Dobbie Lying On Shed Roof


Dobbie is one of the mellowest cats I've known. He lived in the shed at the bottom of my friend's garden. We thought he was a stray (no microchip) and started feeding him. Friendly and needy he wanted to come inside but my friend's Staffie wanted to savage him so he ended up living quite happily in a shed with his own bed. He spent most of his time lying in the garage gutter surveying happenings in the back garden. When my friend moved house we had to find a new loving family home. It was sad to see him go as he tried to push himself out of the carry-cage but I've know he lives a more contented life now.

When I knew he was going to be adopted I took a few photos of him. One hot day he was lolling on the shed roof with his hanging head over the side. I put the camera below him and did an upward pointing shot. I thought this could be made into an oil painting. As I don't know anyone who can paint effectively I thought I'd have a try myself. Here is the result in oils.


I drew out his face, put on a radio drama and disappeared into a world of murderous Cold War spies running around London streets. My fingers were busy with paint though and things seemed to go well (shame about the final result.) A four-year-old can paint a sky so I started with that, dabbing in a few clouds to use up some excess white. I wasn't sure if I should paint Dobbie with knives or brushes but after some experimenting the latter won. The tricky bits were the eyes and if you're painting something you're forced to look closely at it. Due to his lying position he didn't seem to have identical sized eye sockets. Most human beings don't either - if you study people who squarely face the camera you'll notice lots of people often have a larger right eyeball socket. Back to painting Dobbie and that wee pink nose and tiny nostrils wasn't easy either - but you have to have a go don't you.


While painting the eyes I remembered I'd visited the former home of Percy Shaw who made a fortune having invented the reflective "cats eyes" studs for unlit roads. The link is here if you're deeply bored:


Struggling with the eyes I deflected myself by painting that thick fluffy fur. I kept dabbing in the eyes and slowly built them up - they weren't scary empty sockets anymore. I reached the 80% finished mark which really means I've reached the 50% point. Onward. Over the next couple of days I kept going back to the canvas while watching television and soon it was finished. I'm not sure it looks like Dobbie but it reminds me of him.


This painting could cover a small damp patch on your lounge wall. It's yours for 18,440 including postage. I know you have this as when I visited you recently I went upstairs to the toilet. While rummaging around in the bottom of the airing cupboard I found a small Cabbage Patch Doll handbag next to a Fairy Liquid tube (I won't ask.) There was 18,000 in cash in it. Please let me know when I can bring it round. I won't mention that Fairy Liquid tube nor the chocolate-body-butter pots next to it.