I was commissioned to paint Biscuits as a surprise Christmas present.  My client sent me two lovely photos to work from but I loved how this one showed her all curled up and with a lovely expression on her face.  I hope you enjoy her progress and some of my travels while I was painting her earlier in the year.

Biscuits' finished portraitBiscuits’ finished portrait in soft pastel 14″x14″

biscuitsphotoThe photo reference I worked from.  I adjusted the composition a little by putting Biscuits more central.

biscuits1My initial line drawing transferred onto the velour paper and starting to work the background.  I hope to keep the background warm and neutral to really show off Biscuits warm greys.

biscuits2Almost there with the blanket.  Using warm yellows, peaches, lilacs and greys but keeping it nice and light.

pic1While I was working on Biscuits we were still in the Florence area of Italy.  I managed to get to see the famous Uffizi gallery before we left Florence heading for the coast.  I will do a seperate post for this gallery visit as I have too many favourites but I couldn’t help but share two paintings from the day.

Boticelli’s ‘Allegory of Spring’ was definitely a favourite, the sheer scale and beauty of it alone makes it awe inspiring.

pic2This was a view from inside the gallery looking out over the Ponte Vecchio bridge.

pic3The second piece I’ll share is Leonardo da Vinci’s Annunciation.  This piece was in a darkened room and had such atmosphere around it.  Leonardo was a sculptor, so painting wasn’t even his main thing!  The detail in the little table end alone was incredible.  We are heading to a town called Vinci next where he was born, so I hope to see some of the landscape that inspired him growing up.

biscuits3After my trip to the gallery I’m well inspired to paint so I make a start on Biscuits’ face.  She has such an unusual colouring so I will have to play around for a while combining different coloured marks until I get her colour right.

biscuits4Still looking very rough at this stage as I dab on different greys and start to get a feel for how her fur radiates out from around her main features.  I also start work on her lovely green eyes.

pic5We arrive in Vinci and are treated to a few days at the end of October with beautiful clear skies and warm temperatures.  Here is Brocci up on the rooftops as we explore the old part of the town.

pic7The views from the town of the surrounding countryside.  It’s very cool to think of Leonardo da Vinci standing here thinking about his paintings and sculptures, and the million other things he was good at!

pic6This horse stands in the town but wasn’t actually made by da Vinci himself.  He was commissioned to create a giant horse which he drew exstensive plans for but never got to see it through.  These drawings have been made into smaller versions of the horse in later years.

pic8Our view of the town from where we are parked on the outskirts.  So many little towns like this have an allocated carpark somewhere for motorhomes. You can get your water, empty your tanks etc and stay overnight for free.

biscuits5Back on Biscuits again and making better progress now.  The key I find with the cat portraits is to keep going back over the fur making it finer and finer.  I continue on down her body but keep going back to her face to sharpen the detail.

biscuits6Working around her perimeter now to get an idea of her outline against the blanket.  I have used so many shades of greys and purples with peaches and light greys as highlights.  She is one multicoloured cat!  The idea though is that these colours are blended by your eyes and look like the right colour.

biscuits7I’ve used my black pastel to mark in the rest of her body.biscuits8The next colours are the midtones with those dusky blues and purples with some brown added to warm it.  Lastly I will go over with the highlight colours from her face.

pic10We arrive in a little town on a hill called Montecarlo.  It’s a Sunday night and Halloween time so the streets are all hustle and bustle.  I loved how the town looked as the sun went down behind the buildings.

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biscuitscloseShowing you some detail from Biscuits’ finished portrait.  This was packaged up and away to Northern Ireland to my framer who had it all ready for Christmas.  I hope Biscuits’ human was happy with the finished result and I hope you have enjoyed her progress.

Please call back soon for more arty travels!