I recently did a portrait of a Bengal cat and thought it might be interesting to tackle another hybrid. This one is a Savannah Cat, which is a cross between a domestic cat and an African serval. They have striking features with large ears and lots of them have large noses thanks to the serval genes. I think they are absolutely beautiful.
Bengal cats have such beautiful coats! I’ve done a couple of watercolour paintings of Bengal cats in the past but this is the first time I’ve ever painted one using pastel. I found that using pastel really helped to capture the vivid contrasts in the markings and the softness of the cat’s fur. I hope it won’t be the last Bengal cat painting I ever do!
I have just completed a pastel portrait of this beautiful cat with striking markings and vivid olive eyes. I had the pleasure of meeting her to take reference photos and she had a lovely, sweet nature and sat very patiently whilst I clicked away interminably with my camera! Her name is Lola.
One of the most poignant moments in the life of an animal portrait artist happens when one is commissioned to provide a posthumous portrait. I have never yet done a portrait of a pet where I haven’t fallen in love with the subject, and handing over the finished work to the clients can be a moving experience. The love the owners had for the subject of this portrait, an English Bull Terrier, was obvious from the start, and it was really nice to meet them in person and hand over the framed portrait. The dog’s posture in the reference photo lent itself to a composition with strong lines and contrasting colours. The reference hinted at a certain nobility of character, I thought. His name, appropriately enough, was “Duke.”
The work of an animal portrait artist is never dull. It’s amazing how different animals can be, even when they are of the same breed, and how much you can tell of their personalities just by looking through photos of them. This pair of Dachshunds is a case in point. I hope I managed to capture the elegance of the long haired Dachshund, Serge, and the playfulness of his wire-haired companion, Lou. Lou definitely had a twinkle in his eye!
The most technically challenging part of the portrait was the creation of a blue ball, which did not appear in the main reference photo, between Lou’s paws. To make such an object look solid and three dimensional, the form and cast shadows have to be just right. If you look closely, you’ll see I’ve added a green tinge to the underside of the ball to give the impression of grass reflecting on the ball’s surface. Small details like that can make a big difference to the outcome when you are striving for realism in a portrait.
I recently completed this portrait of two friends, Harry and Chester enjoying the sunshine. I loved creating the shadows and backlighting in this portrait. I hope that it conveys a sense of the beautiful summer’s day and the comfortable friendship between this dog and cat!
Had the pleasure of painting this beautiful German Shepherd. “Kira.” A3 pastel portrait.