Custom Pet Portraits in Oil
by Artist Zann Hemphill

A Cat Oil Painting in 2 Minutes [Video]

Cat painting process 5 steps

Cat Oil Painting Process

Getting the Cat Painting Started with a Sketch on Canvas

I do a lot of squinting in this step. I’m just trying to get the shape of his body roughly right so I can fill in the background. By putting the background in first, I can extend wisps of fur over top later. Because the white and green are already touching, they’ll blend beautifully to create the appearance of soft fur with a hint of the light behind.

Cat Oil Painting Background sketch oil on canvas

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Adding a few shadows to show where Simon's chin and eyes are

Next up, I’m squinting at my reference to understand which parts of the cat’s face and body  are in shadow.

If I don’t squint, it’s easy to get distracted by details and the final painting won’t have as much depth. Using a big brush also helps with keeping the focus on shapes instead of textures.

More shadows, until you start to see the cat's face on canvas

Apart from his eyes, I’m still using a big brush. He’s going to look weird at this stage, but that’s ok! Those deep shadows will smooth out as I go.

Cat Oil Painting Process

Now it's starting to look like a white cat in the painting

Finally, I can start doing what oil paints are best at–blending.

I don’t want to over do it, or our white kitty will lose definition and turn back into a white blob. Done right, blending the shadows will make the contrast more gentle while preserving dimensionality.

White Cat Oil Painting Process

Further Refinement of the Cat Portrait

With the shapes and shadows of a white cat in the oil painting already, I can start pulling fur out over the green background.

I do this with white on my brush, starting near the edge and pulling outward. Every single stroke needs a wipe on paper towel in between or I risk muddying the edge of Simon’s body and bringing too much green back in to his fur.

Feline Oil Painting Process

Final Oil Painting of our Cat!

By now, I’m working with little brushes for the highlights in the eyes, and the flat of a square brush for the long whiskers.

Lots of quick, clean white strokes fill out his texture and add brightness and detail.

Finally, he looks like himself!

White Cat portrait painting Christmas Gift

Looking for more Cat Art?

See more of my work in the Paws by Zann Cat Portrait Art Gallery.

For art updates, fresh pet portraits, videos and more, sign up for my occasional newsletter (below), or follow my YouTube channel for more videos.

To get your own custom cat oil painting on canvas, send me an email at [email protected]. I’d love to bring your vision to life!

Thanks for reading.

Zann

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