What's on BZTAT's Easel? Pet Portrait of Murphy the Cat!


Artwork by BZTAT

Meet Murphy, the light of my Twitter friend @DJillPugh‘s life! Murphy is one of 5 cats in her home, and since she is getting up in years, her family wanted to commission her portrait. Portraits of her housemates may follow some day, as well.

The real Murphy

Murphy is a grayish tiger-striped cat with a pinkish nose and whitish cheeks. Everything is “-ish” with Murphy, as her colors all sort of blend together. This is a great challenge for an artist whose style is to paint bold distinct shapes with strong outlines and bright colors.

Murphy also has a glass eye, which I did not deny, but also did not emphasize in the painting.

I tend to paint grayish cats in blue tones; striped cats with very simplified implications of stripes.

More than anything, I rely on a depiction of the animal’s facial intensity to give the portrait a likeness of the animal’s character, rather than attempt to realistically render the animal’s exact coloration and markings. I find that this is what my patrons seem to enjoy the most about my paintings–how they reflect the animal’s character.

My first step with Murphy’s portrait was to paint the background black and then block in colors and shapes.

Murphy 1

Using my usual layering technique, I refined the colors and shapes, building up color by painting many layers of varied colors on top of each other. Each layer some trace of the underneath layers.

Murphy 2 Murphy 3

Murphy and her family have not seen the actual finished painting yet, but they have seen photos. The painting will be shipped in the next couple of days. I hope she enjoys it. I sure enjoyed painting her!


If you are interested in a pet portrait of your animal, info about the process can be found here. Please email BZTAT to make an order or to get further information about getting a custom portrait of your pet.