Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Mya. A portrait of a cat.

cat+pet portrait+commissioned+animal art+Nicola McLean
'Mya' - acrylic on canvas 5x5 inches

So, last year I ran a pet portrait give-away competition. I subsequently painted a portrait of a beautiful and much loved calico cat called Tibby, who unfortunately had passed away.

Then earlier this year I was delighted to receive a message from Tibby's human, Wendy, commissioning me to paint a portrait of Tibby's daughter, Mya. Once I got a selection of photographs to work from, I got started and this is the finished piece. 

Reference photographs provided by Mya's mum, Wendy. 

I know some artists don't like painting black fur but I actually find it easier as you can pick out lots of different colours in the sheen of the fur.  White fur on the other hand, I find much more of a challenge and Mya had a lot of it - a really beautifully thick soft very white coat most everywhere except on her ears and top of her head where she had a cute little grey cap.

Anyway, I gave it my best shot and I'm very pleased to say that Wendy loves it. I was so eager to get it packaged and into the post that I completely forgot to take any close up photos other than the ones I'd sent by mail for approval so I was very grateful that Wendy sent me a few photos including both portraits together - I was also quite chuffed that I'd managed to get the turquoise backgrounds pretty much the same as I mix a few colours to get that shade and there's always the chance that it will be slightly different each time!

cats+calico cat+pet portraits+commissioned art+Nicola McLean
Mya and Tibby - photography courtesy of their humans

Funny enough, my next commission is also a cat but of a much bigger stripy variety! I've been asked to paint a tiger in the same style as the rhino so that's what I'm working on now. It'll be interesting to see how that turns out as the rhino's hide lent itself perfectly to the impasto paint but I'm not entirely sure if a tiger's fur will work in quite the same fashion. Still, that's what I love about painting - constantly setting myself new challenges and adapting and modifying techniques to suit the subject matter. I'll let you know how I get on!


  1. Myra is beautiful. I often think some cats look human behind their eyes. Not all just some. Myra definitely looks like a little person. She seems very wise. I am very curious about your tiger painting. Looking forward to seeing it!

  2. You have captured her just perfectly... And how lovely t o have portraits of mother and daughter... And you handle fur so beautifully that I am sure the tiger will be simply amazing... Your skills are insane

  3. Nicola, Both the new and old portraits are amazing.

  4. beautiful painting!! I love the side by side view of them both!

  5. It's wonderful how you're able to work in so many styles and get it spot on every time. I love the kitties and you do such a fine job with fur. I love the eyes on Mya. Keep going, chica, you're rockin' these pet portraits!

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  7. Beautiful! I went to take a look at your rhino again too... soooo amazing. Can't wait to see your tiger in the same style!

  8. What a beautiful cat. Their eyes say so much. Awesome job Nic. Happy Easter.

  9. Love the portraits of those beautiful cats! Valerie

  10. Oh, jeepers creepers, those eyes!!

  11. Your cats could be real, such great work, I feel I could run my fingers through their fur! You also captured so well the look in their eyes, they are mesmerising, I quite agree!

  12. What a sweet and meaningful commission ~ and painting/s!

  13. Nic your art is truly amazing. I am always spellbound when I see it and would love to see you work. Have a wonderful weekend.

  14. So beautiful, Nic. I love the way you got the hair to look just like hair! Wish I could do that.

  15. Nic this is fabulous...the two together are just precious! I can only imagine how thrilled the owner is!! A forever memory!!
    You are so talented!!

    Hugs Giggles

  16. you perfectly captured her expression!

  17. You capture them perfectly. Beautiful pictures and how fun must been to create them!

    have a great day!

  18. Absolutely gorgeous!! Wow! Great job!

  19. I agree with you, Nic. Black is easier to paint than white and you did a good job of this cat with all the white. I'm looking forward to the tiger. I like your animal portraiture.

  20. Great job on both kitties. LOVE the rhino. Can't wait for the Tiger.

  21. Great job on both kitties. LOVE the rhino. Can't wait for the Tiger.

  22. Ooh... A tiger? Wow, that is a challenge! But if anyone can do it, you can. The cat is lovely and so detailed. No wonder the human was pleased! :0)


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