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.
This one was a commission. I had it mostly done back in March when everything shut down but I did a couple of final tweaks recently and finally got to hand deliver it to the new owner. I was quite pleased with how it turned out – the setting and the dog’s expression were such a pleasure to paint. And I’m happy to say the new owner was delighted. In case you’re wondering, this beloved pup was part (mostly?) Irish wolfhound.
Tom wrote a touching poetic tribute to go with the painting.
There is a dog that moves the hearts of men, whose soulful eyes see further than our own: far into realms and regions past the ken of those of us whose spirits dare not roam beyond these castle walls of bone and flesh and into spaces where the angels fly unhampered by how gears of logic mesh to make this cold illusion where we die and are not swept into the heart of God where our absent friends are joyously awaiting us. Do not mistake a dog for one without a soul. At peace and free: where there is love, there still she is alive to greet us in the morning as we strive.
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!
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.