I recently painted a Himilayan cat who passed away unexpectedly. He was definitely the king of the house as can be seen by the photograph below.
The owner is a dear friend of mine and a photographer. I chose this photograph, even though it looks a little dark and doesn't show his eyes as well as another photograph I had. Sometimes, I just go by feel what I think would work better as a painting, but having several photos is always a plus when doing a portrait.
I used Mi Tientes pastel paper cropped at 16" x 20". Of course I have to provide you with the work in progress photos!
You can see the color of the paper in the first step. I cropped the background to concentrate on his face and body. How could I crop out his paws? This was part of his personality and was told he loved to hang out "at the bar".
Obviously, I added more cream color in the fur, blue in the background and darkened the chair.
I decided not to show a clear distinction between the floor and wall and instead started to work on the transition.
I played with the colors for a while, trying to pull out the highlights and push the darker colors, while keeping a believable shape to his face and paws. I'll save you the hundreds of photos I took in this process. For some reason, taking a photo with my phone as I go helps me to see the mistakes.
Here it is finished before I framed it.
And one more framed and in its new spot...