Hello everyone, happy Tuesday! Today I have a cute kitty page to share with you as part of my language theme. It features a couple of Maneki Neko or lucky cats, and a few extra little cats I happened to find in need of a home.
As you know, I am Guest Hosting the May challenge over on Art Journal Journey this month and my chosen theme is…
We are in the last week of this month but you can still find a nice list of ideas about language inspired pages in my introduction post just click here.
For today’s post, I was inspired by these Chinese language pages. The pages on the left were wrapped around some tools I ordered and I thought it might come in handy one day, and the yellow and pink papers came from some hardware orders and have English on the reverse side.
To start my page, I collaged the papers onto my journal pages. The book page is very thin and fragile so I had to be careful pasting it on to the page. I had an idea for something to go on the right side so I wanted to keep all the pink paper on that side.
I really like the Japanese Maneki-Neko cats so although the background is Chinese writing, I still wanted to add my Japanese cats lol. Actually quite often they are mistakenly referred to as “Chinese lucky cats” so maybe that is acceptable. I sketched out one on the left side with the right paw up and then I copied him over to the right side with his left paw up. The left or right paw raised has different meanings, the left paw raised is for business and to get more customers, the right paw raised is for the home and to get more money. Both paws raised is for protection. There is a sweet little folktale about an innkeeper who took in a stray cat and fed it even though he wasn’t able to feed himself, and in gratitude the cat sat at the front door with its paw raised, beckoning in customers and prosperity. This is where the other name for Maneki Neko comes from – the beckoning cat.
The colour of the cats also has meaning, the traditional white cat is for general good fortune, red is for good health, black is to ward off evil, pink is for romance and gold or yellow is for wealth. I planned to colour one in gold and one pink since part of my background is pink, but then I forgot and painted the whole background in this kind of gold colour so I couldn’t really paint one of my cats gold! So annoyed with myself lol. I didn’t really want a “romance” cat either but I was just going with the background colour of the collage. Really off to a great start!
In the end I painted the cat on the right with a purple neocolour ii that is more like a pink and painted his paws and ears white with acrylic. I kept the cat on the left with the original paper colour and put a light wash of gold gelato over him so he does shine with a hint of gold but not in this photo. Then I painted his paws and ears pink to match his little friend on the right. They traditionally hold a gold luck plaque in one paw, so I painted those with gold acrylic ink, and then used a stamp from a Sizzix stamp/die set that has characters that are supposed to mean “good luck” but I have no idea if they are correct or not haha.
At the weekend I found these little Hello Kitty stickers in a drawer covered in something sticky so I washed them and left them to dry. Washing them removed the sticker ability so I had no idea what I was going to do with them but then today I remembered them in time to add them to this page so now they have a home.
I found a quote (actually a proverb) that says “You will always be lucky if you know how to make friends with strange cats”. I am always making friends with strange cats, I can’t help myself lol. I think they enjoy the interaction as they are probably so used to being ignored. I wrote it on some black card with a white pen and stuck it on my page.
Did I mention I like to collect Maneki-Neko lucky cats? Here are a couple of my favourites, the rounded gold one for wealth, the black one to ward off evil, and the big white one that is actually a mug, which is for good luck or good fortune.
As it is also Tuesday I am sharing my tipple of choice today which is this Fentiman’s Ginger Beer, one of the few brands that do not contain artificial sweeteners! They brought in a sugar tax a couple of years ago and a lot of manufacturers switched to sweeteners which I don’t want to consume. Yes sugar is evil, blah blah but I think artificial sweeteners are worse. For a while some items were out of stock like Tesco (supermarket) version of Ginger Ale, and only the “lo cal” version was available (containing two different sweeteners) and the regular version just never came back into stock. Two years later and it’s still the same, even Schweppes only offers their Dry Ginger Ale with sweeteners. So there are two brands that have stuck to their traditional recipes (with sugar) but of course they are much more expensive than these artificial options! They also sell their product in glass bottles versus plastic bottles from all the other brands, and since this is International Plastic Free Day, I thought I would mention that. So if you want to help free the ocean of plastic, click here.
I hope you feel inspired to join me at Art Journal Journey this month. Language is all about communication, and I would love to see you communicate using language on your pages, in whatever form you choose. I have a lot of ideas for language-inspired spreads to share with you over the course of this month, so do keep checking back if you need some inspiration or ideas, or even just to say hi! I can’t wait to see what you do with this month’s theme and I will be dropping by to see all your lovely creations.
Let me know what you think in the comments. If you have any questions about anything in this post, just ask. As always, thanks for reading!
My handmade art journal, Chinese book pages and other, matte medium, white gesso, neocolour IIs, gelatos, black card, white pen, gold pen, black fineliner,
You might also like . . .