Winifred of Cobalt –8/29/04 – 9/18/18

There’s something about studio cats.  They always become legends.  And so we mark the passing of Winnie.  She came to us as a rescue, overweight, shy and with little function in her legs.  She was sweet and nothing like her predecessors.  Winnie’s health improved with the love and affection she received and she soon became Queen of the Studio. Winnie loved all the comings and goings of the students and seminar attendees.  She soaked in all of the attention and knew exactly how to please.  This rescue cat knew how to get along!  Hands down, Facebook posts about Winnie got more likes than any other posts.  That cat was a star! And when class wasn’t in session and it was just the few of us, she so missed the company and attention.  She passed this week with the same grace and dignity that she lived. Anne

Here are some memories from her fans:

This morning I miss her. She isn’t here to greet me. I will miss taking care of her, feeding her, and loving her.  Steph

When she left, she left an empty spot.  We are missing her. Rachel

I remember the morning that Winnie and Ginger (the studio dog) teamed up to catch a mouse! Joan Newhouse

Winnie was the chubby brown bundle of love that greeted and entertained hundreds of people who passed through the doors of Cobalt Studios. For more than a decade, she walked on many backdrops, drank plenty of paint water, kept critters at bay, charmed visitors, staff and students and was a Cobalt Facebook star. She will be forever in many hearts. She was a sweetheart.  Donna Wymore

“Winifred (fondly known to most as ‘Winnie’) was unequivocally a cat beyond all cat expectations of mine. Being more a “dog person”, I like cats just fine, but Winnie was the finest of felines I have had the pleasure to know and I would like to think she thought the same of me. May your trip over the Rainbow Bridge be paved with cozy velour & lots of mice. Kim Williamson

Rachel called me one summer and said “Amy, we have a problem!” You see every day I would come back from lunch a little early to pet Winnie. Eventually I didn’t even have to hunt her down. Turns out I had actually trained her so that at 12:50 she would walk around and look for me.  Rachel said for 10 min she would meow and wonder around looking for me. Amy Shimko

Winnie was the ultimate shop custodian.  She greeted you; kept you company while painting, checked on your work and purred her approval of your presence.  She will be missed. Jenny Knott

This is so heartbreaking, I am so sorry. She was an integral part of my time at Cobalt. My favorite memories of her involve her sitting on the tables and playing with pencils and trying to draw as we did our own drawings. We will all miss Winnie. Amanda Gimbel

Winnie was sassafras when I first met her. Strong, independent, cuddly when you needed it. A quiet, confident presence in the shop. So glad she learned to love me and welcome me as the years went on. I will miss you greatly. Sweet memories: time she stepped in paint and left a paw print on the drop, when she killed a mouse and we had to clean blood off the drop, when she climbed on the table and watched me work. Jannetta Britt

I believe that Winnie was the first to greet us on our first visit to Cobalt in 2017. She was a great ambassador for the arts – and an outstanding feline. My heart goes out to everyone mourning her loss.  Valerie Hendrix Yacik

Winnie was there to welcome me on my first visit 11 years ago. Somewhere I have a photo of her lounging in the middle of my perspective project, floating in an Escher landscape of planes and shadows. That cat was friendly with more scenics than I am, I think, and I’ve been really working on it. I think she had a special intuition, about when to keep company, when to distract, and when to demand attention. Charges take note: Winnie the cat had things to teach us. Valerie Light 

I am blessed to have known her plushy, quirky, nappy self.  By nappy I mean she loved naps. Morgan McCarthy

Oh sweet Winnie, you were one of the best cats I’ve ever known! RIP darling. You kept my company in the shop during the snow storm while everyone else was at USITT. You we great company during long lonely hours of painting. Your bucket drinking made me laugh and you were always forgiven for erasing my drawings! Shayna Parker

Ode to dear Winnie,
Your presence will be missed by many it seems.
You have brightened our days, our art and our dreams.
Your paw prints leave a trail to heaven above.
You will be remembered, the cat we all love. Lisa Giovannetti

Winnie embodied a flavor and attitude of mischief and whimsy that could not be as well contained by any other creature. She has been a presence of comfort and welcome that infused the last decade of my Cobalt experience. Her warmth will be missed while her presence will live on. RIP Winnie. Joe Rial

Oh, Winnie, I always felt chosen by you. We would congregate in the morning and it was always my lap you came to before starting our work. You were beautiful and full of love. Thank you for being the best studio supervisor any painter could have. It was a rite of passage to have a charcoal erased by you. You loved all and all loved you. We shall erect a carved foam statue in your honor! Tony Crawford

What a great life you had! So much joy and memories for all of us! Your spirit will be everywhere- teach the new kitty how to sit on the art work! Patricia Brook

So sorry to hear about Winnie! I will always think fondly on her sitting on my sketchbook waiting to be petted. She will be greatly missed. Jamie Lee Clausius

Oh Winnie dear, how loved you were by our whole group. Although you would frequently erase my charcoal drawings with your tail, your snuggles and tiny paw prints in drops will always be part of my Cobalt memories. Rest in Peace, my furry friend. Ashley Donnert

Winnie, will be missed. She was fortunate to have had such love surrounding her. Stephen Jones

  • Winnie, you will be missed. You never failed to drag your furry chub pouch all over my charcoal drawing until you found the perfect square to lay in on my beautifully snapped grid. I hope you have all the brown paper balls in heaven. Jennifer Rose L. Cole

So sad to see this, I’m really glad I got to meet her Victoria Hood  

At the end of summer scene painting, my whole family came to pick me up because we were continuing on to vacation. I was so excited to show them the house and the studio, but Winnie was the real star of the show. She will be missed. Emily Russoniello

Such a wonderful supervisor in the shop—she will be fondly remembered! Such a huge part of so many Cobalt experiences! Ashley Bellet

Sorry to hear, we’ll miss you Winnie. Kris Reifer

Hugs to everyone at Cobalt Studios Lori Koeller-Sapp

Oh no, how she will be missed! Leslie Shank 

Winnie  Sabrina Reed

R.I.P Winnie Jessica Le

We will miss you Winifred! Lori Koeller-Sapp

Sorry for your loss. Sai Thaan 

Today we said goodbye to Winnie. Rest in peace, my friend.  Love you with all my heart. #bestshopcatever Kendall Davila

Winnie and I had an understanding; she could claim any sweatshirt I left around the studio as a bed as long as she joined me every so often for a little cuddle  My Winster, my Winter Garden, this year at Cobalt won’t quite be the same without you. @ Cobalt Studios, Inc. Shiloah Grace Frederick

 Goodnight sweet girl. Thanks for being our surrogate kitty while we were at Cobalt. Sam Bodnar

 Rest easy, Sweet girl  We love you so much. Danika Yacik

Today our most wonderful shop cat Winnie passed away.You were so loved and will be so missed.  Hollace Francy

Goodbye, Winnie, great comforter of scenics! You’ll always be in our hearts. Emily Barnhill 

Thinking of our sweet Winnie today.  Living and learning @cobaltstudiosbackdrops is hard work but Win did her best every day to calm our nerves, guard our hoodies, and keep us laughing with her antics.  She might be the best employee they’ve ever hand and will be terribly missed.  RIP Winnifred. Terra Writz

Oh, she was the best!! I can’t imagine that place without her! Melissa Nalbach



USITT Show Report

We had a great time at the USITT Conference last week.  If you missed it this year, make a point of going in 2019!

We were so thrilled by the plethora of folks who stopped by our booth. This is some of what we hope you took away (besides cute little paint brushes!!)

We hope people realize the big picture of Cobalt; that we not only paint for the industry but educate about painting to anyone who walks in the door.

There is “Added Bonus” to coming here!!  If you only consider the reasonable tuition, applying to any of the programs is well worth it, but there are added bonuses in the beauty of the location and the networking that happens in any of the programs. You make valuable connections and, depending on the program, walk away with knowledge and portfolio pieces that are your own individual efforts.

Signing up for the intensive training of the 2 year “Scenic Artist Training Program” is not the only way to further your knowledge of Scenic Art.

There are many options for expanding your knowledge of Scenic Art at Cobalt Studios. For instance, the “Month at Cobalt” is an affordable experience, which helps anyone be able to attend. Because you are able to set an amount of time, at a time of your choosing (with suggestions based on the topics being studied by the two year students and what type of training you might be looking for) it makes attending the program more flexible for students or new scenics responsible for paying their own way. There are specific lessons being taught throughout the entirety of the two year program – also, your visit can include one of the Specialty Pro Seminars. Being in the studio, in and of itself, provides information on tools one might create and projects one may replicate to hone your hand and eye. All questions are answered and there should never be any hesitation in looking inexperienced—it is a school. We know that you might not know. With our love of teaching and your open mind, chances are you will leave with answers to questions you didn’t know you had. Being here has an intensive “on the job” training component without the fear of being fired or judged. You might be introduced to new products and techniques that may be useful to you in other areas of the industry as well as meeting people who may prove to be important connections.

I want to emphasize that the two year program and Summer Scene Painting are not the only ways to get paint on your hands and expand your knowledge and understanding of Scenic Art here at Cobalt Studios.

Rachel with Sarah Abernathy, Blorp and Shannon Komlofske


Tools We Use — Netting Stretchers

We were pleased to win a 2017 Technical Invention Prize from OISTAT for our Netting Stretcher.

In the entry, Rachel wrote “Often enough, scenic artists need to paint a backdrop which will have a substantial cut-out. No matter what shape, the lower part of the backdrop below the hole needs to be supported.  The standard way to do that most invisibly is to fill the cut-out with scenic netting (also known as opera netting). The netting looks a bit like fishnet but is made of cotton strings.  The kind we use is black and has 1″ square holes.  The strings must be oriented vertically and horizontally and must be tight.  The netting is essentially replacing the muslin which has been cut out.
Before I invented these netting stretchers, we struggled with different methods of getting the netting even and square.  In order to stretch it across the back of a drop that’s on the floor we needed to attach it securely to the floor as well. Taping was not secure enough and was troublesome when moving things to adjust square-ness. Stapling the net down also made for difficulty adjusting the tension and square-ness. Up-side down carpet tack strips were used, too, but the tacks sticking up were both irregularly spaced and so sharp such that many injuries occurred.
The idea for my design came when I was thinking about the problem and talking with a friend.  I recall saying what we really needed is something with slots in it every 1″ which we can slip the netting into, but which we can attach to the floor with a minimal number of staples.Grabbing a pencil, I started thinking and came up with this netting stretcher.  Luckily, we had someone to make them, and she made a lot of them, which is good because sometimes you need many.”

We’re off to USITT next week!

We hope to meet you in St. Louis at the USITT Conference next week!

Visit us at our booth # 1233

Click here for more!

We can’t wait to meet up with the Guild of Scenic Artists’  (GOSA)representatives who are spearheading the Scenic Artists’ Party!  Visit them at their booth # 1603.