A few years ago, my husband and I lived for a year in Hong Kong, in an apartment on the Chinese University campus in Shatin. I looked for something to do with my time while my husband was teaching and began tutoring children after school in drawing skills. One fourteen-year-old girl was passionate about art, and she was a delight to have around. Flora was already very skilled in traditional watercolour, but wished to extend her drawing knowledge. The reason? She was also passionate about cats and brought a different cat book from the library when we met on a Friday. Every day she drew a cat at the top of her diary page, and Friday was no exception. Flora’s aim: to draw every cat species she could.
On returning to New Zealand, I again found myself in a hiatus, with no work forthcoming. This was when I fell back to what I knew best, my art, and began to put together a portfolio of images to accompany a story I’d written about Flora, called – Flora and the Friday cat. The image above, shows ‘Flora’ writing in her diary. The cat drawing, if you look closely, has been cut out. That is because it is Flora’s own drawing which she allowed me to include in the book. The story, quite simply is about a teacher and her student, their different cultures and of course cats.
The story was never accepted for publication, although I was offered other books by other authors to illustrate. But what I have, which gives me more than any sheaves of paper could, is the memory of this intelligent young woman at a formative time in her life. I do know that she went on to university. But what I don’t know is, does she still draw cats?
All the drawings were done using Faber Castell artist quality polychromos pencils on full sheets of A2 Grumbacher multi-purpose paper.