Tag Archives: British Blue

A trip back in time

In the process of updating my website, I’ve been searching through my old step by steps and wanted to share a couple on here that were in my old blog. So for me this is a trip down memory lane, but you might not have seen these before.

OK so here’s the first starring my little helper…

Amber in a bag

She couldn’t help herself when she got into John’s photography studio with all those bags!

Obviously it was rude not to capture this great image of her rummaging through a reflector bag.  Loved the look on her face… “What! You want me to stop chasing this imaginary mouse that I have in this bag?”

This was a little demo piece that I did at a cat show.  Its pastel on velour done with soft pastel sticks for the base coats and blocking in major areas of colour, then Derwent pastel pencils for the next detail layers.  Finally graphite to add the fine guard hairs to Amber’s fur.

More Christmas cheer…

Hi all

Christmas seems a strange thing to be writing about at the moment,especially with the beautiful sunny mornings we’ve been having in my part of the world.  Perhaps the frosted windscreens help to set the scene though 🙂

Anyway, I have made lots of progress with this piece, so I thought you’d want to see the update…

You’ll recall that the team at Haworth Cat Rescue asked if I would design their Christmas card for this year, so this is the progress story in pictures so far.

Check out this gallery to see the latest

A little bit about Haworth Cat Rescue

Haworth Cat Rescue finds loving homes for  abandoned, suffering and unwanted cats through its no-kill rehoming centre.  The independent cat homing charity based in West Yorkshire is overwhelmed with calls for help and has a six month waiting list. The region has few places for people to turn to for help and, as well as relying on public support for income, the charity is fundraising to build a permanent, significantly larger centre with 100 homing pens and feral cat sanctuary.  The new centre will provide opportunities to run educational programmes in responsible pet care and an understanding of cats and their needs.

Please help Haworth Cat Rescue give more cats and kittens the shelter, care and second chance they need.  What a difference every pound makes. Thank you.

See you in a couple of days when I hope to have a completed piece!

Take care

Jilly x

It’s all go again!

This year seems to be passing by in a sort of mini whirlwind!
….and it’s nearly Christmas!

Well this last month has been one of tying up loose ends.
First of all John and I sat our final ever OU exam on 15th October and then spent the weekend away celebrating the end of 6 years of study!

Actually we went to Hunstanton and spent much of the time catching crabs off Cromer pier – what a laugh, it’s you’ve never been crabbing I can highly recommend it.

So then I got the taste for finishing things…..

First you might recall the Mandarin ducks that I started at the beginning ofthe Summer – well here’s the finished piece.

This is one of the 3 pieces that I intend to submit for my art college penultimate exercise set.  I have only one more to go so I figured I’d better get that last piece on the move too.
It’s a piece that expresses the personality of my little cat muse Amber, so this is the rough sketch:
Anyone who has been fortunate enough to become a member of staff to a British Blue will know that the old saying of cats is so fitting in this case:
“In ancient civilisations, cat’s were once worshipped as Gods,
this is something they have never forgotten!”
Certainly true in Amber’s case.  This will be a piece in oils, so watch this space…
Lastly, I was able to use some time at a cat show to finally finished a cute little portfolio piece that I started in August – ‘We are Siamese…’
Phew – told you it’s been busy…
Next time:
News on two exciting commissions – 3 Welsh Maine Coons and a bautiful little Bengal kitten

Step by step – Amber in a bag

I had a great time at the Cambridge Cat show and met some lovely people.  I picked up a few commissions so watch out for updates about their progress in the blog.  Next week I’ll be in Brigg – South Humberside for the One for all cat show which is over 2 days, so I’m very much looking forward to that. 
At the last show I was still working on Amber so I thought you’d like to see a step by step and the finished portrait.
the original shot came about as my husband John was setting up in his studio for a shoot.  Amber decided that she would help him and was rummaging around in an Octa reflector bag to see what she could find!  the result was a shot with a great expression – so alert – I couldn’t resist capturing it as a portrait.
Amber is a British Blue shorthair and typical of her breed she has amazing orange eyes.
For my lastest set of college assignments I needed to create a portrait with a contemporary look.  I decided that this would be a fairly monochromatic study to make the most of Amber’s eyes.  I’m sure that everyone has seen the type of thing in wedding photography where you have a black and white image with spot colour to highlight a  particular feature. 

That was the feel that I wanted to create, so I chose a background colour that matched Amber’s fur.
This first image looks quite scary I think, it shows the outline and Amber’s piercing eyes.
If you’ve read my blog before, you’ll know that I like to work on Hahnemuhle velour with pastel and this was no exception. 
Next I started to block in some of the shadow area around the eyes.  At this stage I was using Daler Rowney soft pastel sticks – they have a really good range of cool and warm greys.
You can really see the difference in lighting here.  The first two shots were at the Addlestone show and the next shots were at the Stevenage show and in my studio.
This shot shows detail being added to the face and shadow to some of the surrounding area.
I wasn’t really sure on the crop that I wanted until quite late into the portrait, so I used ultra-low tack masking tape to try and find what I was after.
Eventually I decided that this crop was too tight and ended up showing more detail of the ba, as I felt that it told a better story.
Almost finished, just the final details to be added
A few more darks added to the fur and the shadows strengthened, then it’s finished.
Amber in a bag!