Raining Cats and Dogs


Hello all!

It’s a very rainy monday here, so the perfect opportunity for me to write a little blog. With the nights drawing in, the weather’s shift to the soggy and the return of Downton Abbey (every cloud has a Crawley lining, remember), I think we can safely say that winter is on its way. Which I actually don’t mind at all. Autumn has always been my favourite time of year; the colours are magical and I love the smell of bonfires crackling away. Being an October baby I used to get that giddy excitement leading up to my birthday, but I can safely say I’m over that now. There’s so much to look forward to at this time of year: Halloween, Bonfire Night, dog walks on frosty mornings, pub dinners, the return of red cups and Pumpkin Lattes at Starbucks, and the C-word looming a couple of months away (Christmas, before you report me).

Maggie hates walking in the rain, and I don’t usually mind it except my Dubarries are currently at the boot hospital so I’m a bit short on waterproof footwear. These beauties were very kindly sent by Hunter after the Olympics and whilst I’m pretty sure they’d look great on Lady Gaga at Glastonbury they will not be featuring on Wimbledon Common anytime soon.

Gold is not the new green

I digress, as usual. Bad weather also makes me paint more, as I love working in a cosy office as the rain hammers down outside. (A very geeky aside- I’ve just ordered a daylight lamp that clips onto my easel which should make painting in bad light much easier. I’m also hoping I get a tan from it…?) I’ve just finished a new portrait, of Eva who sadly passed away earlier this year after a battle with skin cancer:

It’s always very emotional painting an animal who is no longer with us, but fortunately her owners had some lovely high quality photographs which made it easy for me to work from, and I was able to get a real sense of her personality before I started the painting. She was apparently a very timid girl so I think the quiet grey background is appropriate, and it compliments the colours of her coat nicely. I’ve painted a few pieces recently with rather muted, earthy backgrounds and I think they are a nice way of really emphasising the subject matter.

Random interjection- I am also loving ‘earthy’ nail varnishes. Somebody emailed me asking what colour I was wearing in the picture I posted with the frozen Cosmo. It’s Nails Inc. ‘Cadogan Square’ if you’re still interested… and now I think I may have lost all of my male my readers.

Back to cats. I’ll be brutally honest, I’ve never been hugely fond of felines. And I blame these two:

"We are Siameeeeese if you pleeeeeease"... Brrrr

That’s right. I was absolutely, bed-wettingly terrified of the Siamese cats from Lady and the Tramp as a child. I had recurring nightmares about them for YEARS, and even now, the creepy song they sing still gives me the heebie jeebies. My irrational fear was somehow appeased when a beloved Grandma in South Africa acquired a Siamese, and I realised how exquisite they are in real life. But still, I’ve never been quite able to understand the species- I don’t know why they can’t sit on my lap without using my thighs for target practice with their claws, for example. I also find it unnerving how intelligent they are. However, whilst I was painting Eva I had the opportunity to really study her face and decided that they actually aren’t scary at all. I may even have a cat one day, but unfortunately that can’t be during Maggie and Rusty’s lifetime. They are tormented on a daily basis by our neighbours’ cat, who likes to peer in the window of my office whilst I’m painting:

I see you.

Maggie has made herself blurry in this photograph just so you can understand how angry she gets:

I'm Maggie and I'm REALLY ANGRY

Kudos to the cat, though- the more wound up the dogs get, the closer to the window it creeps. I recently caught it sitting on one of the cars on the driveway, swishing its tail as it cleaned itself, metaphorically flicking me the v-sign. I’m sure cat owners know exactly what I’m talking about. They certainly have bags of attitude, and I know this one could have my two for breakfast if it wanted. Although I can’t help imagining that it only eats seared tuna steaks on a bed of steamed vegetables, served on a silver platter by a waiter in a tailcoat.

Before my lowly canines get too insecure, here are some pictures of them that definitely don’t have any cats in:

We visited Devil’s Punchbowl in Surrey at the weekend before the rain came. It’s a lovely place where you can walk for hours and the views are glorious. However I can’t let Maggie off the lead all the time there as she likes to pull a Houdini and disappear into the woods, leaving me red-faced and looking like a total weirdo as I canon around bellowing after her.

One place she loves to go off-lead is on Epsom Downs, and we had a great walk with our friends there last week:

Apologies if you’ve already seen that photograph on Maggie’s twitter. Speaking of which, she would like you all to know she now has over 15,000 followers (wow! thank you), and asks if there are any cats out there with such a large fanbase…? Consider that the gauntlet officially thrown down.

Kim x





  1. Amanda
    September 25, 2012

    Kim,What a great blog,just love hearing your insight,the portrait of Eva is absolutely stunning,I know her owners must cherish the service you provide with your amazing talent,you provide a service that is truly enriching people’s lives and is part of their home and family,just loving finding out more about you as a person,was wonderful to see a new blog posted!

  2. Steff
    September 25, 2012

    Hi Kimmy, I can’t believe you are not excited about your birthday this year…it is a landmark age and as I got told all weekend ‘the last one you get to celebrate’, cheers guys we all know that actually means ‘ the last birthday we will buying you presents for’! I’m recently down to one dog and loved reading about Eva despite the fact I too have never been a feline peron. If your ever back in the Lewes area and want to show Maggie and Rusty the South Downs give me a shout it would be good to catch up.

  3. Jo
    September 25, 2012

    Hi Kim

    Just enjoyed reading your latest blog – with the rain still teeming down.
    Your title puts me in mind of a Dereke Bruce quote about ‘cats and dogs’ – maybe you know it? – “In order to keep a true perspective of one’s importance, everyone should have a dog that will worship him, and a cat that will ignore him.” Don’t think it’s considering the practicalities though!

    Love your paintings and your ‘musings.’
    I wish you well. Jo

  4. Hilary Handley
    September 26, 2012

    I am indeed still interested in the nail polish, so many thanks for the details – and huge apologies to all your male readers!

    Happy birthday for next month.

  5. Maria
    September 27, 2012

    Hi Kim,
    Glad you’re back home and you can start painting again. That one of Eva is amazing, it seems as real picture! In fact I’m not a cat fan, when I was little my neighbors had a lot of cats and they scared me, they would step at my window when I was doing homework, sometimes I closed the curtains to feel safer but he started scraching the windows, I hated!! I TOTALLY prefer dogs!
    Hope seeing other blog soon, reading this one was very interesting.
    Maria XOXO

  6. Dee
    September 29, 2012

    Hi Kim
    great to hear a love of Country and Western music being expressed out there.
    Always has been my favorite music and the love just keeps growing. The most poetic form of music ever in my opinion, went to Nashville a couple years back and loved every minute!
    Your paintings really are amazing, the characters you capture is just brilliant.
    Been reflecting on the ‘adult literature’ appearing on our bookshelves recently , E. L. James ( have not read it and don’t wish to) and JK Rowling ( think I should read it but am not looking forward to it – not a great start) . Was thinking it would be great to read some contemporary literature that left us feeling warm and not cold, perhaps you could do the honors one day!


  7. esteban suave
    October 9, 2012

    Well in this case, I wish you bad weather.

    From burdened clouds of mournful grey, our world will brighten up…thanks to your inspired paintings.

    The color pigments of your paintings vibrates very much with the best of what nature has to offer.

    Keep on.


    PS: For your inspiration: http://www.wikipaintings.org/en/nicholas-roerich/bekas-1893 – Roerich

  8. Veronica Hague
    October 9, 2012

    I am just in awe of your beautiful paintings Kim. They are really lovely.Your brush strokes look amazing – the way you capture their personalities and the detail. My one big regret is not going to art college (hence the fact that I’ve ended up with an ironing business in Cheshire) but maybe you’ve inspired me to start daubing again at the ripe old age of 58, but your dad’s sentiments are correct regarding work. Also I love your witty banter and am an avid follower of Maggiemay_hem and Rusty (well both Rusty’s actually). It never fails to make me smile. Good luck with your artwork.


  9. Caro
    October 10, 2012

    You write so well Kim and your paintings are just incredible. The charcter that you capture in each animal’s expression is wonderful. I love hearing about your dogs. We have a 5 month old border terrier called Flynn and before him we had one called Bob who we lost early this year aged 16. They are such gorgeous, characterful dogs aren’t they? You can’t beat terriers!Flynn is full of mischief as you can imagine! We also have a 5 year old westie called Isla and he drives her round the bend at times, always wanting to play. He always wants to be where she is, which when it’s my lap is a tad cramped!! We have just taken him to the beach for the first time which he absolutely loved and was exhausted at the end of every day which pleased our Isla greatly!

    Looking forward to your next blog,
    Carolyn x

  10. jane
    October 12, 2012

    Hi Kim,

    Just wondering if you’ve ever read Virigina Woolf’s book Flush? I think you’d love it if you haven’t. It’s written from the perspective of her then pooch. Absolutely brilliant. And I know, given that you’re a literature major, you’d enjoy both the perfect prose and the story. It’s delightful.

  11. Catherine
    October 12, 2012

    Funny, I landed in London from the US on September 24. You know it’s bad when even the Brits think it’s raining a lot. I got SOAKED going to the Tate, but it was worth it. I can’t paint, but nice to see paintings in the rain.



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