out who really is the boss between Tasmanian artist Felicity Edwards and her feline muse.
Who’s the boss? Did you grow up with pets in Tasmania?
Felicity: I grew up in a country town in Victoria and moved to Tasmania when I was about 18. I remember the two cats from my childhood were both strays. A tabby called Tutty tatty which was short for Tutankhamen and a fluffy ginger called Sphinx. We also had a beautiful Boxer dog called Chloe. I have also been around horses for most of my life, most of which were rescue cases. Cats and horses are really good together as they seem to have similar personalities. Zooey was my first black cat and he lived to be 20. He got on really well with my horse Ami, they were great mates. I also had two Burmese cats, Silas and Saul, and I also have a lot of visiting strays that come and go. They have nearly all ended up in my drawings.
Who’s the boss? How did Button, Xena and Marvin come into your life?
Felicity: Button was my partner Peter’s little Cavalier King Charles spaniel and when we met about eight years ago. Button had to get to know my Burmese cat Silas first. Button was very timid and Silas soon let her know that he was the boss, but then they got along famously. When Silas passed away I was without a cat for nearly a year when Xena and her kittens turned up on my property. I watched this tiny young feral female cat as she was trying to feed her four kittens on baby rabbits that were nearly as big as her. I began to put cat food and water out for them and waited until the kittens were old enough to be weaned and eventually caught her first, and then the kittens, one at a time. The RSPCA and The Hobart Cat Centre took three of the litter however I decided to keep one of her kittens. I named the little black kitten Marvin. Marvin was easily domesticated, although his mother Xena was a long work in progress.
I did not want to add to the feral cat population by allowing Xena to breed again so she spent many months in the stable, with my horse Ami, as her companion. I had a real dilemma. I wanted to get Xena de-sexed however she wouldn’t let me touch her. After much patience and perseverance she finally allowed me to handle her. As soon as I could pick her up I organized the trip to the vet. Of course I couldn’t put her back out in the stable after her operation, so began her life inside with Marvin and the luxury of a choice of warm beds and comfy chairs to sleep on.
Xena is no longer the tiny black mother cat and I jokingly call her “boombah” and “the sloth” as she is now very tubby. Both Marvin and Xena were very wary of Button to begin with however they soon learnt that she was no threat to them. However her wagging tail was something that Marvin was endlessly tempted by. Button sadly passed away a year or so ago. Peter was devastated and we haven’t as yet brought another dog in to the family.
Who’s the boss? You’ve created a range of delightful cat and dog portrait greeting cards. Who is your muse and inspiration?
Felicity: Marvin is definitely my muse as he is such a character. He thinks he is the Alpha male and tries in every way possible to lord it over his mum Xena. He is not a really affectionate cat but Xena is, and even though he doesn’t want a cuddle he gets jealous about her sitting on my lap or sleeping on the bed. He will pounce on her and chase her away just to exert his power. She has learnt that she can quite easily sneak back up after he has played out his little game. The dynamic between the two different personalities gives me endless inspiration for my drawings.
Who’s the boss? The saying goes ‘Dogs have owners, cats have staff’. So, who really is the boss between you and Marvin in your studio?
Felicity: Marvin is definitely the boss! It is nearly impossible to set up a cat in a pose. I have to wait for one to happen. I then have to be very quick. Usually I will grab whatever camera is handy and grab a shot and use that as the basis of the composition. Even if he is fast asleep and I try to do some sketches he usually senses that I am looking at him and will move. Luckily Xena is much more accommodating for sleeping poses.
WIN a pack of 10 cat greeting cards created by Felicity Edwards! Enter here.
You can find Felicity’s drawings and greeting cards at Inka Galleryor via Facebook. The Inka Gallery is a not-for-profit artist run initiative situated in the Salamanca Arts Centre in Salamanca Place, Hobart’s iconic waterfront arts district.