Friday, December 18, 2009


Tattoo is my sister and her husband, Paul's cat. Even in her late teens, Tattoo still maintains her youthful good looks =)
In the original photo that I worked from, Tattoo is sitting just a few inches away from a gift she is offering to her people: a
dead mole. After much reflection, I chose to eliminate the mole from the final painting for obvious reasons, but I loved the expression of self-satisfied boredom on her face, inches away from the little mole whose fatal misfortune was to underestimated her speed and skill as a elderly cat!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Sasha and Minque

Combining two different poses together into one portrait was the challenge with "Sasha and Minque". We loved the pose of Minque with her paws crossed, but Sasha wasn't in that photo, so I combined two photos of Sasha - as a kitten looking right at the camera, and a more recent pose that had her eyes cast downward, looking out of the frame. My goal was to mature Sasha's facial features in keeping with how she looked in maturity, paying special attention to her eyes. The depth of color from kittenhood to 'grand dame' was striking, giving her the older cat's sage and wisdom she had achieved. There is a defined difference through the eyes as they mature that involves not only the color of the iris, but a wisdom from years of mousing, apparently.

Although I didn't get a chance to meet these two gorgeous cats (as the portrait was to be a surprise gift for Christmas), the provided photos allowed me to get a sense of the bond Sasha and Minque shared, as well as reference for their glorious beauty.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Poppy and Petunia

Poppy/Petunia isn't a commissioned painting, but I'm including their portrait here since their 'parents' are long time animal welfare advocates in the Chicago area. These two girls are indoor kitties, but they have cousins who are ferals, cared for and loved by their adopted people, Ron and Nancy. Because of the nature of feral cats, Ron and Nancy have provided a safe haven in their garage and back deck. They are fed, nutured and provided healthcare, and allowed to live their lives as they have become accustomed while knowing that they are being protected.'

Poppy and Tunie aspire to be outdoor huntresses like their feral cousins, but for now they are happy to live vicariously in the warm, sunny pool of light by the window.

Abby the Chihuahua

Abby's family came to me with photos of a very sweet, intense chihuahua, to create a portrait for her beloved owner as a birthday present. Because of the surprise that this painting was to be for him, I wasn't able to meet Abby as I usually try to do with my subjects. Working strictly from a variety of photographs - most of which were long distance shots or taken at difficult angles - I was able to create this portrait of Abby as she looks now in her golden years.

What I loved about this particular pose, which actually combines the features of Abby from several different poses ranging from puppyhood to now, was the dear, sweet look in her eyes. It's easy to see that this is a very nice little dog, and very much loved. The bat ears, 'concerned' brow and little smile gives her a comically darling demeanor. By the end of the project, I felt I knew her personally. And how could you not love that face??

By all accounts her loving owner truly enjoyed his birthday gift!


Dusty was a feral cat when he 'adopted' a family who understood that this independent guy would never tolerate being an indoor cat. With their love and affection, they ensured that he lived a comfortable, sheltered life surrounded by his chosen family.

He was a gorgeous tabby with distinct markings that softened into a "dusty" glow of long, thick fur. His brilliant green eyes were wise and calm.

Dusty died last spring from an infection, and although he was treated and cared for, he never fully recovered. His family misses him dearly and commissioned this portrait to honor him and the love he brought them from out of the blue, literally.