For the spooky season, we just had to share a few of the “battycats” by artist Maggie Vandewalle, who grew up in Iowa City, Iowa. Did you notice cat lovers almost always love books and libraries? Well, so does Vandewalle, who loves to tell stories visually in a magical way.
“While growing up, if I wasn’t outside I spent most of my time with my nose in books,” Vandewalle says. “When I look back, the pictures are as clear to me as the stories, they are intertwined in a way that creates magic for me. Because I’m not a writer but love the story, I try to create visual narratives through the use of paint.”
Now in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Vandewalle enjoys painting cats with a whimsical twist. She takes inspiration from her cats, Jinx and Hex, and likes to depict them with great arching bat wings.
“Usually I pick either Jinx or Hex as a model when I need one. This painting wound up being a mix of the two, much to the chagrin of both😂,” she shared on Instagram.
Black Cats and Battycats Are Good Luck
Here, a battycat looks contemplative, wondering where to fly away next.
“I wish I knew the thoughts of cats…like what exactly are they thinking when they leave you always the decapitated mouse, or why, if they’re gonna do the hairball thing, do they move specifically to the carpet? I’d give pretty much anything to know the thought process in Jinx’s head just before she gets the zoomies. Contemplation,” she shared on Instagram.
As always, we remind everyone black cats are good luck, sleek, elegant house panthers who have suffered due to negative stereotypes. For that matter, bats have also suffered from a similar stigma, but we fully appreciate the wonderful qualities of both. Therefore, battycats must also be good luck, and we’re sure the artist would agree!
Magical Battycats by Maggie Vandewalle
“One of my favorite battycats. Waiting,” Vandewalle shared on Twitter.
Some of the artist’s cats have wings, but others get some help from the bats, like the piece below.
“I’ve painted my cat in a hat flown by bats and as a ‘battycat’ with real wings. This piece was in between those; learning to fly with fake wings while being helped by the bats that used to tote her around. No idea how she got from fake to real wings; she’s tricksy like that,” she shared.
Below, a walk in the autumn woods inspired a battycat masterpiece.
“My son and I went for a walk in the woods yesterday and while attempting to avoid raining black walnuts he tried to convince me that all horror movies start with an innocent walk in the woods. We saw a lot of brilliant colors and testy snorting deer, but no ax murderers. Or battycats, sadly.”
These battycats chase moths with an audience of glowing fireflies.
“Just learned the term “flying butter packet” and now I know what my cats see in moths😂,” she shared.
And here’s a winged Battycat who loves hoarding Candy corn.
“Time for the debate…Candy corn, yay or nay?😂😂😂”
The Battycats aren’t always black, like this one depicting a magical winged Siamese.
“It was always my impression that Siamese cats were more aloof than other cats…not that I’ve ever really known one, it was just feeling I had. Until I glanced over at my darling brat Jinx and realized what a crock that was. ‘Shroom Queen.”
And here’s a mystical white battycat:
“I’ve only done two battycats that weren’t modeled after my two black cats and this is one. She lives with a very dear friend of mine😊. Cloudland.”
She has also painted two “battybunnies.”
“I’ve painted a bazillion battycats, but only two battybunnies…this is one,” she shared on Twitter.
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Below, you can see the artist creating a drawing and watercolor of a cat in a row of delicately drawn trees. By carefully masking the foreground with yellow fluid, the watercolor splashes organically take shape. Then, the fun of adding rich details and textures to each minuscule branch for a stunning glowing result.
She makes it look so easy but getting this kind of result takes years of practice, impeccable skill, creativity, imagination, and a love for cats!
Video by Maggie Vandewalle Watercolors: