Animals Daily Paintworks Challenge Oil Painting Painting

Busby Berkeley: The Cat

Busby Berkeley, Oil on Panel, 6x6" - Portrait of a Cat
Busby Berkeley: The Cat, Oil on Panel, 6x6"

When my tabby cat Busby Berkeley decided to sit in my still life light box and pose, I decided to paint him. After all, what’s more of a still life than a cat (except when they’re running through the house and pouncing on wrinkles in the covers when you’re trying to sleep)?

I painted from the photo below, displayed on my monitor near my easel.

Busby still life
Busby still life

Busby spends most of the day sleeping in the closet, my bureau, or a kitchen cabinet so painting him from life wasn’t an option. Even drawing him from life is tough. In the same way cats chose to sit on the one person who doesn’t like cats, they also get up and leave if they notice you watching them.

This was the first time I’d painted a cat in oils and it was fun and challenging. I’m about to try another from a different Busby photo to see if what I learned the first time will make it easer the second time. This painting is available here on my Daily Paintworks page where I am in the process of placing selected paintings from the past along with current work as I paint it, when/if I’m ready to let it go.

12 replies on “Busby Berkeley: The Cat”

Too funny, Jana…Just what a cat will do, claim a place that is special to us– especially a box. I love the photo of Busby in there.


You painted the helpful cat! And what was your cat’s reaction?

I know what you mean about their reluctance. I used to draw my cat (back when I had a cat) and I once painted her from a drawing. But it would have been tough painting her from life. Cats embarrass so easily. And then they start washing …


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