Puss, The Artist’s Cat – In the Studio, Boonah, Qld – Painted about 3am (1974) – Sawrey Family Collection – SOLD

Available at: SOLD

Detail photos for this Artwork

The working life of an artist is solitary and long, reflecting the many hours required to work alone as part of their creative process.

The demands on Sawrey to fulfil the needs of collectors was great, and his strong work ethic propelled him to spend days on end in his Studio dedicated to completing paintings while he was “getting a steam up” and totally focussed in the flow of creation. He would then take a few days break, or a week off, only to return to the studio once again.

Sawrey often roughed out the basic composition of a painting during the day in his studio. He’d then join his family for dinner in the house. After dinner he’d return to the studio and often work into the wee hours while his family slept.

During the 1970’s and part of the 1980’s, Sawrey was fortunate to have “Puss” as his Studio companion, a good natured tortoiseshell cat who curled up on old timber box beside Sawrey’s easel, providing companionship for Hugh as he painted through the night.

Puss came to the Sawrey family as a stray in the early 1970’s when they were living in Boonah in Queensland. Later, she travelled with the family when they moved to rural Victoria in 1977.

Puss was a Studio cat – she never ventured into the home and she was the only cat amongst the selection of dogs the Sawrey family kept as pets. Puss’s domain was with the artist in his Studio surrounded by canvases, paint, brushes and cigarette butts. Puss and Hugh whiled away many hours together while Hugh created many a beautiful painting.

Puss is immortalised here in this delightful oil by Sawrey, a sentimental portrait of a faithful pet. The rear of the painting is titled with Sawrey’s hand-written inscription:
“Puss” – The Artist’s Cat in the Studio – Boonah, Qld. Painted about 3am, 1974.”

“Puss” was most likely produced very quickly, perhaps within an hour, for Hugh’s personal enjoyment and for some light relief from his other paintings of outback subjects.

“Puss” was a special personal treasure just for Hugh Sawrey and his family, and a touching memento of a loyal friend that saw Hugh quietly through many solitary hours of painting.

Oil on Board
14 x 19 cm
30 x 34 cm
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