Posted on 25 Comments

Studies of Inishbofin

Last Thursday morning Bingo, one of my two cats,  collapsed in the front garden under a hedge and we had to take him on the long drive to the vets to end his suffering. It broke my heart. I had had him for over a decade and loved him dearly. Hattie, his cat companion of the last 6 years, misses him too and she has been outside looking for him. That’s even sader. We are keeping her indoors for now.



So my concentration hasn’t been great. I have struggled to write anything, although I had almost finished another blog. Every time, I looked at images, trying decide what painting to start next, I am crippled by indecision. So I have been painting instead a series of small studies. Playing with composition, and simplifying images. The idea is to reduce detail to the minimum.

Caravan at Magheraroarty
Caravan at Magheraroarty 24x18cm


Inishbofin #2
Inishbofin #2 24x18cm SOLD


I then moved on to slightly larger canvases. The photographs of the paintings don’t quite capture their colour. Unfortunately, they have a blueish cast to them.

Inishbofin #3

Inishbofin #3  30x24cm

Inishbofin #4
Inishbofin #4  30×24 cm


Inishbofin #5
Inishbofin #5  30 x34cm


Inishbofin #6
Inishbofin #6 30x24cm


Inishbofin # 7
Inishbofin # 7 (SOLD) 30x24cm


Inishbofin #8
Inishbofin #8 30x24cm


I will continue with these and hopefully I will find it within me to paint some much larger versions. In the meantime, we have a large rescue cat we have named Tadhg (pronunced “Tag”) from Burtonport Animal Rescue, in the office. He is named after a famous Irish rugby player,  called Tadhg Furlong, on account of his robust physique.

Tadhg Furlong
Human Tadhg,  the rugby player


Unfortunately, Hattie hissed  at him when she first saw him, so we are introducing them very, very slowly. Swapping scents and feeding them on opposite sides of the same door etc.  Tadhg was a stray and hasn’t had much experience of the indoor life, so he’s getting used to things like doors (they move when you rub up against them, you know) and mirrors (there’s a big black and white cat in window thing in the bedroom next door he’s worried about). He also loves carpets and heating. When he wants a break he sits under the chair in the corner of the room. I hope we can successfully integrate Tadhg into our animal family!

Tadhg liks his basket
Cat Tadhg likes his basket


See all the studies here


25 thoughts on “Studies of Inishbofin

  1. Happy integration! 🙂 And so sorry for Bingo. I love the caravan.

    1. Thank you, Manja. The caravan is in a fantastic ocation, isn’t it. The integration is going VERY slowly. Tadhg is mostly in the office with occasional forays into the bedroom next door. That “black and white cat” (his reflection) really knocked his confidence,

  2. i so sorry for your loss of bingo, and i’m hoping tag can settle in

    1. Thank you Beth. The loss of Bingo was tough as we had recently (3 weeks before) had to put one of our dogs, Mitzy to sleep too.

      1. it is always such a hard loss to lose a pet family member, and how awful to lose two-

      2. Yes, it felt very grim.

  3. Losing a pet cat or dog, or any animal, always brings a lot of sadness.

    1. Yes, I always get so attached to them. I am happy to give another cat a home, although that brings its own complications!

  4. First I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your cat. As a life long cat lover I know the pain you must be feeling.
    I love the paintings.
    Your new cat looks wonderful and I am quite sure will settle in beautifully…might take some time……
    Janet 🙂

    1. Thank you, Janet. Yes, I suepect it will take some time too. He’s quite happy in the office at the moment with food and warmth on tap.

  5. I’m so sorry about your pets, Emma. Good idea to focus on sketching while things are raw. All the best x

  6. Your minimal details strategy works for me—I have always liked your straightforward structural interpretations.
    As for the new cat, it sounds like you are doing everything right to slowly introduce the newcomer. I had to chuckle at the mirror episode. It made me remember the first time one of mine saw himself in a floor-length mirror and growled and hissed at himself while crab stepping away.

    1. Thank you, Alli. I have never seen a cat react like that before. It made me laugh.

    2. I have never had to introduce a cat so slowly before. I must of had easy going cats (Bingo) who accepted new a cat, or they were quite young and less of a threat to to the resident cat.

  7. Emma, sympathy on the death of your cat, and on your other cat’s grief. Integrating a new cat into the household has been hard at our house too, but it does, finally, seem to be settling down.

    1. Thank you, Ellen. I have never had to go so slow before. Séamas my husband (a big fan of Tadhg) say we are in no hurry and the new cat can live in the office, if necessary! I am hoping that Hattie (who can hear Tadgh and hopefully smell him too) will get tired of being annoyed/worried by him and accept him as part of the house smell. As Tadhg is still worrying about that Black and White cat in the mirror, I am hoping that he will be polite to her. We haven’t gotten onto on to the dog!!

      1. Dear Emma, I’m so sorry for your loss. I’ve lost one of my beloved cats in February and still miss him terribly! I don’t have the courage to get another one, out of fear our cat would not tolerate it, even though I know she misses her brother. She still most nights meows and cry’s.
        I think you’re doing everything right!
        Hopefully it will work out eventually!
        Ho about a Bingo painting?
        Thinking about you!

      2. Thank you, Ursula. I still miss Bingo. He was a gentleman amongst cats. I would have waited longer to get another cat but the earlier loss of our dog made his absence doubly difficult. Tadhg lives in one part of the house and Hattie, our resident cat in another. I am awaiting to arrival of a see-through baby gate type thing so they can see each other (but not get at each other) so I can get Hattie used to the idea of Tadhg. She can smell him and hear him and I can tell she’s not delighted but all I have to do is to get her to tolerate him. It’s turning out to be a long process.

  8. So sorry to read of your loss of bingo. I think the new fellow will settle in . He looks like a rugby ‘prop’ if he is a big fellow . As always I loved to see your paintings.

    1. Tadhg, the new fellow, is taking is time settling in. I don’t think he’s had a lot of experience indoors which is sad. Donegal is a tough place to live outside (all that wind and rain) so we are patient with him. We want this to be a success.

  9. What a difficult time for you Emma. Sometimes it is hard for others to understand how affecting the loss of a pet can be. I hope that Tadhg and Hattie can bring you joy. (Thanks for the pronunciation of Tadhg ~ I have wondered when I have seen it written.)

    1. I was very upset about Mitizy the dog’;s passing but Bingo, because it was very sudden, feels more profound. I know he was “only a cat” but he was very much a personality. I am getting to know Tadhg and my mother just calls him “Tag” beacuse those Irish spelling are just too much for her!

  10. So sorry for the loss of Bingo! And right after your beloved dog… so sad. I have a black cat too. In fact when I read that Hattie hisses at the adopted one, I was reminded of how my black cat has always – for over 10 years, hissed at her “sister” even though the sister is perfectly nice to her…. Some cats just like to hiss I guess. Good luck with all that – cats are so difficult to decipher sometimes but that is why I love them.

    1. Thank you, Pam. It’s been tough. The grieving goes on as I find myself thinking “Bingo hated the vacuum cleaner” as I am doing the vacuuming, or “Bingo would have liked this newspaper” when I buy a newspaper. He was with me for a long time and I had him from you so we knew ecah other very well.

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