I was recently commissioned to paint a surprise pet portrait for someone’s birthday. Luckily, I had access to some photos of the kitty but somehow it still took two tries to get it right. The first one above, is really cute right? But just doesn’t look like the actual cat! I think I was trying to make it extra cute and ended up with a kitten lol. Anyway, the second try hit a sweet spot – still cute and looks like the right cat. Yay!
The added hazard to this project was that the recipient also does pet portraits! Yikes. Anyway, he loved it so it’s all good.
PS yes, this kitty’s eyes really are that colour!
image (C) 2022 Hilary Farmer (based on owner photo)
A special kitty portrait done for my husband. This cat lived to a very old age but sadly we lost him a few months ago. He spent most of his time on a lap or curled up with his favourite human. A good, long life …but we miss him and his affectionate nature.
I painted this kitty portrait a few weeks ago now but somehow missed posting it. Although the painting isn’t too large, I think I have conveyed the largeness and personality of the cat quite well. He’s quite large – about 20 lbs! and is both cuddlesome and fearsome – at least in his own estimation lol. There were some colours in the background which I wanted to keep, but by making the shapes quite abstract they didn’t distract attention from the cat.
Tom’s poem is another kind of portrait of Yogurt.
Deep within each peaceful cat there dwells
a Beast of Olde, untamed and passing wild:
a creature dark and dangerous and fell,
not even slightly cuddle-some nor mild.
It rarely shows itself, but still, when roused
to the surface slowly it will rise
flooding up from where all anger’s dowsed,
witchery alive within its eyes.
Only thoughtful hesitation keeps
us safe from this fierce beast when it is woke
and waiting, thinking, contemplating leaps
which will leave lamps and crockery a’broke.
Beware the Beast that we have seen before:
Cry havoc and let loose the cats of war
Even though I put the dimensions on the images of the paintings, it is hard to tell on the screen the impact the size has on the art. This one is a bit larger than I have been working recently and so the cat is larger than life-sized. Feeling bold, I used my largest brushes and painted it alla prima in one 3 hour session. The cat is loosely painted but definitely a portrait of a specific cat and the background – an abstraction of the view out the window beyond – has a pleasing Klimt-esque quality. Sometimes, while painting there’s a feeling of ease and “rightness” – this one had that for me.
Another charming poem from Tom for this piece!
A cat upon the windowsill
all done with years of wandering,
at last a place to warmly chill
while contemplating, pondering
the biggest question of her day:
is it best to sit or lay
oneself upon a a window ledge,
or prowl around and haunt the edge
of every room where there might be
a scrap of kibble, or a slice
of bacon dropped by raiding mice
no cat seems ever quite to see?
The choice is hard, but now it’s made
and in the sunshine she is laid!
This is a bit larger piece than most I’ve been doing lately. Linen is a lovely surface to work on and so although it went through a less lovely phase, I plowed on and think I brought it together. Unlike the smaller paintings, this was not done alla prima (in one session). I worked on it for three days. This scene makes me think of small towns where cats are apt to watch the people passing by while enjoying the sun.
Once again, Tom has tapped into the spirit of the painting with his poem!
On lazy summer Sunday afternoons
when bees are bumbling through the blooming flowers
and vines are climbing up the trees festooned
with squirrels all seeking shelter from the powers
of sun and heat, it’s time for cats to prowl
along the fences, greeting with a growl
any interlopers who might stray
into the yard from houses far away
for though those squirrels are out of reach just now
they’ll keep for later when they’re on the ground
and a cat has energy new found
as the sun prepares to take a bow.
For in high summer even hunting cats
will seek a shady spot and gently nap!
It was time for another portrait of one of my puss-cats. Ming is a gorgeous tortoiseshell who knows just how beautiful she is. It was fun to make this as close to a portrait as possible – it really looks like her from markings to personality which made me very happy! …and then I played around with some subtle pattern in the background to bring out the green of her eyes.
Tom’s lovely poem also shows her personality!
This is my portrait and I deign
to sit for you in calm and poise:
a monarch glowing with disdain
for all the rough and bustling noise
that humans seem to generate
as if they cannot contemplate
a life serene, unbound by care,
they crave the trumpet’s brassy blare
which doesn’t do them any good
despite their clashing awkward clatter
they miss the quiet times that matter
in the dark and silent woods
that surround this life of time
where truth is known to me and mine.
This apparently grey and white cat is actually very colourful when you look closely! Maybe it’s all the flowers rubbing off. This was painted alla prima on linen inspired by an image seen in the online painting course I am taking.
Tom’s poem for this one is particularly playful and fun! 🙂
A cat acreep among the pots
searching for a little mouse
that scuttles through the grassy plot
returning to its hidden house
where on seeds it may just chew
or make a savoury lentil stew
for it may be a mouse-gourmand
who wants the best, in fact demands
tasty freshness in its food
and so it braves the creeping cat
who at some clatter glances back
and misses out! O such a mood
the kitty’s in on her return,
and too the mouse, whose stew has burned!
Ah the challenges of painting black fur! The key is, her fur isn’t really black. There are darker cooler areas in the shadow and warmer highlighted areas in the light – just the relative value of all of it is quite dark. To keep it fun, there is brown, purple, blue, even some red and yellow all in the “black” fur …and as result she fits right in on that plaid blanket.
As you can see from Tom’s poem we understand our cats and love them anyway. 😉
I really don’t believe you see
what matters to a cat like me
is that my every little wish
is met with acquiescence.
I am expecting you will know
just what I want. Now please do go
and bring my dinner of fine fish
for time is of the essence:
if it’s delayed I’ll miss my nap
and we cannot be having that
so serve it quickly on a dish
or face your obsolescence.
But once I’ve eaten I will sleep
and dream and give a quiet “meep”
as I chase butterflies and sheep
through fields of joy’s quintessence!
Sometimes it is hard to know where to start with these mandalas. Continuing once a beginning has been made is usually easier. This time I started with a sleeping cat in the middle thinking I wonder what will follow from that?
Apparently, lots of details, flowers and lace. Maybe it’s a kitty’s dream landscape. It’s really up to you. 😉
Thankfully, Tom has wonderful words for this world!
As the eye returns and turns again
through lazy ambulations at the edge
drawn to filigrees and flowers when
it peers through open spaces in the hedge
that bounds the hidden maze of complex paths
where lovers drift in circles round the ponds
lingering to hear each other’s laughs
watching breezes blowing through the fronds
of grasses growing from the simple centre
stretching out to kiss the summer sun
through lacy veils that let the breezes enter
in to the place where the cat has run.
Deep within the the garden she is curled
Deep asleep without care in the world.