"Painting" a Himalayan Cat

I recently painted a Himilayan cat who passed away unexpectedly. He was definitely the king of the house as can be seen by the photograph below.

The owner is a dear friend of mine and a photographer. I chose this photograph, even though it looks a little dark and doesn’t show his eyes as well as another photograph I had. Sometimes, I just go by feel what I think would work better as a painting, but having several photos is always a plus when doing a portrait.

I used Mi Tientes pastel paper cropped at 16″ x 20″. Of course I have to provide you with the work in progress photos!

You can see the color of the paper in the first step. I cropped the background to concentrate on his face and body. How could I crop out his paws? This was part of his personality and was told he loved to hang out “at the bar”.

Obviously, I added more cream color in the fur, blue in the background and darkened the chair.

I decided not to show a clear distinction between the floor and wall and instead started to work on the transition.

I played with the colors for a while, trying to pull out the highlights and push the darker colors, while keeping a believable shape to his face and paws. I’ll save you the hundreds of photos I took in this process. For some reason, taking a photo with my phone as I go helps me to see the mistakes.

Here it is finished before I framed it.

And one more framed and in its new spot…

WIP: Domestic Longhair Cat

I know…I’m obsessed with taking progress photos. But really, it’s more for me than you. Looking at the photo after I take it helps me see the big picture so I can easily see where I am and what I need to correct.
It’s sort of like blurring your eyes to see the values, or walking far away to look back at your work in progress.

Plus, it gives me more information to post…because I am not that verbose (but I can impress you with my vocabulary).

So, the first step…sorta. I used vine charcoal and the yellow at the same time to block in the darks and lights. The background was the next step. I’m trying to REMEMBER that backgrounds are as important to the painting as the rest of it. I can’t pretend it was that hard here…there’s not that much background.

 
Adding green and pops of yellow to the background, but keeping it blurry.
 
 Adding white, black, orange and light purple/lavendar.
 
Smoothing out areas and adding detail to others…
 
Filling out the face, adding whiskers…and repeating the dance of smoothing out areas and adding detail to others.
 
Add a few more black and brown areas to the face. Added more lavendar to the bottom right to balance this color with the top left. Cropped the painting to how I think I will frame it (minus the tape on the bottom and right).