© 2019 by BenjaBlue

Watercolours

Animals were the first subjects I decided to draw the first time I picked up a pencil as a child, and nothing much has changed since!  Over the years I have established a unique style which combines realism with an occasional touch of fantasy.

Of course, being a passionate animal lover myself, I understand the place our pets enjoy in our hearts: each dog is an individual; each cat is unique; each rabbit mischievous. I aim to capture this in watercolour and occasionally take commissions from private individuals who want a special image of their beloved pets to cherish forever.

The gallery below shows some of my previous work.  For my current availability please see my Etsy shop.  For commissions please e-mail me via the 'contact' page.

Millie
A small portrait in watercolour of a friend's spaniel, Millie.
Rusty
A friend of mine asked for a miniature watercolour portrait of her new partner’s dog for Christmas. He’s a cute little border terrier called Rusty who loves to pose for the camera. As usual I got Christmas fever and used my own initiative to make it into a festive portrait. There’s even a miniature version of Rusty hanging on the tree!
Flynn
When I found out my good friend’s ginger cat, Flynn, had passed away just before Christmas, I decided to paint a miniature portrait of him as a present. I only had two afternoons to finish it but I was very pleased with the result and I hope it will provide some comfort to my friend.

Dimensions: H: 10.2cm x W: 6.7cm
Singer
My beloved cat Jemima features in this portrait. 'Singer' refers not only to the sewing machine and my love of sewing, but also to my love of singing, so this was a highly personal portrait for me. I stopped counting after 100+ hours of painting. Part of me didn't want to sell it, but it did so at a Lakes' Artists' Society Summer Exhibition.

The fabric is called 'Pondicherry'.

Dimensions: H: 270mm x W: 406mm
HMV
‘HMV’ is the second watercolour painting in my ‘Antique Cats’ series. It features Benja Blue, one of the cats I grew up with and this website's namesake. He was actually born on the same day as me, but in the year 2000. He died aged nearly 16.

The actual painting time was 148 hours and 40 minutes, but I worked on it for well over a year.

Dimensions: H:558mm x W:762mm
Waiting for Spring
I met this Alsation, Cally, outside a pub in Eskdale. She had a look of wistful longing, but in reality she was probably just bored and waiting for her owners to finish their pints!

I painted Cally during a particularly long winter and her emotions seemed to capture what I felt at the time: that I was simply waiting for spring.

Dimensions: H:380mm x W:295mm
Isla and Belle
Isla (black) is the older of these two 'cockapoodledoos' and is obsessed by balls (hence the red ball in the painting), whereas Belle (cream) is younger and still has a lot to learn! They are beautiful, friendly bears with lovely personalities.

I especially enjoyed tackling the variations in their fur. Isla has tighter curls whereas Belle has a looser texture to her coat.

They live on the coast in Cumbria and spend all their time on the sandy beaches of St Bees.
Pepe
A commission for a couple's very old birman cat who spent most of his later life snuggled in their airing cupboard!
Pepe's pedigree name was 'Myrtle Manors Spring Topper', hence the sprig of myrtle at his feet.

‘Kelly painted a beautiful picture of our cat, Pepe. She has captured the personality and essence of our much loved pet. We are delighted.’

Dimensions: H:320mm x W:320mm
His Eye is on the Sparrow
This still life painting is one of my personal favourites. I had the photo of the vase of crysanthemums and carnations (taken in Cartmel Fell Church) for a long time. Sometimes an idea takes a while to formulate and so it was with this painting. Once I had taken the right photo of a sparrow it all came together.

The title comes from a song which relates that even the smallest and weakest among us should be looked after and cherished.
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