My very own magical cat is a 16 year old Devon Rex called Neko (Japanese for cat). He's a little chubby (but not overly so!), loves pets and cuddles and can't meow.
Of his 16 years, I've had him for 11 where he's constantly kept us company, giving us cuddles whenever we sit on the sofa or lie down on the bed. I'll often wake up in the morning to find him stretched out on the bed with me. He also doesn't mind hugs and belly rubs as long as he's in the mood.
16 years is a long time and these days, Neko spends his time sleeping on the sofa or on his window seat (pictured above) 10 storeys up, overlooking the trees and the soccer field of the school opposite. He doesn't get to see possums and big crows like in his old window seat in Sydney, but it's still his favourite spot.
He's also a resilient little cat going through multiple local moves in Sydney, major surgery, diabetes and most recently an overseas move. Throughout all this, he's been the cuddliest, friendliest cat I've ever met and it's clear to me that him and our other cat Mogget are definitely a special part of our family.
It's always been in my never ending to-do list to paint a portrait of him as a reminder of all the silly, warm and fuzzy feelings we get from having a special cat like him. But I didn't want it to be overly serious. So a few weeks ago, while taking a break from another painting I finally sketched him out using a photo I took as a reference.
A week later, I realized that the initial sketch was too serious for my liking. My cat was alive and well and what I had sketched out looked like it could sit on a shrine or memorial for him. So, I added a top hat and bow tie. As you do. Because he's a classy cat - he doesn't sleep on the floor and doesn't eat off the tiles. It's the exact amount of silly and fun I wanted to portray and remember about my cat.
After I was happy with the sketch I started to colour in the major elements. Here's a short video of me putting some colour into this top hat and bow tie.
And here we have the final version
I really like how eccentric looking he is in this painting. Because that's exactly what he is, one of a kind.