Martini Minute

Welcome to ’Berta’s blog! Check back frequently to read ’Berta’s entertaining and insightful musings on a variety of design-related topics. Put up your feet, loosen your tie, and enjoy a Martini Minute.


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Clawed Monet

I name my cats after artists.

Here’s a BOLD statement: Many artists throughout history have been cat people.

Have you ever noticed that when artists portray cats in their work, it’s not like painting a portrait of a nobleman with his trusted hunting dog by his side. When an artist portrays a cat it’s all about the cat being nonchalant and minding it’s own business. Can you even think of one painting of a cat obediently sitting beside its master? Probably not. In paintings or drawings the cat usually has it’s back turned to the viewer, is grooming itself, sitting on the furniture, or licking it’s own butt. It’s being a cat. Not a pet. Not a hunting dog. Not a fine steed. A cat.

I’ve only really had cats in my adult life: including a Monet, and Seurat, and a Lautrec.

My Monet, who sadly died at the ripe old age of 18 1/2, was a female cat with dappled coloring and pastel hues that reminded me of one of Monet’s impressionist paintings.

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"Haystacks in the Late Summer" by Claude Monet. Image from wikicommons.org. used under principle of fair use.

Before Monet passed away I almost adopted a stormy gray kitten. I was going to name him Turner. Somebody else adopted him, since I didn’t have an opening at that time—three is my limit. I’m sure his caretakers named him something else, but I’ll always think of him as Turner.

I recently adopted young Toulucy-Lautrec (after, well, Toulouse-Lautrec). She’s sassy. Toulucy looks like this Toulouse-Lautrec painting. The black cat looks a awful lot like Seurat—perhaps I should have named them Toulouse and Lautrec?

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"Two Cats" by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, courtesy of wikigallery.org. used under principle of fair use.

I still have Seurat—an older gentleman, but still spry. Seurat is mysterious and somewhat spooky and surreal. He reminds me of Seurat paintings, for some reason.

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"Grand Jatte (study)" by Georges Seurat. Image from wikicommons.org. Used under principle of fair use.

And then there’s old-lady Midnight. I never renamed her after I got her from the shelter. She was my first cat. I didn’t know better, but if I had I’d have named her Rubens, because she used to be pretty Rubenesque.

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"The Three Graces" by Peter Paul Rubens. Image from wikicommons.org. Used under principle of fair use.

Now she’s more like an Odalisque.

"The Grand Odalisque" by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres. Image from wikicommons.org. Used under principle of fair use.

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Maybe I’ll name my next cat Franz.

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"Kater auf gelbem Kissen" (1912) by Franz Marc. Image from wikicommons.org. Used under principle of fair use.

— Berta