A few months ago, desperate to get away from the computer and to get my hands dirty with some painting, I bought some 6 inch square painting panels and primed them lovingly. However, I didn't have the foggiest what to paint - I was in urgent need of a subject and my brain wasn't offering any up! I'd been watching this great video online of a kitten watching a horror movie, you may have seen it yourself - the range of expressions on its face was utterly wonderful! Ah ha! I thought, there's my subject! So I found some pictures of cats with great expressions on the internet, printed them out and used those to work from.
Here's the work in progress...
I enjoyed painting these pictures immensely, I got very involved in layering up colours and using sandpaper and scourers to scruff them up and expose bits of colour from underneath. I scratched and scrubbed and scraped at them for all I was worth! It was great to do something so hands on in total contrast to the almost clinical and very clean digital work I usually do. I was really pleased with how the cats turned out too - I wasn't sure if I'd be able to create something 'acceptable' (such a loaded word!). I tried not to worry about that and just have fun but I think when you're running a creative business you can't help but be constantly alert to the commercial possibilities for your work - unless, I imagine, you're in the enviable position of earning a good living from your work already and truly can do things 'just for fun'.
Anyway, here are 2 of the finished paintings, scanned... (you'll find some photos of the paintings a bit lower down the page)
People really liked them and one or two asked me if I'd consider doing portraits of their own cats. I initially balked at the idea - mainly through fear, I think, that I wouldn't be able to do their beloved moggies justice! Especially if they wanted a 'naturally coloured' rendition... And then I told to myself stop being such a pussy (sorry, I HAD to!) and get on with it.
I borrowed my friend Lisa's cat Gizmo as a model and set to work creating two portraits of him, one in 'natural' colours and one in 'crazy' colours.
Here's Gizmo! He's a smasher, isn't he!
And here are the two paintings I did of him...I have to confess that I did them in a bit of a hurry as I wanted to get them ready for an event last weekend, and I think I will go back and do some tweaking....
I was very happy to hear that Gizmo's mum loves his pictures and feels that I've captured his lovely big eyes perfectly! So I now feel that it's high time to give all the other beautiful beasts out there the opportunity to be immortalised in the same way that Gizmo has. Find out more about how you can commission your own kitty picture here.
Here are some photos of the actual paintings to better show the finished product.....