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Stone keepsakes made with love

Not only is Karin Lasthuizen a highly qualified academic and enthusiastic violinist, she is also a talented artist and equally passionate about animals. Cats Protection Wellington is lucky to be the recipient of her latter two skills!

Headhunted from the Netherlands to take up the position of Professor in Ethical Leadership at Victoria University’s School of Business, Karin and her husband Juan (an IT specialist) moved to New Zealand in September 2016.

In January 2017 they fostered senior tabby and white lady Emily from CPW and cared for her for more than five years until she was gently euthanised at almost 20 years due to old age.

In March 2022, Karin joined the CPW team as a Friday morning volunteer and is an active and lively team member.

In addition to full time work, Karin continues to explore her creative side as a painter. Always drawing as a child but never having been formally trained, she attended several courses at Inverlochy Art School in Wellington.

Preferring portraiture, it wasn’t long before she ran out of room in the home to hang her canvases and seeing painted stones while on a holiday in Hawkes Bay sparked an idea.

Karin began painting images of our cats on beach stones using acrylic with a final coat of varnish.

The whole process can take several days as the preparation alone can take a while, from choosing the right shapes of stones after getting an initial photo and then ensuring that she’s ‘got the eyes right’ which Karin says is both the first and the most important part of the paint.

It’s easier too, she says, if you know the cats and their quirks which is why by capturing their individuality, her renditions of our cats are so incredibly life-like.

While many are based on images of our shelter cats, there are also some more stylised, comedic images that just make people laugh when they see them.

Karin generously gifts her stones to CPW to sell or give away or as part of an adoption package, whatever ‘feels right’.

She has also kindly painted memorial stones for Aroha, Bellah and Jedhi and her own Emily, which now rest in our memorial garden – loving reminders of past residents.

Never having lived without animals, Karin and Juan currently share their home with 2 year old Amy, a border collie, and ginger cat Pelle who they adopted as a kitten in January 2023.

Karin says they are amazing together, and we would be very surprised if the home isn’t also full of their images in a variety of media.


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