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The Mary Ann Pictures

(drum roll) ... Mary Ann was our last cat at Killara Farm before we moved back to Vancouver and thence to Australia. She was a stray who had arrived at our friends' weekender near Sumas, Washington, about 2003; they had cared for her for a while but, as they were there only irregularly, they needed to find a new home for her. They'd named her for the determined young woman on "Gilligan's Island" -- the character who always seemed to get her way in spite of the wiles of the sultry Ginger. She was the prettiest cat we'd ever had, with a beautiful cowl or ruff that in the winter, when I did the drawings, would have done justice to Elizabeth I. By summertime she'd shed it all -- enough fur to make another cat -- all over everything. She was a high-maintenance kitty, but worth the effort.

Anyway, Mary Ann settled in and lived with us for more than three years before we found her a new home and moved ourselves on. Every late afternoon in the winter at the farm, we would sit with a drink near the woodstove to read and talk before beginning to cook dinner, and Mary Ann would emerge from wherever she'd been to lie on the rug at our feet and commune with us. I drew all these pictures in pencil in a small Moleskine sketchbook in January and February of 2006, which we knew was to be our last winter at the farm. I had always wanted to do a large set of cat images in all sorts of weird poses, as a satire on the Helga Pictures -- cats being the only models I can have, perhaps -- but this was as far as I got.

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