I’m a dog person. Our family always had dogs, all kinds of dogs. The boring ones that were the canine version of Kim Kardashian (popped out babies – needed loads of attention) and the completely barking mad ones. The husky that you could have howly conversations with and who scared all visitors to death because he had one blue eye and one brown eye and had a way of just LOOKING at you. The Jack Russell who has taken over the whole house and owns us all because Jack Russells are actually bigger dogs that accidentally got put into a small dog body.
Cats? Never owned one, completely don’t understand them. I was of the opinion that cat owners are slightly more bonkers than dog owners. It was into this world that I found myself falling with one sketch – the one of my sister’s cat, Horatio. I was out in her garden having my first cuppa joe and vaguely thinking about sketching when Horatio decided I needed a companion. He sat on the table and silently demanded to be immortalised (once he had finished his grooming). As I sketched him, I realised that I really, really liked the way his little paws tucked under his body and were perfectly poised. I also like the sheen of his fur and the shape of his ears. I liked the way he sat still for a while and kept the pose – almost impossible with dogs unless they’re sleeping. So as a subject for drawing he was a neat little package. I had this urge to paint him (which I did). Horatio has subsequently been painted by two more artists for running with brushes. You can see Olivia’s version here and Vandy’s version here. I think Horatio might just make the list of famous artists models one day.
Then another cat mad friend on facebook posted a picture of her two cats that was brilliant – they looked like a Ying Yan symbol, so I decided to paint them (with her permission). I posted the half-finished painting on facebook and another cat crazy person immediately put in an offer to buy it. That has to be the fastest way I have ever sold a non-commissioned piece!
I have joined an artists group called “Paint my Photo” which is quite useful as everyone puts up source photos that everyone else can use as reference. I found a photo of a lovely little ginger cat with cattitude there and painted him too. (thanks JanineB.) Struggling to get the face to look 3-D was the hardest part along with making sure the eyes did not look like they belonged to Chuckie. I was still a bit iffy about the drawing but decided to put paint to paper anyway. There are days when the paint just works and this was one of them. Every mark on the paper made this fellow come to life. Even now I don’t know how he emerged so clearly and so well. I just know that I got to a point where the personality was all there, and I was wise enough, thank goodness, to put down my brush and stop painting.