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Pet Paintings and Poetry

Pangur Ban - the writer's cat.

This is the very first stage of a pet portrait painting of a cat in watercolour (from a while ago).

Watercolour pet portraits Kent Surrey Sussex London
First watercolour wash for pet portrait painting.



The basic image has been drawn onto watercolour paper to define key areas with an initial wash.


The cat has an ethereal look at the moment - but she will be black when finished!


In the meantime, though, this work in progress painting reminded me of one of my favourite 'cat' poems...written by an Irish monk during the ninth century, in which the work of a scholar and his pet cat are compared.


Pangur Ban


I and Pangur Ban, my cat,
'Tis a like task we are at;
Hunting mice is his delight,
Hunting words I sit all night.

Better far than praise of men
'Tis to sit with book and pen;
Pangur bears me no ill will;
He, too, plies his simple skill.

'Tis a merry thing to see
At our task how glad are we,
When at home we sit and find
Entertainment to our mind.

Oftentimes a mouse will stray
Into the hero Pangur's way;
Oftentimes my keen thought set
Takes a meaning in its net.

'Gainst the wall he sets his eye
Full and fierce and sharp and sly;
'Gainst the wall of knowledge I
All my little wisdom try.

When a mouse darts from its den.
O how glad is Pangur then!
O what gladness do I prove
When I solve the doubts I love!

So in peace our tasks we ply,
Pangur Ban, my cat, and I;
In our arts we find our bliss,
I have mine, and he has his.

Practice every day has made
Pangur perfect in his trade ;
I get wisdom day and night,
Turning darkness into light.'

Translation by Robin Flowers



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