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Estrella, a study in evil

19th July 2018


Estrella, the cat that put the talon in Catalonia (after Cat) is enjoying another one of his day-long siestas, in the baking sun on the balcony of this little house in Masquefa, where I’m house-sitting for friends.

Oh yes, he looks comfy enough, catching a few rays while he’s pretending to sleep. He’s thinking of course of his food; the dark gelatinous reeking sludge that comes from one of the 50 or so tins stacked up in the kitchen. He’s also thinking that if I make the slightest move, he’ll be up screeching and hissing in a fairly convincing display of a cat who’s had a comprehensive grounding in the opening of jugular veins.

We’re together on the balcony; I think I might make a move for the station, when I’ve done this little drawing; done his sweet little baked bean feet and his shiny fur. What I’m thinking is, I’ll lull him into a false sense of security and then run out of the house the back way. But then I drop the tiniest of brushes; a miniscule job that I used for the whiskers. And he’s nastily wide awake. So now I have to paint the chair, until he’s asleep; the comfy chair he uses while I get cramp on this hard kitchen stool.
It’s a shame, Barcelona would be so nice today.

The tasks weren’t especially onerous: feed the cat; feed the fish; but not the fish to the cat and water the plants indoors and out. Most days after getting the croissants for breakfast and having a coffee and holiday fag, if I didn’t get the train into Barca I’d sit on the verandah and fill up sketchbooks with small gouaches like this. Then off to the village square to watch a dubbed film. (They don’t like subtitles in Spain, or Germany in my experience.)

One thing I learned was that the sun moves quite fast, and almost every still life I attempted failed, because the shadows changed position constantly. A graphic demonstration of time flying when you’re enjoying yourself. I also painted the laziest, hungriest cat in the world. It got to the point where he’d meet me at the station and shout at me in Cat Catalan that if I didn’t get my sorry ass up to the kitchen and empty a whole tin of cat food (his owners recommended only a half) into his bowl immediately then surely I would die.

I think he doubled in size on my terrified watch.