For those that know me, saying I like cats is the understatement of the year. I admit it; I was well on my way to “crazy cat lady” status by about 5 years old. It was my job on our farm to feed, tame, play with, snuggle and generally harass our more than 20 (yes, 20!) barn cats. We had to move away from the farm and I spent some bleak adolescent years catless but as soon as I was out on my own and able, I have had cats.
I have had 5 cats so far in my adult life and I’ve long pondered starting a portrait series of them. I finally decided to go for it when fate gave me the opportunity to attend a class from the great Barbara Yates-Beasley (https://barbarayatesbeasley.com/) when she came to present and give a workshop to Arapahoe County Quilters in April, 2017. To prepare for class, I prepped four (4!) pictures to begin my series. Two of the four of my fur-babies had passed away earlier and we had just adopted the latest (fifth)…and yes, my series will eventually include her as well.
Now, I’ve done pet portraits before and like to believe I’m no slouch (see Josie) but I was soooooo excited to take this class. Barb is an amazing artist and a great teacher and I wanted to soak up every last tip, trick and piece of advise she had to offer! While in class, we settled on which one I should tackle first and did the initial pattern drawing.
I present KitCat:
Unfortunately, this was only a one-day class (cry! sob!) so progress was slow but ever so worth the amount I learned in the class. By the end of the day my sweet kitty looked like this:
As you can see, I wanted to make things interesting by doing each of these portraits in non-realistic colors. I liked the idea and challenge of “pop-art” inspired palettes, with a different color scheme for each cat. Kit Cat’s color palette was predominantly yellow.
Still on the motivational high from the class, I made good progress the next day.
My model seemed unimpressed.
Steady progress over the next few weeks finishing the body and deciding on the background.
ooooohhhhh…so lovely! Finished up the background and quilted it. The biggest challenge I’d set for myself on these was to mount them on a stretched canvas frame. I wanted them to hang like “normal” pictures instead of the usual quilt sleeve approach. I’d done a couple before this but results were weak, to say the least. Once again, Barb was wonderful in her advice to help up my game in this department.
Final result (12” x 12”):
Lordy, he’s cute don’t you think? Of course, I may be a smidge biased. I now have him hanging on my wall in the living room, my “Relaxed Kitty”.
KitCat is still unimpressed.
If you like this, checkout prints and products with this image on https://fineartamerica.com/featured/relaxed-kitty-rebecca-musgrave.html