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Monday, April 6, 2015

The story behind the memorial portrait of Max the young Maine Coon cat

Sian's story -

Max was a rescue Coon that we got from a family in the Blue Mountains who had also rescued him as a stray but 2 people in that family were allergic to him. Would you believe I found him on Gumtree!?
He was quite paranoid about food when we first got him but soon realised he didn't have to worry about food anymore! He was also feline FIV positive but it didn't make any difference to us.
We noticed in March 2014 that he'd stopped eating and after investigation through SASH in Sydney he ended up having part of his stomach removed to remove a large tumour and was on chemo until Oct 2014.
We had to feed him through a feeding tube in his neck for a few weeks and he'd just sit close to Peter all day on one of the breakfast bar stools , occasionally resting his head on one of our knees.
We didn't leave him alone again after that. There was always someone with him. During this time Peter drove him to Sydney every 2 weeks for his checkups and treatment.
 He responded well to chemo and was in remission very quickly but unfortunately not long after it stopped the cancer came back with a vengeance. He went downhill pretty quickly in the end. How ever his oncologist at SASH said he was already a unique patient in that he survived the chemo and went into remission. He was also the first one of theirs that had survived so long into round 2 of cancer.
Unfortunately it's more aggressive when it comes back the second time and he finally passed away in the car somewhere near Lane Cove on 31st Dec as peter was rushing him down to the SASH again. We think he had a heart attack.
 He was a very affectionate boy and loved sitting in the kitchen on the bench when things were going on.
 He especially loved his roast chicken and every few weeks Peter would cook a few chickens for him, which we'd strip and portion up as his cat food. He would get a bit hysterical over roast chicken!
 He was especially Peter's boy and would follow him around everywhere. ( Sue - Peter told me he was more like a dog than a cat).
Tiggs was his great friend but at the end when he was deteriorating fast, Rosie spent a lot of time close by him.

Sue - Here is the portrait I created of Tiggs

Rosie's portrait-

All the staff at SASH loved him as we did. They were all so upset when he died. There were tears all round and at our local vets at Maitland.
We just didn't think to take photos of him in the last year as he was so sick and looked awful but he was still a lovely affectionate boy who loved his cuddles.

Sue - I'm going to create a great memory of Max for Peter and Sian.
I'm using one of the few clear photos we have to create his portrait.

Here is an early stage of the underpainting in acrylic.

I need to have the portrait laying flat when I do the first acrylic washes - otherwise it runs off as it dries. Once this stage is dry I can place it on my easel and paint the drier acrylic underpainting and then the Oil.

Here the underpainting is finished. I have since painted his eyes and mouth roughly in Oil. The nest stage will be to continue to paint Max - I'll do the darkest areas first then his lighter fur.
Once he is roughly done I'll work on the background and rug.

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