Greg Pittsley took a photo on his cell phone of his mother Charlotte sitting with her cat. Three weeks later, on Dec. 11, she died.
Just after his mother’s death, Pittsley walked by Ann Ponce’s artist studio in Ravenswood and saw a portrait of a cat.
He said to himself, “she gets it.” Pittsley walked in, pulled out the cell phone photo and asked Ponce to paint his mother.
“It’s an old lady holding a cat,” Ponce said. “That’s simply wonderful, so I had to paint it.”
The cat—named Evelyn—belonged to Pittsley’s sister. He said the family was looking after it when Charlotte and the cat formed a bond.
“They were just two souls that had been searching for eternity and found each other,” Pittsley said.
When Charlotte had a stroke, the cat stayed by her side, nudging her with his nose to keep her conscious until the rest of the family could arrive to say their farewells.
Ponce never got to meet Charlotte, but said she looked at hundreds of photos until she felt like she knew the woman.
“She had such a beautiful face,” Pittsley said. “It was so inquisitive and highly intelligent and (Ponce) captured it perfectly.”
The painting is titled “Evelyn and Her Lady,” and a print of it is on display at Dolce Casa Café, 4749 North Damen. Ponce is part of the Senior Artists Network, which held an opening reception at the café on Thursday. The art is available to view and purchase until Nov. 30.